Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Hospital employee convicted of sex offense

All but six months of 12-year jail sentence is suspended

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A former Shady Grove Adventist Hospital part-time employee was convicted Thursday in Montgomery County District Court on two counts of fourth-degree sex offense and two counts of second-degree assault in connection with an incident at the Rockville medical facility.

George Anthony Gravesande, 29, of the 400 block of King Farm Boulevard in Rockville, was arrested May 8 on charges that he sexually assaulted a patient two days earlier.

Seth B. Zucker, spokesman for the Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office, said Gravesande was sentenced to 12 years in jail with all but six months suspended.

State’s Attorney John McCarthy called the incident a ‘‘nightmare.”

‘‘The defendant violated the trust of the victim and of Shady Grove Adventist Hospital,” McCarthy said. ‘‘For a hospital worker to sexually assault a patient is literally a nightmare scenario that will not be tolerated by this community.”

Police said Gravesande, dressed in dark blue hospital scrubs, awoke a 44-year-old female patient at approximately 1:15 a.m. May 6 and told her he was there to examine her. He then began rubbing and pushing the woman’s breasts and placing his hand between her legs.

The woman pushed his hands away and Gravesande left the room, police said. He returned about 20 minutes later and told her he needed to continue the examination. He began touching her again, but the woman resisted.

Police said the woman notified hospital officials that morning and officials immediately contacted the police.

Shady Grove Hospital officials said they have been working with Montgomery County Police to investigate the incident.

‘‘This isolated incident is disappointing and regrettable,” says a hospital statement released Friday morning. ‘‘We continue to take steps to ensure the safety of patients and staff in our hospital.”