SEATTLE – A nursing assistant accused in the recent rape of a paralyzed patient kept his state license for 13 years despite having been fired from hospitals because of sexual harassment.
Lamin Darboe, 39, now in Philadelphia, is charged with raping a 31-year-old woman at Kindred Hospital, a long-term care center where she’d gone after a stroke left her unable to move or speak.
According to charging documents filed in August, Darboe raped the woman twice about a month after she arrived. In one assault, he placed a towel over her face. Unable to scream or fight, she says she could only shake her head “No.”
Darboe faces extradition from Philadelphia to be tried in Seattle. He could not be reached by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer for comment. The man who answered a call Monday to the only “L. Darboe” listed in the Philadelphia directory said he was not Lamin Darboe.
Darboe had been convicted of domestic-violence assault and ordered to stay away from a woman he’d allegedly threatened. He’d been fired for sexually harassing a female patient.
But he remained a certified nursing assistant, licensed by the state Health Department.
He’d been fired by two hospitals when he was hired by Kindred, an 80-bed facility in north Seattle.
“I don’t see how they could not have a sense that he was questionable,” said Louise Ryan, the state’s assistant long-term-care ombudsman, of both the Health Department and Kindred. “It sounds like there’s enough red flags to make a provider think very carefully before hiring someone like that.”
Darboe’s assault conviction didn’t show on background checks because it was dismissed after he completed probation. He didn’t disclose his criminal history when he applied for a health care assistant’s license in 2002.
Darboe moved to Snohomish County in the early 1990s from Gambia, a West African nation where he worked as a bodyguard. He completed 100 hours of training to become a certified nursing assistant.
He worked at a series of rehabilitation centers and was hired by Swedish Medical Center in 1999.
He’d had run-ins with law enforcement. A girlfriend told police he’d punched her, and another woman said he’d threatened her when she rebuffed him. Marysville police arrested him in 2001 for investigation of third-degree rape. He said the sex was consensual and prosecutors declined to charge him. Swedish was unaware of these cases, hospital spokeswoman Melissa Tizon said.
In 2002, according to court records, Darboe sexually harassed two female patients at Swedish, penetrating one while giving her a sponge bath.
Swedish fired him on July 8, 2002, and reported him to the Health Department, but there was no mention of sexual contact because the patient hadn’t complained of any. The hospital’s brief description of Darboe’s behavior called it “inappropriate.”
Background checks were complicated by the fact that Darboe shared his name with three other nursing assistants in Washington at the time. The state didn’t know which man Swedish was referring to and filed the report as “Unknown Nursing Assistant.” So checking Darboe’s license would not disclose his history.
He applied for work at Cascade Valley Hospital in Arlington a month after he was fired from Swedish, records show. Darboe was hired by Cascade in September 2002.
In January 2003, he was arrested after a woman accused him of beating and raping her, according to court documents. While in jail, he called Cascade and said he needed time off to care for a sick relative. Hospital officials learned the truth and fired him.
In 2004, Darboe was hired by Stevens Hospital in Edmonds after a check with Swedish revealed only his dates of employment.
Stevens officials fired Darboe after eight months when he was charged with rape and kidnapping. Darboe was acquitted of the Snohomish County charges in February 2006.
It’s unclear how long he worked at Kindred, although it appears he left and returned sometime between 2003 and July 2006, the newspaper reported.
Cheryl Payseno, the hospital’s chief executive officer, said officials followed normal hiring procedures in checking Darboe’s criminal history and references. She said she didn’t know he’d been fired three times.
In July, a female quadriplegic at Kindred told police, using a spelling board, that Darboe had raped and molested her, according to charging papers filed in King County Superior Court. Prosecutors later charged him with second-degree rape and indecent liberties. The state Health Department revoked his license for 20 years.
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