Recent sexual assault accusations against an area hospital nurse did not surprise one Kansas woman.
Three years ago at a different hospital, the same thing happened to her, she says.
Late at night in the intensive care unit, a male nurse entered her room and molested her. She complained to a supervisor and was told the male nurse wouldn’t return to her room. But a couple of hours later he did, she said, whispering in her ear before giving her what she believed was medication to cloud her memory.
“You won’t remember anything,” she recalls him telling her.
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But he was wrong.
After she recently learned of the new allegations, “I feel like I was raped all over again,” she told The Star.
Dennis E. Clark, the 47-year-old nurse recently charged in Wyandotte County District Court with sexually assaulting four female patients at Providence Medical Center in Kansas City, Kan., worked at Menorah Medical Center in Overland Park in 2011 when J.K. reported that a male nurse sexually assaulted her there.
J.K., who asked The Star to identify her only by her initials, was one of two women who reported sexual assaults while Clark worked at Menorah.
Though both cases were reported to the Kansas Board of Nursing and investigated by Overland Park police, no criminal charges were filed and no disciplinary action was taken at the time on Clark’s license as a registered nurse.
According to the Board of Nursing, which revoked Clark’s license after the Wyandotte County charges were filed this month, the Menorah allegations involved someone fitting Clark’s physical description.
But in one case, the identity of the nurse “could not be confirmed” and in the other, the allegations “were unsubstantiated,” according to the board.
J.K. said she is angry to now hear that other women may have been victims after nothing came of the allegations she made.
“It never should have happened,” she said.
According to J.K., she was admitted to the hospital after an adverse reaction to pain medication she received during an outpatient procedure.
She said she was in the ICU when the male nurse came in and told her he was there to bathe her. During the “bath,” he penetrated her vagina with his fingers and a sponge, she alleges.
When she cried out, another nurse came into the room and the male nurse told his colleague that he was having trouble inserting a catheter, according to J.K.
Later she informed a supervisor of what happened and was told that the nurse would not be allowed back in her room. But she said he did return a few hours later and gave her the medication. She doesn’t remember what happened after that, she said.
“I wish I would have called 911 that night,” J.K. said.
After being released from the hospital, she filed a report with Overland Park police. But she never heard anything further about the case.
At one point when she followed up, J.K. said, she was told the case was still under investigation.
Overland Park police say they are taking a new look at the previous allegations in light of the charges now pending against Clark.
One of the Menorah cases had been previously submitted to prosecutors and has been resubmitted, police said.
“We are actively investigating any other cases or incidents which may or may not have been connected to him in the past and will not be able to comment specifically on those cases,” Overland Park police said in a written statement.
Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe said that because of the ongoing nature of the investigation, he could not comment. But Howe did confirm that his office was working with local police in regard to the case.
Besides the allegations surrounding Clark’s hospital employment, Johnson County authorities are investigating incidents that occurred last year in the neighborhood where Clark lived. At least two neighbors reported that he allegedly exposed himself to them.
The Johnson County Sheriff’s Office said it cannot comment on the investigation.
Before working at Menorah, Clark worked at Olathe Medical Center.
Olathe police said they have no records of any allegations being made against Clark while he worked there.
“If our organization receives a complaint of inappropriate behavior, we conduct a prompt and thorough investigation and take whatever action is appropriate,” an official with Olathe Medical Center said in a written statement.
The hospital does not comment on employment records of current or past employees, but it confirmed that Clark’s employment there ended more than seven years ago.
Officials at Menorah said Clark was hired there in February 2010 after passing a thorough background check.
He was “terminated” from his job at Menorah in February 2012 and “designated ineligible for rehire,” according to a written statement from the hospital.
Hospital officials said they could not comment on whether the allegations led to the termination, but they said that the incidents were reported to the “appropriate agencies” and that the hospital is continuing to assist police “with their investigation of this individual.”
Officials at Providence said Clark passed background checks when he was hired there in December 2013.
Those checks included searches of criminal history and sex offender registry records as well as board of nursing records that would show “alerts” if disciplinary action had been taken or was pending, according to the hospital.
Kansas City, Kan., police began investigating Clark in May after a patient at Providence reported that she was sexually assaulted. Two other women also reported similar incidents. In October, prosecutors charged Clark in Wyandotte County District Court with three counts of aggravated sexual battery.
He was released from custody after posting a $10,000 bond, but after a fourth victim came forward and rape charges were filed, prosecutors moved to have his bond increased.
On Thursday, after a judge increased his bond to $75,000, Clark was taken back into custody.
Kansas City, Kan., police said they are continuing to investigate the possibility of additional victims.
J.K. said she was relieved to hear that Clark was back in jail.
“I just want him stopped so he can’t hurt anybody else,” she said.