LOGAN — An attorney for a man who claimed he was sexually assaulted while unconscious and under arrest by Logan police gave more details about the case Thursday, saying surveillance footage shows an officer witnessing the assault before walking away.
The officer on duty, however, gave a different account.
The victim filed a federal civil lawsuit against Logan City and its police department Feb. 13, after claiming that he was sexually assaulted while unconscious in a hospital bed. The victim said that police witnessed the attack and failed to intervene.
The man had been arrested by Logan police Jan. 20 when he passed out while being transported. Officers took him to Logan Regional Hospital to be treated. He was handcuffed to his hospital gurney and was being monitored by Logan Police when the sexual assault took place.
"He was unable to do anything in terms of protecting himself," said the victim's attorney, Brad Bearnson.
A surveillance video in Logan Regional Hospital shows a male nurse, Hal Weston, walking in and out of the man's room several times, often alone. The victims attorneys said that the video clearly shows that a Logan police officer witnessed the assault, but turned away.
Bearnson said the video also shows the police officer on duty peeking into the room, and then walking away.
"He actually observes the assault taking place," Bearnson said. "This is a felony. He simply nonchalantly closes the curtain and meanders away."
However, the police officer gave a different account in his written report from the night's patrol. He stated:
"I walked down the hallway into another room in an attempt to collect my thoughts. I came back out to look for security."
Bearnson said that the police officer had a duty to stop the assault from taking place, and that he delayed responding to the incident.
"He didn't need hospital security to intervene and to protect my client," Bearnson said.
Weston was arrested and later charged with forcible sodomy. He was terminated in response to the allegations.
He didn't need hospital security to intervene and to protect my client.
–Brad Bearnson, attorney
Bearnson said that the victim didn't realize he had been assaulted until he was told the next morning.
"It has been mortifying for him," Bearnson said. "He didn't learn about the assault until many hours after."
Bearnson said he and the victim are hopeful the lawsuit will result in some kind of additional training for Logan police.
The officer involved in the incident recently retired. Officials say the retirement was not related to the man's case in any way.