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Teen charged in girl's sex assault in psychiatric clinic

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By Margaret Harding
Saturday, March 16, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
 

Pittsburgh police filed charges on Friday against a boy, 14, accused of sexually assaulting a girl who was a fellow patient in an Oakland psychiatric facility.

Police charged the boy as a juvenile with two counts of indecent assault and one count of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, acting Cmdr. Kevin Kraus said. He would not identify the boy, who will remain in Western Psychiatric Institute & Clinic until staffers release him.

"It's like somebody being treated for physical injuries," Kraus said. "Once he's cleared to be released, we'll take him. We're not going to go in with a warrant and take this kid out of treatment."

Surveillance video shows the teenager forced the girl to perform a sex act while they were alone March 8 in a sixth-floor playroom, Kraus said. The floor treats adolescent patients.

"They have periods during the day (when) they're integrated for socialization," Kraus said. "This was one of those periods."

The door to the playroom is supposed to be kept open, but a worker noticed it was closed, looked inside and found the victim with her pants down near the boy, Kraus said. The girl told another employee that the boy had sexually assaulted her, and staffers called her mother. Employees did not call police, who were notified of the assault when the girl's mother took her to Children's Hospital in Lawrenceville, Kraus said.

The facility has added an extra nurse to the floor since the incident, employee union Executive Vice President Zach Zobrist said.

"Nurses there have raised the need for increased staffing on the floor," Zobrist said. "Staffing has a direct link to both patient and employee safety. This is a clear example of what can happen when there is not enough staff to adequately surveil the unit."

UPMC spokeswoman Gloria Kreps said Saturday that at the time of the incident, 4 staff members were caring for 7 patients.

The unit can accommodate 32 patients. Staffing, at a minimum, is always 12 caregivers, Kreps said, but can be adjusted based on patient needs.

Margaret Harding is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-380-8519 or mharding@tribweb.com.

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