CHARLESTON COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - The parents of a teenager who claims to have been sexually assaulted by another teen while getting psychiatric help at the Medical University of South Carolina are suing the hospital and some of its employees for failing to prevent the incident.
In the lawsuit, the 14-year-old male's parents say he was sexually assaulted by a 16-year-old male patient in April, 2015 while being involuntarily committed at the medical university's psychiatric in-patient program.
MUSC and employees Jennifer Miller, Zachary Collins, Laura Miller, Carmen White-Baltimore, Christine Prioleu, Timothy McGraw, Lizzie Fields, and Lottie Aminate Ayanna are named in the lawsuit.
The teen's parents argue the defendants should have known the patient was at risk of harming their son. They say staff at MUSC were required to check on the 14-year-old every 15 minutes, but didn't do so between 8 and 11 p.m. on the night their son was assaulted.
They also argue staff are required to keep patients who pose a risk separate from other patients.
They say their son's right to personal security was violated at the hospital and will suffer irreparable physical, mental and emotional harm as a result of this incident.
The teen's parents are asking to be awarded damages in an amount determined by a jury.
In a statement released Wednesday afternoon, MUSC spokesperson Heather Woolwine said the MUSC Public Safety department served as the lead investigators in this case with Charleston Police providing forensic support.
"After investigating and receiving guidance from CPD and the solicitor's office, MUSC Public Safety did not file any charges regarding this incident citing the lack of probable cause," she said.
According to an incident report from the MUSC Public Safety Department, officers responded to the room at approximately 11:16 p.m. on April 18, 2015. The 14-year-old told investigators the 16-year-old grabbed his buttocks and pulled his underwear off of him, the report states. The 16-year-old told investigators he and the 14-year-old talked about sex, began kissing and eventually had consensual sex, the report states.
Charleston Police detectives interviewed staff involved and determined sexual intercourse had occurred between the victim and the suspect, however "it was not understood if it was consensual or forced," the report states.
Woolwine said the hospital could not comment on the specific incident because of patient confidentiality laws. However, she said MUSC is prepared to "vigorously defend itself in this lawsuit."