Authorities investigate 2nd report of sexual assault at Western Psych



PITTSBURGH - Authorities are investigating a second assault accusation at the Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic in the past few weeks.

According to police, a mother said her 7-year-old son was sexually assaulted by another patient Friday, but she wasn’t made aware of the incident until Monday.

“He said a kid touched (my son) inappropriately and that they have it on video,” the mother said. “I said, ‘Why am I not finding out about this until now?’ He told me he couldn’t exactly answer that.”

Detectives in the sex assault and family crisis squad are investigating the incident.

“You never think about taking your kid to a hospital for him having mental problems and finding out something bad happened to him. You think he’s going to be safe,” the mother said.

The woman told Channel 11’s Renee Kaminski that she wants to make sure other parents know about what happened to her son.

“They didn’t tell me how old the kid was. I know he touched my son’s private area. I don’t know anything about the kid – only that he can’t talk and is on the autistic floor,” the mother said.

Less than two weeks ago an 8-year-old patient was reportedly sexually assaulted by a 14-year-old patient at the same Oakland facility. Investigators said both alleged incidents happened on the sixth floor.

UPMC released the following statement Tuesday: “Mental health providers are restricted by privacy laws from disclosing any details of a patient's diagnosis, behavior or treatment, except with certain clinicians, parents/guardians, and child protection agencies.

“We take any allegation of harm very seriously, with safety at the forefront of care for our patients.

“Hypothetically, some children requiring inpatient treatment misunderstand the boundaries of appropriate physical conduct and may be impulsive.

“In instances where there is suspicion of physical, sexual or emotional harm, we immediately remove the patient(s) from the situation and notify the child's parent or guardian, unless we suspect that the parent or guardian is involved in the alleged abuse.

“We immediately file a ChildLine report with Allegheny County Department of Human Services for investigation. Involvement of police is on a case by case basis.

“We conduct an internal investigation, during which the patient (s) is interviewed by a physician to validate the veracity of any allegation.

"The mother of the boy was informed, within 2 1/2 hours of us learning of the alleged incident."

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