DENVER — Attorneys representing sexual assault victims of a Grand Junction nurse filed a class-action lawsuit Tuesday against the hospital and its parent companies that employed him for a decade.
Two of the suspect’s alleged victims are also speaking for the first time, saying they want the hospital to be held accountable.
“I have to see a therapist now. It's like my whole world is upside down, and I'm a victim,” said one of the patients, referred to in the lawsuit by her initials M.C.
Christopher Lambros, 61, was arrested Oct. 25 on suspicion of sexually assaulting multiple patients while working as an intensive care nurse at St. Mary’s Medical Center.
The arrest followed a months-long investigation after a witness said they saw the suspect in an unconscious patient’s room with the curtains drawn in July. The patient was naked above the covers and the suspect appeared to be taking a selfie with her.
According to the lawsuit, M.C. was that patient.
“I was his last victim. And thank God for the nurse that walked in on him,” M.C. said. “She's my guardian angel right now.”
It is believed that the suspect used drugs to either make victims unconscious or used drugs to ensure they would not wake up during the assault, according to the lawsuit.
The suit is filed by Rathod Mohamedbhai LLC against St. Mary’s Medical Center, SCL Health and Intermountain Healthcare. No amount of money was specified in the suit.
While the lawsuit only specifically mentions two victims, it states that anyone who was treated by or was accessible to Lambros during his tenure at St. Mary’s could be a part of the suit.
The lawsuit also alleges that there is a “substantial” number of other victims, estimating the total to be in the “hundreds, if not thousands.”
Per attorneys, the suspect allegedly engaged in this behavior regularly, dating back to at least 2016. They also note law enforcement recovered four terabytes of photos and videos from the suspect’s devices related to drugging and engaging in sex acts with the unknowing victims. Four terabytes would equate to roughly 700,000 photos or 65,000 hours worth of video.
The review of the data is ongoing. Lambros started working at St. Mary’s in 2012.
“The unfortunate thing is that we may never know how many total victims there are. We may never know exactly what he did to each victim,” said Omeed Azmoudeh, an attorney with Rathod Mohamedbhai.
In one of the videos, according to the lawsuit and the arrest affidavit, Lambros can be heard saying into the camera, “Don’t ever get rid of these videos… You need to keep them forever… This is your ‘Dexter’ collection.”
The “Dexter” comment is supposedly related to the TV series about a serial killer who kept mementos from his victims.
“That confirms that nurse Lambros has maintained a very long and large collection of what he believes to be trophies. And what they really are are scars, scars on our patients,” Azmoudeh said.
J.V., a second patient involved in the lawsuit, was in the ICU at St. Mary’s in June. The lawsuit claims she was victimized twice by Lambros on consecutive days. When she awoke from unconsciousness on July 2, she claims she had foggy memories of Lambros’ alleged misconduct.
“I stayed in a coma for life support for eight days,” J.V. said, adding that her mother was told by Lambros not to see her. “So he had eight days where I was alone.”
It also states that J.V. began telling employees that Lambros was a bad man and refused treatment by nurses at the hospital.
“I wouldn't let them give me meds. I wouldn't let them come anywhere near me. And unless my mother was coming in that room, nobody was allowed to step in that room,” she said. “You feel betrayed and you don't want to be around medical staff.”
The lawsuit alleges the employer is liable due to negligence on their part. It says the hospital should have known that an unusually high volume of medication was being used to sedate patients and that Lambros was engaging in this behavior, noting the frequency in which it occurred.
The lawsuit claims Lambros' behavior “likely left numerous patients with physical indications that they had been sexually touched” during care. It also blames the hospital and its parent companies for not implementing protocols to ensure that this behavior could not have happened.
“Our allegation is that if they didn't know, they should have known. And there's a number of reasons why they should have known,” Azmoudeh said, noting that there was a surveillance camera in M.C.’s room.
He added that the hospital has made an “incomplete” effort to contact other potential victims.
St. Mary’s Medical Center released a statement that did not address the class-action lawsuit specifically, but it did say the hospital is cooperating with police and is working to contact victims. They have also set up a call center for concerned patients to get information about their care. Read the hospital’s full statement here.
Lambros is currently being held on a $1 million bond and faces multiple criminal charges. He was terminated by St. Mary’s immediately following his arrest, and his nursing license was revoked by the Colorado State Nursing Board on Nov. 2.