- Associated Press - Friday, October 30, 2015

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - A patient at a Kansas state hospital for the mentally ill man was charged Friday with raping a staff member in the latest troubling incident at the institution.

Forty-two-year-old Aaron C. Goodman, of Hartford, is jailed on $250,000 bond in a sexual assault Tuesday at Osawatomie State Hospital. The Miami County prosecutor’s office said Goodman doesn’t yet have an attorney who could comment on the allegations.

Police said in a news release that it was reported that a 21-year-old staff member was sexually assaulted and raped after she was summoned to the patient’s room to assist him. Another patient heard the struggle and stopped the attack, the release said. The staff member was taken to a hospital and released later that night.

Republican state Sen. Molly Baumgardner, who lives in the town of Louisburg in Miami County, said she’s concerned something may have been missed during the intake process that would have led to staff taking additional precautions with the patient. She also raised questions about staffing levels at the hospital.

But Angela de Rocha, a spokeswoman for the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services, which operates Osawatomie, said the residential unit was fully staffed when the reported attack occurred.

Baumgardner said there had been two other worrisome situations at the hospital in recent months, including in May when a worker suffered serious head injuries after being assaulted by a patient. Questions also were raised after a patient fatally injured a man soon after his release from the hospital.

“Employees who work in a state institution need to be safe. Likewise, patients in a state institution need to receive the health care they need,” Baumgardner said. “And what I am not liking is this cycle of patients going to Osawatomie and because of different incidents are ending up in our jails.”

De Rocha said she couldn’t comment directly on the rape investigation, citing patient privacy laws and a state statute that restricts information that can released about staff members.

“The agency and hospital management are very concerned with staff safety, as well as patient safety,” she said, adding that “Lamentably, these kinds of events are not unheard at any kind of psychiatric institution.”

The facility in Miami County, which is one of two psychiatric hospitals operated by the state, has been limited to 146 beds since mid-June, after the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services required renovations several months earlier. The hospital has been replacing items that could be used for hanging, such as dropped ceilings, or as weapons.

Currently, the only patients served in the hospital are those who have been determined to be a threat to themselves or others, de Rocha said.

De Rocha said patients were being moved this week back into a newly renovated building, although police haven’t indicated there was a connection between the move and the alleged attack.

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