Pasco County sleep technician Andrew Chickoree is facing criminal charges after two women accused him of inappropriately touching them while administering sessions at Pasco Sleep Center in New Port Richey and Florida Medial Clinic Sleep Lab in Zephyrhills.
Chickoree has been charged with one count of sexual battery and one count of battery.
One of the victims told police that she woke up to find Chickoree washing her feet and moving his hands up her leg. According to Detective Edward Campbell of the New Port Richey Police Department, Chickoree claimed that this was part of the medical procedure. This incident was also reportedly recorded on the sleep lab's surveillance camera.
According to a statement from New Port Richey police, "Female victims alleged (Chickoree) touched them inappropriately in a sexual manner during the sleep studies he was administering."
Police suspect that there might be other victims out there. Anyone else who has been one of Chickoree's patients and believes that he acted inappropriately has been encouraged to contact New Port Richey Detective Eddie Campbell at (727) 232-8902 or Zephyrhills Detective John Oleson at (813) 780-0050.
Attorney contributor Michael Haggard represents victims of sexual assault in civil lawsuits. Here are a few thoughts from Michael on the legal rights of those who have been sexually assaulted by medical professionals:
When we go to a healthcare facility for medical care, we place our trust in a variety of medical professionals. Nurses, technicians, doctors, and others are all working from positions of trust and have a responsibility to conduct themselves in a professional and respectful manner. When one of these medical professionals violates their patient's trust by committing a sexual crime, that patient should be aware of their legal rights.
Reporting sexual predators in the healthcare field to law enforcement is an important first step for victims. However, in many cases, victims of healthcare sexual assault also may have legal options in civil courts. In cases involving negligence, these victims may have grounds for a lawsuit against the facility.
For example, a healthcare facility could be considered negligent for sexual abuse by an employee if previous concerns had been raised about sexual misconduct involving that employee, but the employee was permitted to keep their job.
If you or a loved one has been sexually assaulted at a healthcare facility, you can learn more about your legal rights by discussing your case with an experienced sexual assault victims attorney.