Jury awards $13M to former patients of psychiatric facility

VENTURA, Calif. (AP) — A jury has awarded more than $13 million to three women, finding they were harmed and did not consent to sexual contact by an employee of a California psychiatric facility.

The Ventura County Star reports the jury found Monday that the Aurora Vista del Mar Hospital in Ventura, its parent company Signature Healthcare Services and former employee Juan Valencia all bear responsibility.

The three women said the sexual contact occurred in 2013 while they patients of the facility.

Lawyers for the hospital had argued the contact was consensual.

Defense lawyer Tom Beach says he doesn’t know yet if he will file an appeal but every option will be considered.

Valencia has pleaded guilty to three criminal charges for sexual contact with patients.

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Information from: Ventura County Star, http://venturacountystar.com

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