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Boy Faces Prison in Rape of 13-Year-Old

September 07, 2002|RICHARD FAUSSET | TIMES STAFF WRITER

A 17-year-old boy is facing up to eight years behind bars for allegedly raping a 13-year-old girl while the two were patients at a West Hills psychiatric hospital, authorities said.

The boy, whose name was not released because of his age, allegedly attacked the victim Aug. 13 at Pine Grove Hospital, Los Angeles County Deputy Dist. Atty. Frances Young said.

According to the victim's mother and medical records, the suspect entered the girl's room in one of the hospital's coed adolescent units, pinning her down and threatening to punch her if she screamed.

The boy pleaded guilty to one count of a lewd act with a child on Aug. 16, Young said. He faces up to eight years in prison or a juvenile detention facility, Young said. Because he is a resident of Oxnard, he will be sentenced in Ventura County. A hearing date has not been set.

In an interview Friday, the victim's mother criticized the hospital for what she said was insufficient patient oversight. She said her daughter had checked into the hospital for treatment of a bipolar disorder and depression. Since the rape, the girl has attempted suicide and is unable to return to school, the mother said.

"She felt like I did," the mother said. "I felt betrayal."

The incident is the second involving a sex crime against a minor in the last two years at the private, 80-bed psychiatric facility, at 7011 Shoup Ave.

Last September, a jury found a former Pine Grove employee, Quincy Crawford, guilty of two counts of lewd acts upon a child for crimes he committed against another 13-year-old patient in 2000, district attorney spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons said. Crawford was sentenced to three years in state prison.

Pine Grove Administrator Larry McFarland declined to comment on either incident, but said Pine Grove's practices and procedures are regularly reviewed by state health officials.

"I do know we take very seriously the care of the patients, especially the adolescents, charged in our care," he said. "We do our utmost best."

The hospital is required by law to report such incidents to the California Department of Health Services, said Lea Brooks, a department spokeswoman. The state then launches an investigation to determine if hospital procedures are adequate or need to be improved, she said.

Brooks said the department is investigating the most recent sexual assault.

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