GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KDVR) — Two women who say a nurse sexually assaulted them while they were unconscious in intensive care filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the Colorado hospital where they were being treated, alleging the hospital’s management didn’t do enough to prevent the abuse.
The lawsuit — which is proposed as a class action suit — alleges St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction and SCL Health and Intermountain Healthcare, the companies that ran the hospital, knew or should have known about the actions of the nurse, Christopher Lambros, who has been arrested and charged with sexual assault. Police say Lambros would record himself sexually abusing female patients while they were unconscious or incapacitated.
According to his arrest affidavit, on a day in June when Lambros made five videos of himself abusing a patient, he whispered to the camera, saying, “don’t ever get rid of these videos” and “you need to keep them forever … this is your Dexter collection.”
The lawsuit claims he was referencing the television show “Dexter,” in which the main character is a serial killer, and says the comment shows he maintained a collection of photos or videos of his victims.
According to court documents, prosecutors have identified three people who they believe were assaulted by Lambros and think a fourth person who has not been identified yet was assaulted in 2016. Lambros began working at St. Mary’s in 2012, according to the lawsuit.
Lambros’ lawyer, Scott Burrill, did not return a call or email seeking comment.
In a statement, St. Mary’s said it is fully cooperating in the investigation into Lambros but declined comment on the lawsuit.
“We cannot offer further details about this matter out of respect for patient privacy,” it said.
Siddhartha Rathod is one of the lawyers for the two women Lambros is charged with assaulting, He said a third victim that had been identified by prosecutors has since died. Prosecutors are still investigating how many people were assaulted, Rathod said.
“This is about public safety and about hospitals ensuring that their patients are not only safe but treated with dignity and respect,” he said.
During the investigation, approximately four terabytes of data with 700,000 photos and 65,000 hours of video were uncovered related to his alleged drugging and sexual assault of patients at the hospital, the lawsuit states.
In a statement, District Attorney Dan Rubenstein declined to comment on the evidence and what it may reveal. He noted that both the women’s lawyers and hospital representatives have been communicating with prosecutors as they try to navigate the “complicated situation” of protecting patient privacy laws and getting information needed to prosecute the criminal case.
“We cannot comment on what evidence we have, and also cannot speculate on what we may find,” he said.
One of the women in the lawsuit said she was sexually abused as a child and that she is angry, anxious and depressed after being victimized again. She said she has not received even an apology from the hospital but she’s still charged $905 each month from her bank account under a payment plan to pay the bill for her hospital stay. She also gets regular email and a text reminders of the debit.
“It’s a slap in the face,” she said.
Arrest documents showed that on July 8, 2022, a report was made when an employee allegedly saw Lambros taking photos of a patient’s genitals.
The employee told officers that she had gone into the ICU room to check on a patient. When she entered the room, she noticed the lights were off and a curtain was drawn. The employee pulled back the curtain and found the patient unconscious with her gown pulled down. The employee told officers that she saw Lambros with his head on the patient’s stomach in a position as if he was taking a selfie picture.
According to the affidavit, once Lambros noticed the other employee had entered the room, he dropped the phone and re-covered the unconscious patient.
An officer with the Grand Junction Police Department went to Lambros’ home to ask about the incident.
Lambros told the officer he was giving the patient an injection in the stomach for blood clots, the arrest documents showed.
He also told the officer that he did not take any pictures and could not explain why the employee would say he had taken photos. Lambros did tell officers that he and the other employee had petty workplace issues, according to the affidavit.
The officer with the GJPD found probable cause and seized Lambros’ phone. A digital forensic analysis was done on the phone and investigators found photos and videos of Lambros posing with a number of unconscious victims and participating in lewd acts.
Victims identified during investigation
Police have identified at least three victims during the investigation. Several more victims are suspected.
KDVR spoke with one of the victims, who wished to stay anonymous, on Tuesday.
“I just want the public to be aware of what’s going on there, Saint Mary’s needs to change their policy,” the victim said.
If you were a patient at St. Mary’s Hospital and were treated by or accessible to Lambros from 2012 to 2022, you could be a victim. Please reach out to the GJPD at 970-549-5000.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
(Information from KDVR.com and the Nexstar Media Wire)