According to NY Post, the CEO of an addiction clinic in New Jersey sexually assaulted an employee. The employee is a recovering alcoholic, but was abused by the CEO when the employee relapsed and was too drunk to consent.
James Haggerty, 61-years-old, continuously flirted with the victim at work asking her for sexual favors, to bend over, for inappropriate pictures, and to give him her panties. The sexual abuse became more severe when the victim relapsed two times and Haggerty allegedly had sex with her, but the victim was too drunk and unable to consent.
The victim reported she felt trapped in the situation and was subject to retaliation after reporting the assault to the company. An investigation of the events is underway and Haggerty declined to comment.
Attorney contributor Brian Kent, an experienced sexual abuse lawyer, represents victims of sexual abuse and their families in civil lawsuits. We asked Brian to share his insight to help victims of sexual abuse determine whether they have a claim against a medical facility.
Brian emphasized “sexual assaults often occur in medical facilities because sometimes sexual predators place themselves in positions of power and use their authority to exploit the victim and their trust. However, medical institutions and staff have an obligation and a legal duty to protect their patients and provide a safe environment.”
“In some sexual abuse cases, the abuse only occurs as a result of negligence by the staff or facility. The victim and their family should ask if the medical facility did it’s best to prevent the abuse, if not a medical facility could be considered negligent. For example, if prior sexual misconduct complaints were filed against workers, but they were still permitted to work. Additionally, if a medical facility knows of previous sexual misconduct and does not update protection, future crimes would be considered foreseeable. In cases of foreseeable crimes, the medical facility may be considered negligent. In negligence cases, the victim should know they may have grounds for a civil lawsuit.”