Former patient says hospital supervisor downplayed assault by nurse aide

A former patient at Centennial Hills Hospital Medical Center told jurors on Tuesday that she tried to take pictures with her cellphone in 2008 while a certified nursing assistant sexually assaulted her.

“I’m scared. I’m just terrified,” the woman testified. “I didn’t know whether to scream or holler. I couldn’t reach the call button because it was behind me.”

The witness pointed to defendant Steven Farmer in court on Tuesday and identified him as the man who assaulted her.

“He’s telling me that he wants to relax me and that it’s procedure,” the woman testified.

Farmer, 61, is accused of victimizing five female patients at the hospital in 2008. Two of the women reported that Farmer sexually assaulted them.

The former patient who testified Tuesday was 34 when she was taken to Centennial Hills Hospital after suffering a seizure on May 15, 2008.

She said she first encountered Farmer in the emergency room.

“He was great in the ER,” she said. “He was always there.”

At one point, she asked for Farmer’s personal information so she could write a letter of recommendation for him.

“It was a new hospital, and I was pretty impressed that every time I needed something that he was there,” the woman testified.

When she was formally admitted to the hospital, it was Farmer who moved her to her room. But his demeanor changed on the elevator ride, the witness said, and she recalled him telling her she should be tired because of the medication she was given.

“He just kept saying over and over that I should be sleeping,” the woman said.

In the elevator, Farmer began adjusting the blankets on her bed. Twice, she said, he rubbed her inner thigh.

She recalled trying to tuck a blanket under her leg, but Farmer discouraged her from doing so.

The woman said Farmer’s behavior was frightening her, and she was fighting to stay awake.

“His whole look changed, so I got really scared,” she said.

Once in the hospital room, the woman said, Farmer again began adjusting her blankets. She said he then reached under the blankets and sexually assaulted her with his fingers.

“He’s telling me that he wants to relax me and that it’s procedure,” the witness testified.

She said the assault was painful, and she “kept telling him to stop.”

The woman said Farmer then began squeezing her breasts under her hospital gown and telling her she was beautiful.

After that, she told the jury, he began performing oral sex on her. At that point, she started trying to take pictures with her phone.

“From my understanding, they didn’t come out,” the woman said.

She said she did not yell for help because she was afraid Farmer was going to kill her. After he left the room, she fell asleep.

When she woke up, she called her husband and asked him to come to the hospital.

“I told him something bad happened to me,” the woman testified.

She began to cry as she talked about the difficulty of making that call.

“He was my husband,” she said. “How do you tell your husband that another man touched you?”

When a female nurse entered her room, she testified, she asked to speak to the nurse’s supervisor. She said Farmer, who had returned to the room, “glared” at her before quickly leaving.

The witness said she told the supervisor what had happened.

“I felt like she didn’t take me seriously,” the former patient said.

She and her husband contacted police, and Farmer was arrested.

The woman later filed a lawsuit against the hospital, and the parties reached a confidential settlement in September.

During his opening statement to the jury on Friday, Deputy Public Defender Ryan Bashor said the case was about money and the media.

On cross-examination Tuesday, the woman was asked about several calls made from her cellphone to KLAS-TV, Channel 8, in the days after the assault. She denied calling news media and said, “It could have been my husband.”

The witness also was asked about the settlement and her previous financial difficulties.

Chief Deputy District Attorney Jacqueline Bluth later asked the woman, “Did you make this up because you wanted money?”

“No,” the woman replied.

Another woman who accused Farmer of sexually assaulting her committed suicide last year. Prosecutors plan to play a videotape of her testimony to the jury.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal typically does not publish the names of sexual assault victims.

Contact reporter Carri Geer Thevenot at cgeer@reviewjournal.com or 702-384-8710. Follow @CarriGeer on Twitter.

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