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Two lawsuits claim hospitals never warned state about nurse

A Richfield man who was already a registered sex offender when he sexually assaulted two girls, ages 13 and 16, has been handed a heavy prison sentence. Stock image

SALT LAKE CITY — A woman who says she was one of 12 patients sexually assaulted by a former nurse is suing two health care centers accusing them of not warning other centers of the man.

Adam Tae Kyun Lim, 54, of Herriman, was charged in 2016 with two counts of object rape, a first-degree felony, and two counts of forcible sexual abuse, a second-degree felony.

He is accused of sexually abusing two women while working as a registered nurse. The first allegedly occurred in 2009 while Lim was working at St. Mark's Hospital. He assaulted a woman being treated for Crohn's disease by inappropriately touching her under the guise of checking her catheter, according to charging documents.

In 2014, a woman who had her leg amputated at Intermountain Medical Center said she was the victim of object rape by Lim who claimed to be checking her catheter, according to the charges.

A seven-day jury trial is scheduled to begin June 6 in those cases.

Soon after the charges were filed, the Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing issued an emergency order against Lim and suspended his license. The division report listed 12 women dating back to 2006 who claimed they were inappropriately touched or sexually assaulted by Lim. The emergency order states that Lim has shown a pattern of "approaching female patients alone in their rooms late at night after they had been sedated or were under the influence of mind-altering substances."

Licensing officials concluded that Lim "poses an immediate and significant danger to the public health, safety and welfare" and "may continue to be an imminent and significant danger to the public," the report says.

Last week, the woman who was allegedly assaulted in 2014 filed a lawsuit against Lim's previous employers, St. Mark's Hospital and Holladay Healthcare Center, for allegedly failing to warn other health care facilities about Lim, paving the way for him to be hired by Intermountain and continue abusing patients, the lawsuit states.

"St. Mark's and Holladay did not report Lim to authorities as required by law. Before hiring Lim, IHC performed background checks on Lim. The background checks included checking with authorities. Said background checks did not reveal Lim's prior molestations because St. Mark's and Holladay had not reported Lim. IHC also spoke to multiple representatives at St. Mark's and Holladay about Lim's work history. St. Mark's and Holladay recommended that IHC employ Lim," according to the lawsuit. "St. Mark's and Holladay denied that Lim had any significant problems as an employee. … IHC would not have hired Lim if it had known he molested patients in the past."

The lawsuit comes as attorneys in a second lawsuit prepare to deliver oral arguments in court on Tuesday.

A woman who claimed Lim gave her champagne while she was on pain medication and then sexually assaulted her on New Year's Eve 2015 filed a lawsuit against Intermountain Medical Center and IHC Health Services. That portion of the lawsuit was settled in November for an unspecified amount.

But the woman then filed an amended complaint, claiming St. Mark's Hospital and Holladay Healthcare Center should have warned Intermountain Healthcare and other health care facilities. Eight women were allegedly assaulted between 2006 and 2011.

"Holladay Healthcare was aware the patients had complained of Lim's inappropriate behavior," but never informed the state, the lawsuit contends.

Likewise, Lim was fired from St. Mark's but administrators also never informed the Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing of his conduct, according to the lawsuit.

Attorneys for the hospitals were scheduled to make arguments in court on Tuesday to have the lawsuits dismissed.

In a prepared statement on Monday, a spokeswoman for Holladay Healthcare said the facility was unable to comment on anything related to Lim's employment or matters related to his tenure.

"However, Holladay Healthcare categorically denies any acts of wrongdoing, as alleged or at all. Holladay is committed to ensuring that those employed by it have the credentials, experience and skills appropriate to their position, and have not engaged in conduct which would in any way conflict with their ability to participate in the delivery of health care. The facility would neither retain as its employee nor recommend for employment any individual that it knew or suspected was involved in the kind of improper activity which has been alleged in the lawsuits," the statement says.

A representative for St. Mark's Hospital did not immediately return a call for comment.