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Patient arrested for alleged sexual assault at local hospital

A 24-year-old male psychiatric patient of a Creve Coeur, Missouri, hospital was arrested after a female patient there claimed that he raped her at the facility. The female patient, 19, told police that the rape occurred in a "quiet room" adjacent to a lounge on the floor where the hospital's behavioral health program is located. Police said that the two were being supervised in the lounge when they left separately. They were later found together in the quiet room, according to police.

The man also spoke to police, and investigators were attempting to determine what happened based on the statements made by the two parties. Police, who were waiting for results from a rape examination, did not disclose what the man had told them.

There were evidently no witnesses to the alleged assault other than the two patients. Thus the case would be heavily reliant on the female patient's testimony. An experienced defense attorney might be able to cast doubt on her testimony. The ward the two people were on is for individuals with drug addictions or psychiatric issues.

Also, it is not clear why the supervisor at the hospital would leave the two alone long enough for a sexual assault to occur. Police say that the supervisor did not see either of them leave the lounge.

It is important to remember that arrests often occur at an early stage of an investigation, before the authorities have a clear idea of what actually happened. If prosecutors decide to charge the suspect in this case with sexual assault, he may face some serious challenges.

Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, "Patient arrested for raping teen at Mercy Hospital St. Louis psych unit," Kim Bell, April 17, 2012

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