Sex assault lawsuit
filed against local hospital
Imagine that you have been voluntarily
admitted to the hospital to recover from
an illness or injury and another patient
sexually attacks you while you are trying
According to a patients complaint
(name withheld), that is exactly what
happened to her after being
admitted to Holy Family Hospital in
Methuen. As a result, the patient
has filed a lawsuit in Essex County
Superior Court seeking over half a
million dollars against Holy Family
Hospital, Inc., Caritas Valley regional
Support Services, Inc., Joseph Minick,
M.D., and Humberto Gomez.
According to the complaint, the patient
was being cared for at the St. Michaels
Unit of the Center for Behavioral
Medi-cine at Holy Family Hospital between
April 30, 2002 through May 3, 2002.
During that time, Humberto Gomez was
admitted to the St. Michaels Unit
for treatment of psychiatric and mental
disorders and illnesses. During the
plaintiffs stay at the facility,
Humberto Gomez allegedly entered her room
without permission, verbally and
physically harassed her and on May 3,
2002, physically and sexually assaulted
her while she was sleeping.
Humberto Gomez was arrested on May 3,
2002 by the Methuen police and charged
with rape and indecent assault and
battery on a person 14 or over. Gomez
pled guilty and has since served jail
time for this crime. He is now a
registered sex offender.
At the time of this incident, Dr. Joseph
Minick was the Medical Director of the
St. Michaels Unit of the Center for
According to the complaint, Dr.
Minick represented and held himself out
to be skilled in the care, treatment, and
counseling of various conditions of
mental and emotional health, and in
providing a safe and secure environment
to those patients of the facility.
The complaint further alleges that the
womans injuries were the result of
the carelessness, unskillfulness,
(sic) negligence and improper care by Dr.
Minick and Holy Family Hospital in
failing to ensure, or take responsible
steps to ensure adequate and proper
supervision and monitoring of other
psychiatric patients in the unit.
The complaint further claims that Dr.
Minick, in his role as Medical Director,
failed to provide appropriate
supervision, management or monitoring of
patients in the psychiatric unit,
especially those patients with the
psychiatric histories for aggression,
assault, psychosis, battery and sexual
Dr. Minick is no longer employed by Holy
Family Hospital and is presently an
assistant clinical professor at the
University of California, San Diego,
Department of Psychiatry. He is
represented by Attorney Robert Burgess of
The Holy Family Hospital and Caritas
Valley Regional Support Services are
represented by Attorney Wilson Rogers Jr.
of The Rogers Law Firm in Boston. The
Rogers Law Firm has represented the
Archdiocese of Boston during the sex
abuse scandals. The woman who filed the
suit is being represented by Attorney
David J. Hoey of North Reading, MA.
So far, the Court has ordered the release
of medical records of Humberto Gomez from
Holy Family Hospital and Lawrence General
Hospital and allowed a motion to compel
Dr. Ricardo Dancel to be deposed
(questioned on the record).
Dr. Dancel is affiliated with Balpate
Hospital in Boxford. Shortly after this
incident, his privileges at Holy Family
Hospital were revoked.
On February 1, 2006, the Massachusetts
Board of Registration in Medicine took
disciplinary action against Dr. Dancel
finding that he engaged in inappropriate
behavior with a co-worker and ordered
that he attend sexual harassment
To date, Dr. Dancel is not a party to
this lawsuit, but sources close to the
case say that Dr. Dancel was Gomez
A pre-trial hearing on this case is
scheduled for March 13, 2008.
The Valley Patriot will be following this
case and will report on any the result of
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