LCSO, LCMH at odds over treatment of victim of sexual assault

Jul 17 Written by 

The treatment of a sexually assaulted woman has the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO) questioning how Laurens County Memorial Hospital (LCMH) handled the evaluation of the victim.

Deputies with the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office were dispatched on a call last Thursday in reference to a burglary and sexual assault. It was determined during the investigation that a man forcefully entered a residence, cut the victim with a sharp instrument, held the victim against her will and then sexually assaulted her.

According to a release from the LCSO, the victim was extremely distraught and traumatized after experiencing such a violent crime. A deputy on scene called for an ambulance to transport the victim to the Laurens County Memorial Hospital for medical evaluation.

“Sexual assault investigations include evaluations and processes that involve nurses and/or doctors collecting evidence and looking for signs of trauma to the victim,” said the release. “This evidence is collected in a Sexual Assault Evidence Collection Kit, which is then turned over to the law enforcement agency conducting the investigation. In many instances, the best practice is to have a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) perform this task. When a SANE is not available, a nurse or doctor can perform the procedure.”

According to the release, Laurens County Memorial Hospital did not have a SANE on duty to perform the examination and collect the evidence, so the hospital refused to perform this procedure. LCMH recommended that the victim go to a hospital in Greer to have this done.

An investigator with the LCSO talked with hospital personnel and explained the concerns with asking an extremely traumatized victim to travel to another county for this procedure, the release said. The victim declined to go to Greer.

“Sheriff Don Reynolds attempted to reach out to Kay Swisher and Justin Benfield of Greenville Health System for an explanation and to seek a solution to this problem but has not yet been able to contact anyone,” said the release. “It is unacceptable for Laurens County Hospital to not perform this examination and collection of evidence. Furthermore, it is unbelievable that a victim of such a horrendous crime would have to travel to another county for the collection of evidence. This jeopardizes the investigation and puts the victim and others at further risk of harm. Fortunately, in this situation, there was enough evidence to move forward and arrest the individual responsible for assaulting the victim.”

The suspect, John David Hall, is currently being held at the Johnson Detention Center. Hall, 39, of 147 John Deere Ln. in Easley, was charged with burglary, kidnapping, breach of peace-high and aggravated nature and criminal sexual conduct-first degree. Bond was denied on all four charges.

“Laurens County Memorial Hospital, like all Greenville Health System facilities, strives to provide the best care possible to all of our patients,” said GHS spokesperson Dudley Brown. “Due to patient privacy, we cannot discuss this specific case. It is general practice at all GHS facilities to have a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) provide the exam because these nurses have special training and often provide expert testimony if a case goes to trial. If a SANE nurse is not present, we offer patients the opportunity to be immediately transported to a facility where a SANE nurse is available. If a patient does not want to be transported, a doctor can perform the exam. However, patient consent must be given for the exam to be performed."

Last modified on Monday, 17 July 2017 10:48