Sexual assault alleged at Howard Hospital

February 03, 2007|By Melissa Harris | Melissa Harris,sun reporter

A 27-year-old male patient at Howard County General Hospital has been charged with sexually assaulting a female patient in an adjoining room, police and hospital officials said yesterday.

Jerel Antonio Mcrae of the 5900 block of Turnabout Lane in Columbia was arrested Thursday night by Howard County police as he was being released from the hospital. He is charged with two second-degree sex offenses and one charge of sodomy.

Mary Patton, a hospital spokeswoman, said than the incident occurred in a shower room that connected the patients' rooms.

The 19-year-old woman is considered a "vulnerable adult," Patton said, which means she lacks the physical or mental capacity to meet her own needs. She lives in a group home under the care of Baltimore County social services, according to court records.

Before the incident, according to court records, the woman and Mcrae were eating dinner and talking about why they were in the hospital. The woman told police that Mcrae then had her "go into the shower room" and he followed her.

Mcrae told police that he knew the woman was "heavily medicated" and "a little off" mentally before he had sex with her in the shower room, according to court records. Mcrae denied using force.

Meanwhile, the woman told detectives that she said "no" and asked him to stop, but Mcrae replied only, "Wait a minute." He later told her not to tell anyone, according to the woman's statement to police.

Hospital staff found the woman "sitting on the floor, screaming and crying," and when asked what was wrong, she described the assault, according to court records.

In addition to the criminal investigation, the hospital will conduct an internal one.

"The goal is to ensure that something like this never happens again," Patton said.

Mcrae is being held at the Howard County Detention Center on $100,000 bond.

melissa.harris@baltsun.com

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