Employee in Duke Hospital assault questions investigation

DURHAM (WTVD) -- Through her attorney, the woman who claims she was sexually assaulted in a bathroom at Duke University Hospital spoke out Tuesday.

During a news conference, attorney Justin Bamberg raised questions about hospital security and how the incident was initially investigated.

Bamberg said a rape kit is part of the investigation, but neither Duke Police, Durham Police, nor hospital administrators have confirmed the employee was sexually assaulted.

The hospital's SANE Team performed a rape kit on the victim, but the results are still pending.

Bamberg released a redacted version of the incident report which states the victim was in the restroom fixing her hair when an unidentified man attacked her.

She claims he grabbed her neck, choked her, and pushed her to the ground. She awoke bleeding with no memory of whether she'd been sexually assaulted, according to the report.

Bamberg said the victim - a newly-engaged 26-year-old mother of a young child who'd just started her job at Duke six months ago - was choked to the point of bursting blood vessels in her eyes. She passed out and awoke with her pants down, according to her attorney.

Through her attorney, the employee is also questioning why more workers weren't immediately notified about the alleged attack.

Bamberg shared an internal memo sent to employees after the incident.

Hospital administrators acknowledged in the memo that there was a communication breakdown, adding that it may have led to erroneous information about the incident.

Click here to read the memo

Duke issued a statement after Tuesday's news conference:

"We have not been informed of any new information related to this event, and the ongoing police investigation remains confidential. Our understanding is that this case continues to be investigated as an "assault by strangulation" consistent with the police report on the incident. While aware of the statements made in the news conference this morning, we will avoid responding in the interest of protecting the confidentiality of the ongoing police investigation. The important thing is to let the investigation continue to be guided by the facts as they develop and hopefully result in the swift apprehension of the perpetrator.

We want to clearly express our profound anguish for what this employee was subjected to, and we will continue to support the employee in every way possible."

Police have yet to make an arrest.

They're looking for a man with a dark complexion standing 5' 5" tall. He was wearing red shorts and a white tank top at the time of the incident, according to the victim.

Bamberg said the assailant was caught on surveillance cameras leaving the front entrance of the hospital.

Bamberg also raised questions about hospital security. He told ABC11 that several employees have contacted him since the incident to complain about security guards that are napping at the front desk during early morning/overnight shifts.

Meanwhile, the victim is still recovering and has not yet decided whether to return to work.

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