An employee of Westchester General Hospital in Southwest Miami-Dade was arrested on Tuesday, January 1, for allegedly sexually assaulting a mental health patient at her room in the hospital on New Year's Eve.
Miami police arrested Fernando Ramos-Garcia on Tuesday night and charged him with four felony counts, including sexual battery and sexual misconduct inside a mental health facility. The 40-year-old employee was released on bond before being scheduled to appear before a judge.
According to police reports, Ramos-Garcia went inside the victim's room at Westchester General at around 10 p.m. on Monday and forced her to engage in a sex act with him. He allegedly re-entered the room later in the night and sexually assaulted the victim a second time.
When questioned by police, Ramos-Garcia admitted to both incidents but claimed that they were consensual. He was arrested and booked after this interview.
Attorney Micheal Haggard helps survivors of sexual assault find justice in civil courts. Here are some of his thoughts about how the legal system can help those who have been sexually assaulted in mental health facilities:
Mental health patients are in vulnerable positions, as they often rely on the employees of mental health facilities to guide them through their day-to-day lives. Unfortunately, positions in these facilities have a high potential for abuse. When a hospital employee sexually abuses a mental health patient, there are many trouble concerns to address. The abuser must be prosecuted and removed from the facility, the victim must get the assistance they need, and in some cases, the facility itself needs to be held liable for failing to prevent the abuse.
For example, a mental health hospital or facility might be considered liable for abuse by an employee if the abuse occurred due to negligence, such as improper supervision, a lack of background checks before hiring new employees, or a failure to report suspected abuse to law enforcement in a timely manner.
If you or a loved one has been sexually abused at a hospital or mental health facility, you can learn more about your legal options by speaking to an experienced sexual abuse survivors attorney.