PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The attorney for an 85-year-old woman who claims to be one of seven woman sexually assaulted by a former patient sitter has filed suit against UPMC, claiming the hospital was negligent.

The lawsuit cites as an example of what happened after one incident during which the man touched her inappropriately:

“In response, UPMC’s nurse’s aide, failing to recognize or choosing to ignore, the gravity of the sexual assault Mrs. Doe was reporting, suggested to Mrs. Doe that it was probably someone just coming in to check on her catheter. Mrs. Doe did not have a catheter.”

Police have charged William Butler, 32, of West Mifflin, within indecent assault and aggravated indecent assault, involving seven women.

“According to the criminal complaint, on June 28th, the first victim was assaulted. These assaults continued until July 5th, when a total of seven women were assaulted by this employee while patients at UPMC Mercy,” said the plaintif’s attorney Rob Peirce. “It is inexcusable to me that someone can assault multiple women over multiple days and not be removed from their position when the first allegation occurred.”

The criminal complaint claims Butler went into the rooms of seven female patients at UPMC Mercy Hospital between June 28 and July 5 of this year. He is accused of touching their vagina or breasts. Then, he would leave after each patient made it known that they were uncomfortable.

He used the excuse that he needed to check the “leads” of their heart monitor, and also told the victims he needed to check if they wet the bed.

Butler denied these events happened while speaking to KDKA-TV’s Amy Wadas.

Today, attorney Rob Pierce issued a statement on behalf of the unidentified victim filing the lawsuit:

“We were contacted by our clients to investigate the circumstances of a truly horrific incident involving a sexual assault perpetrated upon Mrs. Doe while she was a patient at UPMC. We intend to continue our investigation so that we can get answers for not only Mrs. Doe and her family, but for all of the victims and their families. We are hopeful that as a result of this lawsuit, UPMC will take a look at their policies and procedures to ensure that this does not happen again at any of their facilities.”

UPMC issued the following statement regarding the lawsuit:

“The care and safety of our patients, including their privacy, is our top priority.  UPMC cannot comment on pending litigation.

We are deeply committed to protecting our patients, who entrust their health and safety to us every day.  The behavior reported in this case is abhorrent and violates both the mission of Mercy and the overall values of UPMC.  This is unacceptable in society let alone in any of our hospitals.  Once we learned of these allegations, we immediately began a thorough investigation in full cooperation with law enforcement.  As a result of that investigation, this individual was terminated.

UPMC will continue to do everything we can to support the efforts of law enforcement leading to prosecution, and have established our own task force to implement additional measures to further protect our patients at all UPMC locations.” 

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