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Guard Jailed on Suspicion of Groping 2 Patients

June 13, 2002|SUFIYA ABDUR-RAHMAN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

A Glendale hospital security guard is in jail for allegedly groping two female patients and inappropriately touching another, authorities said Wednesday.

Fernando Rivas, 40, was arrested early Sunday after Glendale Adventist Medical Center staff contacted police about a patient complaint, Glendale Police Sgt. Kirk Palmer said.

The Eagle Rock resident was charged Tuesday with two counts of sexual battery and one count of battery and is being held in lieu of $75,000 bail in Los Angeles County Jail, Palmer said.

On June 2, a 45-year-old woman told hospital staff that a security guard matching Rivas' description groped her, hospital spokeswoman Alicia Gonzalez said. But police were not called until two more women complained Sunday, Palmer said.

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Friday June 14, 2002 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 6 inches; 215 words Type of Material: Correction
Arrest statement--A story in Thursday's California section incorrectly attributed a statement about a guard charged with groping patients at a Glendale hospital. Sgt. Kirk Palmer of the Glendale Police Department said a 45-year-old woman told hospital staff June 2 that she was groped by a security guard. Glendale Adventist Medical Center spokeswoman Alicia Gonzalez did not make that statement.

The hospital has disciplined the two employees who failed to report the June 2 incident, Gonzalez said.

A statement from the medical center said that it "takes this matter very seriously. The hospital regrets the incident and is sparing no effort or resources to fully examine processes in the interest of protecting our patients."

Glendale Adventist has placed the company that Rivas worked for, Healthcare Security Services, on a 90-day probation, during which time the hospital will decide whether to keep its services, Gonzalez said. The hospital began a contract with the company May 17.

According to its Web site, Healthcare Security Services is based in Denver and provides services in six states including California. Company officials could not be reached for comment.

Glendale Adventist Medical Center was the employer of respiratory therapist Efren Saldivar, the self-described "Angel of Death," who was sentenced in April to life in prison without parole for killing hospital patients.

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