Law & Justice

Hospital Worker Gets 12 Years for Sexually Assaulting Patient

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Richard Smith
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NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ — A man who sexually assaulted two patients—including one at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital—is slated to serve 12 years in prison, according to an announcement from the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office.

Richard Smith, 42, worked as a patient care technician at the New Brunswick hospital when he committed the first offense. He harmed his second victim while working for the University Medical Center of Princeton at Plainsboro, authorities said.

In a plea agreement, Smith admitted that he “digitally penetrated” the victims while “acting” as their patient care technician, according to the prosecutor's office. He pleaded guilty on March 1 to two counts of first-degree aggravated sexual assault.

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State Superior Court Judge Diane Pincus sentenced him on July 21 in New Brunswick to serve 12 years in state prison, under the No Early Release Act. That means Smith must serve 85 percent of the time before he is eligible for parole, authorities said.

What's more, the former medical worker must register as a sex offender under Megan's Law, according to the prosecutor's office. When he is eventually released, he'll be under lifelong parole supervision.

Cops arrested and charged Smith in November 2015, after an investigation by the Plainsboro Police Department and Det. Deon McCall of the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office.

Middlesex County Assistant Prosecutor Falguni Patel struck the plea agreement with Smith.

This is the second big story involving sexual assault in a New Brunswick to break this summer.

Less than two weeks ago, authorities announced the arrest of an emergency room nurse who allegedly sexually assaulted two female patients at Robert Wood Johnson. One was 49 years old, and the other a senior citizen, police alleged.

Wilber Hernandez, 29, is facing several charges stemming from those incidents, which allegedly occurred this June and last October.

Hernandez, who had also worked for Saint Peter's University Hospital, was suspended from his jobs without pay.

Edit: A spokesperson for Robert Wood Johnson, Peter Haigney, has responded to a request for comment from TAPinto New Brunswick. Here's the statement: “We are fully committed to providing a safe environment for our patients, visitors and staff.  Per our policy, we are unable to comment any further on police investigations and on any patient matters.”

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