A woman testified Monday that she was shocked during a 2008 stay at Centennial Hills Hospital Medical Center when a certified nursing assistant opened her hospital gown and exposed her breasts.
“It was all the way open to my waist,” she told jurors.
The woman, now 29, identified the assistant in court as defendant Steven Farmer.
She said Farmer opened her gown during an elevator ride while she was lying in a hospital bed. He told her he needed to remove the patches that were stuck to her chest.
The woman said Farmer’s forearm grazed her breasts while he was removing some of the patches.
“I quickly closed my gown,” she said.
The woman is one of five former patients at Centennial Hills Hospital who claim Farmer victimized them in 2008. She was the first witness to testify at his criminal trial, which is expected to last several weeks.
Two of the former patients accused Farmer, now 61, of sexually assaulting them. One of those women committed suicide last year, and the other was too ill to testify as planned on Monday.
“There’s no way I can put her on the stand today,” Chief Deputy District Attorney Jacqueline Bluth told the judge.
District Judge Carolyn Ellsworth is presiding over the trial, which is scheduled to resume Tuesday morning.
The woman who testified Monday said she was taken to Centennial Hills Hospital on May 15, 2008, after suffering a seizure.
She recalled that Farmer was “very attentive,” and she said she initially considered him a “breath of fresh air.”
The woman said she was confused after the incident on the elevator and did not report it to anyone at the hospital.
“I wasn’t sure what to think of it,” she told jurors.
Farmer was arrested at his Las Vegas residence later that month. The witness said her grandmother called to tell her the news.
“At that point, I just realized I needed to tell somebody something,” she testified.
The woman told her boyfriend, who in turn told her about another incident he had witnessed in her hospital room.
She and her boyfriend were married in 2012, and her husband was the second witness to testify Monday.
The man recalled meeting Farmer, who had a white beard and a jovial personality, at the hospital.
“Most people think he’s Santa Claus,” the man said, recounting his discussion with the nursing assistant.
But he later heard Farmer comment that something was wrong with the electrocardiogram lead wires connected to his girlfriend’s chest. He looked up and saw that his girlfriend’s breasts were exposed.
“I just knew it wasn’t right, and I wanted to cover her up,” the witness said.
His wife testified that she had no recollection of that incident but was alert when the elevator incident occurred.
After the couple discussed their similar stories, they agreed to report the incidents to police.
“It was scary, but I finally decided to do it,” the woman said.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal typically does not identify victims of sex crimes.
Farmer is charged with open and gross lewdness in another criminal case involving a patient at Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital. He is being held at the Clark County Detention Center.
Contact reporter Carri Geer Thevenot at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-384-8710. Follow @CarriGeer on Twitter.