A woman says she was sexually assaulted in two Philadelphia hospital rooms after undergoing a lengthy surgery.
Rose Tummarello, 28, of Bucks County said she was assaulted after a nine-hour surgery in a surgery room and then a recovery room by a hospital employee as her parents stood, unaware, outside the door.
“I thought I was in the safest place, you’re in a hospital, you think you’re in such a safe place and nothing will happen,” Tummarello told WPVI. “He shut all the curtains and decided to take the sheet off of me. Told me he had to fix the heart monitor that I did not have on. And he was groping me and just like kissing on my neck, and then finally he decided, ‘OK. let’s go to your room,’” Tummarello said in the interview. Then, she alleges, more misconduct took place, again kissing her neck and groping her. Tummarello said she was sedated, but found the energy to call for her parents.
“As they were like coming in, he was whispering in my ear, ‘Just wait till they leave and we can have more fun,’” Tummarello said, telling the outlet that she’s coming forward now because she believes her assaulter has likely abused other patients.
The hospital worker, Rafael Alicea, 41, is now facing charges including institutional sex assault and indecent assault, and no longer works at the hospital. His job, according to the report, was to transport her from the surgery room to her recovery room. Alicea denies the claims, saying through an attorney that he has never been accused of misconduct during a decade of employment.
“[He] adamantly asserts his innocence and looks forward to his day in court,” his lawyer, David mischak, told local media.
Jefferson Hospital addressed the claims, saying, the safety and well-being of its patients, employees and students is a top priority.
“When we receive any reports of sexual misconduct, we investigate and take action as quickly as possible. We strongly encourage anyone to contact Campus Security at 215-955-8888 or 215-955-5678 to report an incident of sexual violence,” Brandon Lausch, senior director, news and media relations for Jefferson Health, told WPVI.
Alicea is due in court in September.