The investigation into a Grand Junction, Colorado ICU nurse accused of sexually assaulting unconscious patients is now the basis of a class action lawsuit against the healthcare system involved.
The complaint alleges there could be thousands of victims, based on the evidence collected so far.
Two women who say they were victims spoke with CBS Colorado’s Karen Morfitt.
Police say 61-year-old Christopher Lambros would record himself sexually abusing female patients while they were unconscious or incapacitated.
According to court documents, prosecutors have identified three people who they believe were assaulted by Lambros and think a fourth person who has not been identified yet was assaulted in 2016. Lambros began working at the hospital in 2012, according to the lawsuit.
Lambros’ lawyer, Scott Burrill, did not return a call or email seeking comment.
Both women who spoke with Morfitt are raising questions. Neither wanted to be named by CBS Colorado.
“How did this happen?” one of the women asked. “Why… why was it me?” the other asked.
“Something wasn’t right. I told my mother he wasn’t a good man,” one of the women said.
Lambros was arrested in November after, authorities say, a co-worker caught him taking a selfie with a woman who was fully exposed while she was unconscious.
“I have a lot of fear. My emotions are everywhere. I will be in bed, and I’ll just start bawling my eyes out. I just start thinking about stuff, like what he could have done,” one woman told Morfitt.
While the criminal investigation into Lambros is far from over, the class action lawsuit alleges negligence by the hospital.
“There were numerous corporate failures that permitted Lambros to abuse patients and invade their privacy,” Attorney Omeed Azmoudeh asserted.
“The ultimate goal of the complaint is to hold defendants SCL Health, St Mary’s and Intermountain Health accountable for putting this monster in our patients’ rooms,” Azmoudeh said.
The alleged abuse took place at St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction. SCL Health and Intermountain Healthcare are the companies that ran the hospital.
The suit’s complaint points to evidence already collected by police including four terabytes of data related to Lambros’s alleged assaults.
That amounts to 700,000 cell phone photos or nearly 65,000 hours of cell phone video.
“We may never know the full scope of what this guy did to patients at St. Mary’s Hospital. We just may never know,” Azmoudeh said.
In one of the videos described in the complaint, Lambros is allegedly heard saying, “Don’t ever get rid of these videos.” He also says, “You need to keep them forever. … This is your ‘Dexter’ collection.”
That refers to the TV series about a serial killer who collects mementos from his victims.
For the two women speaking out, far more was taken.
They say what happened has changed their lives forever, leaving them scared to even walk into a hospital.
“I have depression. I have anxiety. I’m on meds for both and in therapy,” one said.
They now have each other for support and want anyone else who may have encountered this nurse to know they’re not alone.
“I have another voice and we need to get more voices out there so there will be a whole bunch of us to stand up and do this,” one of the women said.
SCL issued the following statement in response to the lawsuit:
Chris Lambros, a former nurse at St. Mary’s Medical Center, was terminated from employment at St. Mary’s Medical Center immediately following his arrest by the Grand Junction Police Department under suspicion of sexual assault while delivering care at our hospital. The safety of our patients is our highest priority, and we take this matter very seriously. We have zero tolerance for anyone who engages in the abuse or mistreatment of our patients. Immediately following the reported concern, the hospital placed Chris Lambros on administrative leave, removed his access to the hospital and patients, and reported the matter to local law enforcement. While the investigation is ongoing, at this time, the district attorney has charged the former nurse with abusing two patients. “What this former nurse is accused of is reprehensible and goes against everything we believe and value at St. Mary’s Medical Center. Patients put their trust in us and should feel safe in our care. We are working closely with law enforcement to protect our patients from those who intend to cause harm. We are doing everything possible to ensure our patients continue to feel safe and respected while receiving care at St. Mary’s Medical Center,” said Bryan Johnson, President of St. Mary’s Medical Center. St. Mary’s continues to fully cooperate with the Grand Junction Police Department in its ongoing investigation. We cannot offer further details about this matter out of respect for patient privacy. While the Grand Junction Police Department and hospital are contacting known victims directly, we understand that our former patients may have questions or concerns, and we want to offer them support. We have set up a call center to directly connect people with a patient representative so they can get information about their individual care. That phone number is (970) 298-2273. Questions about the criminal investigation should be directed to the Grand Junction Police Department or the 21st Judicial District Attorney’s Office.