HAMLET — A janitor at Sandhills Regional Medical Center is accused of having sex with one female patient and engaging in sex acts with another in the hospital’s psychiatric ward.
Thadus Gerome Primus, 44, of 116 Bryson Drive, Hamlet, was arrested Saturday on charges relating to the alleged sexual abuse. Sandhills Regional Medical Center said Primus is a contract worker and was not employed by the Hamlet hospital.
“We have advised the contractor that the individual in question should not return to our facility under any circumstances,” hospital administrators said in a Monday afternoon statement. “Additionally, because Sandhills Regional maintains a zero-tolerance policy for any action that could endanger the physical or emotional well-being of a patient, we have also undertaken a rigorous internal review.”
Both patients told police that Primus committed the assaults during their time in the hospital. The first victim filed a police report after she was discharged from the facility, interim Hamlet Police Chief Rodney Tucker said.
Police began investigating the allegation when the second patient reported sexual abuse at Primus’s hands while she was still admitted to Sandhills Regional, according to Tucker.
“Immediately upon learning of the alleged incident this weekend, we notified the Hamlet City Police Department and provided both medical and emotional assistance to the patient,”the statement said, referring to the woman who was still admitted. “The police have subsequently notified us of a second alleged assault.”
Arrest warrants state that Primus had sexual intercourse and engaged in a sex act with a woman in the hospital’s custody on Saturday. He also is accused of engaging in sexual acts with the other patient on July 21 and July 22.
Hamlet police charged Primus with three counts of sexual offense by a custodian, a charge that Tucker said would apply to any hospital employee or agent while patients are in Sandhills Regional’s custody.
The charge is a Class E felony with each count carrying a presumptive sentence of about 2 years in prison for a convict with no prior criminal record. State law notes that a defendant can be found guilty of the charge even if an accuser gave consent because a position of trust is involved.
“The care, comfort and safety of our patients is the priority of everyone associated with Sandhills Regional Medical Center,” hospital officials said in the statement. “We were deeply concerned to learn of the alleged assault of two patients in our care and were even more troubled to learn the allegations involved a contracted employee working in our facility.”
Primus was booked into the Richmond County Detention Center at 7:51 p.m. Saturday. Jail records show he was released at 10:53 p.m. the same night on a $20,000 secured bond.
Reach Editor Corey Friedman at 910-817-2670 and follow him on Twitter @RCDailyJournal.