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Women Say They Were Raped While Under Anesthesia

October 7, 1994

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) _ A nurse was charged with raping four unconscious women in a hospital recovery room after they had undergone surgery, and 20 more women have come forward to say he may have attacked them, too.

Bruce Alan Young, 45, was arrested Monday after a female nurse allegedly caught him having sex with an unconscious 15-year-old girl. Police said he told them he picked the girl because she was ″helpless and pretty.″

″It’s alarming - we’re still receiving calls,″ Inverness Police Chief Bill Vitt said Friday. ″Some have said they were waking up and they felt this man doing things to them. They were totally helpless to resist.″

One of the alleged victims told the St. Petersburg Times that hospital officials did not take her seriously when she said she had been assaulted in August.

″They would just say I was on anesthesia and he was a medical professional and they would make me feel like I was foolish,″ the 23-year-old woman said. ″But now that he has admitted what he did, I feel I’ve convinced people it wasn’t a dream or a hallucination.″

All of the alleged attacks took place at Citrus Memorial Hospital in Inverness, about 90 miles north of Tampa. Young has been a registered nurse at the hospital since 1990 and worked at three other hospitals in the Tampa Bay area. Police said Friday there was no evidence of attacks at the other three hospitals.

After his arrest, police said, he confessed to raping the 15-year-old and the 23-year-old. On Wednesday, he was charged in two more attacks - in July and last year - after two women, ages 34 and 24, saw his photo in the newspaper and came forward.

At a court hearing Thursday, the short, blond and pudgy defendant shielded his face with a piece of paper as a judge set bail at $80,000.

Some of the 20 other women who have come forward told police they were being assaulted when they awoke. Others merely suspect something happened. Vitt wouldn’t elaborate.

The delay in reporting, Vitt said, may have been a result of the fact that the women were under sedation and weren’t sure what happened.

The four alleged victims all were assaulted on hospital gurneys after abdominal surgery, police said. Young worked the night shift in the recovery room, where patients are taken after surgery until they regain consciousness.

According to police, Young would ask the patient if she could hear him, and if she could, he would administer more medication until she passed out and he could complete the assault.

″On the victim’s medical records he would indicate that he administered the drugs because the patient began to wake up and they asked for something to ease the pain,″ investigator Jack Armstrong told the Times.

Police have complained that Citrus Memorial waited three hours to report the rape Monday night, allowing key evidence - a soiled bedsheet - to be disposed of before officers arrived.

Hospital officials have said only that they are cooperating with police now.

Young worked for a year as a track coach and driver’s education teacher at Countryside High School in Clearwater. Authorities said he lost his job in 1987, and his teaching license the next year, for having sex with a student.

The 23-year-old woman interviewed by the Times said: ″I put my life in the hands of somebody to take care of me and instead he violated me. Now I know I’ve got company in this world and we all shared the same terror.″

Update hourly