Lawsuit Filed Over Alleged Sexual Assault at Hospital

A former patient at St. Vincent's Medical Center is suing the hospital for $25 million, claiming he was among dozens of people sexually assaulted by a nursing assistant.

Gonzalo Flores, of Bridgeport, Connecticut, the former certified nursing assistant, has pleaded not guilty in two separate sexual assault cases.

But attorney Antonio Ponvert III, who filed the negligence lawsuit on Thursday, said Flores has confessed to molesting numerous patients throughout the three years he worked at St. Vincent's.

"My husband is not the same since St. Vincent's," the victim's wife said in a written statement. "This has been devastating to our marriage, and we have been terrified about what might have happened while my husband was completely helpless and unconscious for more than 30 days."

Ponvert said the number of victims surpasses 100, and the lawsuit alleges many of those patients were highly medicated or unconscious.

Flores was arrested last summer after the victim, called "John Doe" in the lawsuit, reportedly woke up to find Flores sexually assaulting him.

Bridgeport police investigated and charged Flores with sexually assaulting John Doe and two other men. The lawsuit alleges the hospital knew of a previously reported sexual assault but failed to properly investigate, allowing Flores to target another patient.

"Just interviewing someone and having him deny it does not constitute an investigation in my mind," Ponvert said.

But a spokesperson for St. Vincent's Medical Center said the patient who reported being sexually assaulted last winter could not identify the person who assaulted him.

"In February, there was a patient that made a complaint that there was inappropriate contact," said Dianne Auger, senior vice president of St. Vincent's. "He could not identify who that person was who made that contact. We interviewed several staff members and we weren't able to substantiate that claim."

St. Vincent's said it took immediate action Flores was named in sexual assault allegations last summer.

"We have clear policies regarding employee standards of behavior. We take all patient claims seriously. As soon as St. Vincent's had sufficient reason to believe there was inappropriate behavior on the part of Gonzalo Flores, he was terminated," the hospital said in a statement Thursday.

Hospital officials also said Flores underwent a background check and pre-employment interviews, and no red flags were raised during the hiring process.

A spokesperson for the hospital said St. Vincent's is conducting an internal investigation and is cooperating with the Bridgeport Police Department.

"No one from the hospital has ever apologized or offered to help us or anything," John Doe's wife said in a written statement released Thursday.

Information on an attorney for Flores was not immediately available.

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