PORTLAND, Oregon — A former emergency room nurse at a Portland hospital pleaded guilty Tuesday to sexually abusing patients and is to be sentenced to 15 years in prison.
Prosecutors alleged that Jeffrey McAllister chose his victims carefully, selecting women he thought wouldn't complain or wouldn't be believed if they did, The Oregonian reported (http://bit.ly/1lQP6L4 ).
Then, pretending to do medical tasks, the 39-year-old former police officer abused them, the prosecutors said.
Some women complained, but the complaints went nowhere or hospital workers didn't believe them. One of the 10 victims was an emergency room worker.
Federal investigators found that Legacy Emanuel Medical Center didn't have systems to ensure patient safety, and the staff flouted regulations by failing to document complaints, dismissing allegations without interviewing patients, keeping McAllister on the job during inquiries and, in one case, putting a patient at risk by emailing her detailed allegations to him.
The government threatened to withhold $250 million in Medicare funding, and the hospital hurriedly put together a prevention plan to salvage the money. A lawsuit against the hospital is to begin in April.
McAllister pleaded guilty to sex abuse, unlawful sexual penetration and other charges. Under the deal, prosecutors will dismiss charges such as rape and sodomy that would have brought minimum mandatory sentences of 25 years in custody.
At a trial that was to begin in days, prosecutors were preparing to characterize McAllister as a "serial sexual predator," according to court documents that described assaults from 2009 to April 2013.
"He knew who would be believed between himself and a compromised patient, and what methods to employ to talk himself out of trouble," prosecutors wrote in a recent filing. "This, in turn, kept him employed as a nurse with continued access to patients as the complaints rolled in."
McAllister's lawyer signaled his intent to try to attack the women's veracity by bringing up past criminal conduct.
McAllister is a former police officer in Beaverton and Seaside who first worked in security for Legacy Emanuel and then as emergency room technician before he became a registered nurse in the ER from 2008 until April 2013, when he was fired.
In August, he surrendered his Oregon nursing license and will never be able to reapply.
Formal sentencing is Sept. 24.
Information from: The Oregonian, http://www.oregonlive.com
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