An employee of Personal Enrichment Through Mental Health Services in Pinellas Park has been accused of sexually battering three patients at the mental health facility. 34-year-old Nicholai Brief has been charged with sexual battery and lewd and lascivious molestation.
Brief was a caretaker at Personal Enrichment Through Mental Health Services, which is a treatment facility for people suffering from mental health crises.
According to investigators, they were notified last week that in October, a patient accused a 34-year-old employee of groping her. Brief denied this allegation but admitted to asking the patient to expose herself.
A second patient told investigators that Brief forced her into a closet and sexually assaulted her in January.
In February, a third woman told investigators that Brief groped her while she slept and when she woke up, he told her not to tell anyone.
Detectives have asked any other PEMHS clients who believe they are victims of sexual misconduct by Brief to contact the Pinellas Park Police Department at 727-369-7864.
Attorney contributor Michael Haggard serves as a civil attorney, helping survivors of sexual assault find justice through lawsuits. Here is Michael's perspective on how survivors of sexual assault in mental health facilities can find justice:
Mental health facilities must take the safety of their patients seriously. But unfortunately, there have been widespread issues with the sexual abuse of mental health patients, by both fellow patients and staff members. The victims of these crimes have legal rights and they deserve justice. In many cases, the facility may be considered negligent and held liable for damages if the victims and their families file a lawsuit.
For example, a mental health facility might be considered negligent for inadequate supervision, ignoring complaints of sexual misconduct, or hiring employees without first running a background check. These are just a few common examples, but these facilities can be held liable for any form of negligence that contributed to the abuse of their patients.
If you or a loved one is a survivor of sexual assault by a mental health worker, you have legal options for justice. You can learn more about your options by discussing your case with an experienced sexual abuse survivors attorney.