Catholic hospital in Colorado faces class-action lawsuit after police allege nurse spent years recording himself sexually abusing unconscious patients

Insider [New York NY]

December 27, 2022

By Katherine Tangalakis-Lippert

  • A former nurse at St. Mary’s Medical Center was accused by coworkers of abusing unconscious patients.
  • Christopher Lambros was arrested on charges of sexual assault.
  • In a class action suit, lawyers allege the hospital allowed Lambros access to patients for 10 years.

A Colorado hospital is facing a class-action lawsuit after police alleged a former nurse recorded himself sexually abusing unconscious patients. 

The Grand Junction Police Department confirmed in a statement emailed to Insider that Christopher Lambros, a 61-year-old former nurse, was arrested on October 25 on three felony counts of sexual assault and was remanded to the Mesa County Detention Facility. 

According to the arrest warrant, his bail was set at $250,000. The police department confirmed Tuesday he remains in custody.

Lambros was caught by another hospital staff member in July in a patient’s room at St. Mary’s Medical Center, according to the arrest warrant, having apparently exposed the genitals of an unconscious woman and taken a picture of himself with his head on her stomach. The staff member reported Lambros to their supervisor, prompting an internal investigation.

The patient, identified in the class-action lawsuit by the initials M.C., was notified of Lambros’ misconduct by the hospital three days later.

Following an investigation, law enforcement indicated Lambros had recorded multiple videos and taken photos of himself with his alleged victims and, according to the arrest warrant, in one video whispered to himself that the recordings were his “Dexter collection,” referring to the TV show about a serial killer who kept trophies from his victims.

Rathod Mohamedbhai LLC, the law firm that represents two victims in the class-action suit, said in a statement that law enforcement “uncovered approximately four terabytes of data originating from Nurse Lambros’s devices, including videos from his cellphone showing Nurse Lambros sucking on the breasts of and digitally penetrating unconscious female patients.”

Four terabytes of data amounts to approximately 700,000 cellphone photos or 65,000 hours of cellphone videos, the law firm’s statement added. The arrest warrant stated at least 168 of the files had been previously deleted from his phone.

In the class-action suit filed by Rathod Mohamedbhai LLC on behalf of two patients, attorney Siddhartha Rathod argues that St. Mary’s Medical Center and the nonprofit organizations that fund it did not sufficiently protect patients from abuse by Lambros and “knew or should have known” of his misconduct — which included allegations of drugging, sexually penetrating, and recording his victims without their knowledge or consent.

St. Mary’s Medical Center had previously been sued in 2018 over similar accusations of a nurse sexually abusing patients. According to The Daily Sentinel, which originally reported on the accusations, the outcome of the earlier suit is unknown.

The accused in the 2018 incident, Adam Stice, pleaded guilty in a separate criminal case to one count of assault and one count of unlawful sexual contact for the incident, and was sentenced to 10 years in prison, The Daily Sentinel reported.

“In 2018, St. Mary’s ratcheted up its surveillance cameras, ratcheted up its monitoring and things like this,” Rathod told Insider, saying that the hospital was clearly aware of the potential for nurses to abuse their patients based on the earlier Stice case. Photographs taken by Lambros were dated as early as 2016, he added.

However, Rathod said, even having cameras in every room and being aware of the risk did not protect patients since Lambros began working at St. Mary’s in 2012.

“Experts are telling us, and it makes common sense, that people like RN Lambros don’t start off videotaping,” Rathod told Insider. “They start off peeping, they then move from peeping to touching over the clothes, to touching under their clothes, to videotaping, and so forth.” 

He added: “None of our clients went to Nurse Lambros for medical treatment the way you might go to your primary care physician and you pick that doctor. They went to St Mary’s for medical treatment and St. Mary’s put RN Lambros in the room with the victims — and they’re the ones who allowed this to happen at least going back to 2016.”

Intermountain Healthcare, the Utah-based nonprofit named in the lawsuit which operates St. Mary’s Medical Center and other medical facilities, said in a statement emailed to Insider that “immediately following” the accusations against Lambros, the hospital placed him on leave and reported the accusations to law enforcement. 

“What this former nurse is accused of is reprehensible and goes against everything we believe and value
at St. Mary’s Medical Center,” Bryan Johnson, president of St. Mary’s Medical Center, said in the statement emailed to Insider, adding that the hospital is cooperating with law enforcement to support the ongoing investigation.

Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth, a Kansas-based religious institute that funds St. Mary’s Medical Center and is named as a defendant in the class-action lawsuit, did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment. 

If you are a survivor of sexual assault, you can call the National Sexual Assault Hotline (1-800-656-4673) or visit its website to receive confidential support.