Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Suspect in hospital indecent liberties case arraigned

Managing Editor | July 3, 2024 1:15 AM

EPHRATA — A former Samaritan Hospital employee, Mitchell Dee Jones, was arraigned in Grant County Superior Court on Tuesday morning facing two charges of indecent liberties with someone who was unable to consent. Jones entered not-guilty pleas for both charges.

Jones, 37, allegedly had inappropriate sexual contact with a patient for whom he was supposed to be performing an exam. The patient was reportedly in and out of consciousness and was not able to consent. Witnesses reported Jones moving a camera in the exam room and behaving suspiciously, according to court documents. When the camera was reoriented toward the patient remotely, witnesses said they saw Jones assault the patient multiple times.

Jones was arrested June 24 after Samaritan Hospital staff reported the incident and Moses Lake Police Department officers arrived. Jones was reportedly attempting to leave the hospital and was intercepted by law enforcement upon their arrival. 

According to court documents, each charge Jones faces has a maximum penalty of 10 years’ imprisonment and/or a $20,000 fine. The omnibus hearing — a court appointment wherein the defendant and his counsel indicate whether they would like to go to trial, settle the case by changing the plea or pleadings to guilty or ask for additional time to work on the case — is set for July 23. A readiness hearing is set for Aug. 19 with a trial date of Aug. 21. Those dates may change as the case progresses.

Jones remains in custody at the Grant County Jail. A public defender has been assigned to the case.

Samaritan Chief Development and Communication Officer Gretchen Youngren said the hospital continues to cooperate fully with the investigation, but cannot comment further at this time.

The victim in the situation is not being identified out of respect for her privacy.