A Utah mother and daughter are suing a Davis County hospital, saying it is partially responsible for a Bountiful doctor drugging and sexually abusing the young girl.
Nathan Ward, an obstetrician-gynecologist who had worked at Lakeview Hospital, has been sentenced to decades behind bars, after he pleaded guilty in 2018 to sexually abusing a girl and then sharing videos of that abuse online.
In a lawsuit filed Tuesday, the victim and her mother allege that Ward had taken drugs from the hospital where he worked and used the drugs to perpetrate the sexual assaults.
The lawsuit alleges that Lakeview Hospital bears some responsibility for the girl's harm because hospital officials allegedly knew that some employees had been involved in illegally obtaining and storing drugs that were meant for patients.
There was a “limited investigation” about the drug thefts, the lawsuit states, but the victim says if hospital officials had done a more thorough review, they would have discovered that Ward had been using the drugs to sexually assault the girl and then posted videos of it on the “dark web” using his work computer.
Ward worked at Lakeview Hospital for 16 years, according to the lawsuit, and allegedly had been taking drugs meant for patients for almost a decade. The victim says in the lawsuit that Ward began sexually abusing her beginning when she was 11 years old, and that continued for six years.
The mother and daughter also accuse the hospital and its parent company, Mountain Star, of failing to report “illicit activities” to the proper authorities and violating industry standards.
Lakeview Hospital officials said in a statement Wednesday that Ward was immediately fired in 2017 after he was accused of the crimes, and the hospital “fully assisted” law enforcement during its investigation.
“We intend to vigorously defend ourselves against this lawsuit,” the statement reads.
The lawsuit alleges that the hospital was negligent, committed fraud by not disclosing illegal activities of its employees and caused the mother and daughter emotional distress.
The Salt Lake Tribune generally does not identify victims of sexual abuse.
The mother and daughter are seeking an unspecified amount in financial compensation, including punitive damages and attorney fees.
Ward was arrested in 2017 after investigators traced three child pornography images that were uploaded in 2016 to a Lakeview Hospital computer. He was at first charged with possessing child porn, and prosecutors later accused him of sexually abusing the girl.
He pleaded guilty to charges in both federal and state court. In 2018, a federal judge sentenced him to nearly 22 years in prison, the strongest sentence that federal guidelines allow.
“This is one of the few cases where I’ve seriously considered a life sentence,” U.S. District Judge Dee Benson said at the time. “I think you deserve one.”
Earlier this year, another judge handed down a 15-year-to-life state prison sentence, ordering that prison term to run back-to-back to his federal conviction.
Ward won’t be eligible for parole for at least 37 years. He’s now 57.