A former employee of Glendale Adventist Medical Center was sentenced last week to three years in Chino State Prison for the attempted rape of a 62-year-old heart patient in her bed at the medical center.
Matthew E. Williams, 20, of Arcadia, who could have received a four-year maximum sentence, pleaded guilty on April 15 to one count of attempted rape of the woman, who had undergone heart surgery about 30 minutes before the attack on Dec. 12, 1984. Williams was a hospital messenger at the time.
Connie Volpe, Williams' mother, stood before Pasadena Superior Court Judge Gilbert C. Alston in tears Friday and pleaded for leniency.
"This is an extreme tragedy," she said, her voice breaking. "This is my only son. I raised him by myself . . . "
After hearing final statements from Williams' attorney, Ronald Perry, and Deputy Dist. Atty. Elton Sims, Alston sentenced Williams to three years in prison with a stipulation that gives the court an option for resentencing after 100 days.
Cites Severity of Crime
Sims said the severity of the crime demanded a prison sentence.
"I think there are certain places you expect to be safe. . . . When you are in a hospital setting you certainly expect to be free from any type of sexual assault from the people who work there," Sims said. "This is a woman who was totally vulnerable and was in the trust of hospital officials. Williams violated that trust and chose to sexually assault a vulnerable patient."
The victim filed a civil suit against the hospital last year and settled out of court earlier this year for $350,000, according to court records. The suit claimed that hospital officials were negligent for continuing to employ Williams after he was suspected of molesting other patients in the hospital.
Undergoing Weekly Therapy
Williams has been undergoing weekly psychiatric therapy, his lawyer said. Perry said the psychiatrist recommended that the court grant Williams formal probation with no time in jail and that he continue psychotherapy because the incident was probably a "once-in-a-lifetime occurrence."
Outside the courtroom, Perry said he was shocked by the judge's sentence.
"It doesn't make any sense at all," he said. Williams is "emotionally and physically like a 15-year-old," Perry said. "Can you imagine putting a 15-year-old in prison?"
However, Sims said that he would fight to keep Williams' prison sentence. He said the incident has had an "extremely traumatic" effect on the victim and there is "nothing we can do to to take care of the mental anguish she will go through."