Crime

Mass. General medical assistant facing new sexual assault charges after second patient comes forward

“We don’t know if there are additional victims, but if there are, we hope they come forward to provide information about what happened to them.”

The Massachusetts General Hospital medical assistant accused of raping a patient at a Back Bay health center last week is facing new charges after a second patient came forward to report they’d been sexually assaulted by the hospital worker. 

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Damien Knighton, 39, of East Boston was arraigned Monday in Roxbury District Count on a single count of indecent assault and battery in connection with the second alleged assault, according to the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office. He was released on his own personal recognizance and ordered not to have any contact with the victim or unsupervised access to patients. 

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Knighton was originally arrested Jan. 18 and charged with rape and indecent assault and battery after authorities said a patient at the Commonwealth Avenue health center reported being sexually assaulted that day by Knighton. He pleaded not guilty to those charges and last week was ordered held on $5,000 bail and ordered not to have any contact with the victim or unsupervised access to patients. 

According to the DA’s office, the second patient came forward after seeing news reports about Knighton’s arrest. 

The patient told authorities that on January 12 during a visit at the MGH Back Bay Health Center, he was taken into an exam room where Knighton instructed him to remove his underwear in order to check his skin. Knighton allegedly examined the patient’s genitals and then left the room, according to the Suffolk DA’s office. 

“After seeing his doctor, the patient, now dressed, was approached by Knighton, who asked if the doctor had performed a rectal exam,” the DA’s office said in a statement. “The patient said no. Knighton then led the patient back into an exam room and performed a rectal exam.”

After Knighton’s arrest last week, Massachusetts General Hospital said he’d been placed on administrative leave, pending the investigation into the alleged incident.

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“We have been made aware through news reports of the additional charge,” the hospital said in a statement on Tuesday. “We continue to cooperate fully with Boston Police as they investigate these incidents. As caregivers, we take very seriously the sacred trust placed in us by our patients and incidents such as the ones alleged are intolerable in any setting, especially healthcare.”

Knighton will return to court on Feb. 23 for a pre-trial hearing on the new charge he is facing. 

Suffolk County District Attorney Kevin Hayden is urging any patients who may have been assaulted under similar circumstances to contact the Boston Police Department’s sexual assault unit at 617-343-4400. 

“We’re asking anyone who may now realize that they were victimized in a similar manner by this individual to contact the police,” Hayden said in a statement. “We don’t know if there are additional victims, but if there are, we hope they come forward to provide information about what happened to them.”