A Jasper woman has filed a lawsuit against North Arkansas Regional Medical Center for negligence and a hospital nurse for allegedly sexually assaulting her at the hospital.
Leticia Cummings filed the suit last Tuesday against the hospital and 29-year-old Toby Olen Cordova regarding an incident alleged to have taken place about a year ago.
Cummings alleges that she was taken to NARMC by her husband, Larry, on Feb. 1, 2019, to be treated for psychiatric symptoms and severe panic attacks.
The suit claims Cummings was “in a very fragile mental state” on arrival and placed in the care of Cordova. She was given antidepressants and sedatives and left in a room with her husband.
The suit said that after the drugs were administered, Cordova stepped out of the room and told another NARMC employee that he was going to administer an EKG, that he was going to “lift up her shirt, put some stickers on her breasts and ask her if she wants me to continue.” The other employee allegedly asked him not to do what he threatened, but didn’t immediately report it to a supervisor or police.
The suit alleges that Cordova went back in Cummings’ room and asked her husband to leave, then “fondled Leticia Cummings’ breasts and forced her to place her hand on his exposed penis.”
Cummings filed a complaint with Harrison Police regarding the incident. Online court records show he was charged with second-degree sexual assault in the case and is scheduled to appear for jury trial in late April.
The suit makes reference to an October 2018 incident in which Cordova was involved.
Online court records show Harrison Police alleged that Cordova exposed himself to a woman at Harrison Fitness, then followed her to her vehicle and exposed himself again.
He was taken to jury trial and convicted of indecent exposure. The jury recommended a fine of $2,500, one year of probation and that Cordova seek therapy.
Cummings’ lawsuit also makes mention of a 2011 incident in which Cordova was arrested in Fort Smith when he was an employee at Sparks Regional Medical Center, facing charges of second-degree sexual assault of a disabled patient.
The suit alleges NARMC was negligent in not doing the appropriate background checks before hiring Cordova. Cummings maintains that a simple internet search would have turned up the 2011 incident.
In a statement, NARMC said neither Cordova or the other employee describe in the suit are still employed at the hospital.
“At North Arkansas Regional Medical Center (NARMC),” the statement said, “patient security is a top priority, and we are committed to providing our patients and staff a safe and positive environment. For these reasons, in addition to other measures, NARMC conducts federal and state background checks for its employees. NARMC has fully cooperated with investigating officials in this matter and will continue to do so.”