Tuesday 12 December 2017

Mater patient awoke to find care assistant rubbing her breasts

Folajimmy Awode has been found guilty of the sexual assault of a female patient at the Mater Private Hospital
Folajimmy Awode has been found guilty of the sexual assault of a female patient at the Mater Private Hospital

Sonya McLean and  Declan Conlon

A MAN has been convicted of sexually assaulting a patient while working as a care assistant at the Mater Private Hospital in Dublin.

Folajimmy Awode (31), of Ballinteer House, Tyrellstown, Dublin, had pleaded not guilty to sexual assault of a female patient at the Mater Private Hospital, Eccles Street, Dublin 7, in November 2013.

The hospital last night apologised to the patient and said that Awode has been sacked.

The woman, who cannot be identified, said that she was awoken by a rubbing sensation on her breast. On opening her eyes she saw Awode lifting his hand from her body.

The woman told Elva Duffy BL, prosecuting, she entered the hospital on a date in November 2013 to have surgery the next day. She was given painkillers and valium for pain relief and to help her get to sleep.

Awode was working as a part-time care assistant in her ward and cleaned the toilet in her room that evening at her request.

She went to sleep at about 10.30pm and slept on her left side for some time until she felt rubbing on her right breast, she said. She opened her eyes and the sensation seemed to stop. "Because of where I was, in hospital, you're just not expecting this to be the case, so I closed my eyes again," she said.

The sensation resumed when she once again closed her eyes. She then turned over and saw Awode standing by her bed and moving his hand away from her body.

"I looked at him. He looked totally stunned and just took off," she said.

A witness, who occupied another bed in the room that night, told Ms Duffy that as she lay in bed she saw Awode entering and quickly leaving the room twice, before entering a third time and going to the victim's bedside.

She said she could only see his legs as there was a curtain partially drawn around the bed, and that he remained at her bedside for two or three minutes before rushing out.

"He scurried out of the room and almost immediately (the woman) jumped out of the bed," said the witness. She said the woman "shouted that someone had been at her chest".

Dr Padraic O'Neill, a retired neurosurgeon, gave evidence that the medication given to the victim would have had no cognitive or sedative effect on her.

The jury returned its majority verdict on day three of the trial having spent four-and-a-half hours deliberating.

Judge Patricia Ryan revoked Awode's bail and remanded him in custody for sentence on July 7. She ordered the preparation of a victim impact report for that day.

Mater Private Hospital last night issued a statement: "All Mater Private Hospital staff must have garda clearance and complete a rigorous recruiting process.

"Folajimmy Awode had garda clearance. An investigation and subsequent disciplinary hearing resulted in Awode's employment at the hospital being terminated.

"Mater Private Hospital deeply regrets the hurt and upset that this incident has caused and apologise unreservedly to the patient in this case," the statement said.

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