LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A cancer patient who reported she was sexually assaulted by a nurse at Sunrise Hospital & Medical Center in Las Vegas told police the 31-year-old man touched her breast and performed a sexual act in her presence.
Katherine Burnett, 54, said she woke up to Ricardo Mederos on top of her. She was sedated at the time.
“This wasn’t a dream. I woke up,” Burnett said. “Most people aren’t able to wake up or aren’t aware of what’s going on around them.”
Burnett, who has been battling breast cancer since 2012, said she was able to use a napkin left behind from a meal to save some evidence.
“We know what happened to my client,” Burnett’s attorney, Matthew Hoffmann, said. “What we don’t know is if there were prior incidents.”
Mederos, 31, was arraigned last Thursday on two counts of coercion with force or threat of force and two counts of open or gross lewdness. He is a licensed registered nurse with the Nevada State Board of Nursing, records show. He has no prior disciplinary record with the board and no criminal history.
During the arraignment, Judge Joe Bonaventure said police believe there may be additional victims. Mederos is also under investigation for an incident from 2019, Bonaventure said in court. It was unclear if the incident happened at Sunrise.
“We have taken immediate steps to support and protect our patient, and the employee has been suspended pending the results of the investigation,” Dan McFadden, a spokesman for the hospital, said last week. “When made aware of the alleged incident, we immediately notified law enforcement, and we are assisting with their investigation. As a community dedicated to healing, we are heartbroken that something like this could happen.”
Bonaventure set bail at $3,000 and said Mederos could not practice as a nurse until a further court hearing. A Metro spokesperson confirmed Mederos was released on house arrest. He was due in court again Wednesday.
“People need to know that these things are happening in these hospitals, and women need to share it,” Burnett said. “Women need to speak up and fight against it.”
Tips can be left anonymously by contacting CrimeStoppers at 702-385-5555. Detectives in the case can be reached directly at 702-828-3421.