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Victim of sexual assault sues St. Vincent’s Hospital for negligence

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Gonzalo Flores/ Bridgeport Police

BRIDGEPORT – A $25 million lawsuit filed Thursday claims St. Vincent’s Hospital in Bridgeport was negligent and knew a male nursing assistant, who is facing sexual assault charges, was a dangerous sexual predator.

Gonzalo Flores has admitted to Bridgeport police that he sexually assaulted a male patient, referred to as John Doe in the lawsuit, which is the first of perhaps several to be filed against the hospital by the firm of Koskoff, Koskoff & Bieder.

The plaintiffs, a husband and wife, wish to remain anonymous. The lawsuit claims the husband was sexually assaulted by Gonzalo Flores. In a press release, Atty. Antonio Ponvert III said, “Flores, a certified nursing assistant, confessed to police that during the three years St. Vincent’s employed him, he fondled, raped, molested, or in some other way sexually abused numerous patients at the hospital.”

“It turns out that Mr. Flores had a history of sexually assaulting vulnerable and helpless patients at the hospital, said Attorney Antonio Ponvert, who represents the two plaintiffs, John and Jane Doe, of Fairfield.

Flores was arrested for several different assaults. He is current awaiting trial.

The plaintiffs are suing for $25 million and filed their case in Bridgeport Superior Court on Thursday. They say the hospital was reckless and put patients at risk.

“Mr. Doe is not doing well,” said Ponvert. “He and his wife are experiencing considerable trauma, fear and interference with not only happiness as individual people, but certainly in their marital relationship.”

“I chose St. Vincent’s because I trusted they would take care of me” said John Doe, in a statement. “Instead, the hospital exposed me to a sexual deviant, who was dressed in a hospital uniform and was working as a nurse’s aide.”

Jane Doe, the patient’s wife, also noted in the statement that this has been devastating to their marriage because “we don’t know what diseases we’ve been exposed to. No one from the hospital has ever apologized or offered to help us or anything.”

Ponvert said another lawsuit has been filed in connection with Flores, but “this is the first to include letters from health care providers stating that they have a ‘good faith belief’ that St. Vincent’s was negligent in its care and treatment, a requirement for suing a health care provider under Connecticut law.”

Dianne Auger, senior president of St. Vincent’s Medical Center Foundation, said the hospital “did not knowingly hire a sexual predator. St. Vincent’s, like all other institutions, does a variety of background checks.”

Auger also released a statement:

At St. Vincent’s, our highest priority is patient safety. Any situation involving potential harm to our patients is deeply troubling and of the utmost concern to us.

We have clear policies regarding employee standards of behavior. We take all patient claims seriously. As soon as St. Vincent’s had sufficient reason to believe there was inappropriate behavior on the part of Gonzalo Flores, he was terminated. Hospital management has been conducting a thorough internal investigation regarding these allegations. We continue to cooperate with the Bridgeport Police Department on the three cases of which we are aware.