Facility Must Admit or Deny Whether It Knew Alleged Rapist of Fellow Patient Was a Registered Sex Offender, Court Rules

August 19, 2020 | Strategic Insights for Health System


In a case stemming from a patient's alleged rape and assault by a fellow patient in a behavioral health facility, the Pennsylvania Superior Court held that the behavioral health facility must admit or deny whether it knew that the accused assailant was a registered sex offender. Neither the state's Mental Health Procedures Act nor psychiatrist-patient privilege shielded this information, the court opined.

The plaintiff alleged that she was raped and assaulted by a fellow patient while receiving inpatient addiction treatment at the defendants' facility. She filed a personal injury action against the facility and the behavioral health system. The nonparty patient whom the plaintiff alleged raped and assaulted her is a registered sex offender, and has a previous rape conviction. The plaintiff alleged that the defendants knew, or should have known, this information about the...

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