Sex assault survivor faces ex-hospital worker at sentencing

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A former worker of Spectrum Health Blodgett Hospital is going to prison for sexually assaulting several patients.

A Grand Rapids judge Wednesday sentenced 40-year-old Francisco Muniz to 21 months to 15 years in prison for third-degree and fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct — a punishment beyond the recommended sentence in his plea deal.

Before learning his punishment, the former X-ray technologist heard from one of the women he sexually assaulted.

“This sick and disgusting individual who took advantage of women in their weakest hour needs to be held accountable for what he’s done,” said Jennifer Smith-Bell.

She was one of four patients who came forward, saying Muniz sexually touched her as he prepared to x-ray her at Blodgett Hospital’s emergency room in January.

“This isn’t some regular guy on the street. This is someone who put on a Spectrum Health name tag and went to work violating patients who came there for help in emergency situations,” Smith-Bell said.

She didn’t know then that Muniz was already under police investigation for allegedly sexually assaulting another patient six months earlier — a case Spectrum Health was aware of.

“I came to Blodgett asking for help and someone who was already under investigation for sexual assault was allowed to be alone with me,” she said.

“Absolutely there are several disturbing questions that have been raised,” said James Sterkens, who represented one of the patients.

In a statement, Spectrum Health said it’s taken steps to improve safety by formalizing patient access to chaperones — a service Spectrum Health says it’s always offered. The health system also says it also developed a training program with the YWCA to help leaders identify and know how to handle sexual misconduct.

read more at 24 hour news 8.

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