A lawsuit has been settled for $3 million dollars. This is the largest settlement of its kind and was approved Thursday by the U.S. District Court for Eastern Washington. The lawsuit is in connection with the rape of a developmentally disabled female resident at a Washington state psychiatric hospital by another patient. Washington State has agreed to pay the settlement in connection with the incident which occurred at the Eastern State Hospital in Medical Lake in 2008. The lawsuit claims that officials of the institution had violated the woman’s civil rights by permitting a patient who had a history of criminal behavior and violence “to roam free” on the grounds.
Jess Jamieson, the Director of State Hospitals, states that “We try our best to ensure that our vulnerable patients are kept safe.” The agency noted that the patients who live in state psychiatric hospitals do not have locked rooms.
The Department of Social and Health Services has said that they feel the amount of the settlement is fair compensation to the rape victim. The settlement allows the DSHS to avoid a public trial involving potential civil rights violations.
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