PHILADELPHIA -- A Bristol woman has alleged she was sexually assaulted by a man who worked at Jefferson University Hospital, inside a hospital room, while her parents were waiting outside the door. She said she was sexually assaulted in two different hospital rooms on the same day.
"I thought I was in the safest place, you're in a hospital, you think you're in such a safe place and nothing will happen," said Rose Tummarello.
Tummarello, who is 28-years-old, spoke to Action News through tears in her eyes, as she recalled the alleged incident she said happened on January 29, after she had finished a surgery that lasted around nine hours at Jefferson University Hospital.
Charges have been pressed against Rafael Alicea, who has been accused of sexually assaulting Tummarello, who said he assaulted her once in her surgery room and then a second time in her recovery room. She said his job was to transport her from the surgery room to her recovery room.
"The transportation guy came in. He shut all the curtains and decided to take the sheet off of me. Told me he had to fix the heart monitor that I did not have on. And he was groping me and just like kissing on my neck, and then finally he decided, 'Okay let's go to your room,'" said Tummarello.
Tummarello said her parents were outside out of the recovery room when Alicea told them to wait outside. Tummarello said that's when he allegedly sexually assaulted her again.
"He decided to continue what he was doing, he was like just kissing on my neck, and like he started groping me," said Tummarello.
Tummarello said she felt sedated from all the medicine she was on, but thinks it was a couple of minutes before she got the courage to yell for her parents to come in.
"As they were like coming in, he was whispering in my ear, 'Just wait till they leave and we can have more fun,'" recalled Tummarello.
Three days later, when she was released from the hospital, Tummarello said she told her mom about what happened to her.
"It's hard telling your mom like, 'Hey mom I know you were here, but this happened to me and now I have to put the burden on you,'" said Tummarello.
Alicea's attorney told Action News he is no longer working at Jefferson since the allegations. He also said Alicea worked at Jefferson for about a decade.
In a statement sent to Action News, Alicea's attorney said, "Mr. Alicea adamantly asserts his innocence and looks forward to his day in court. He has an outstanding character reputation and has never been accused of any level of misconduct in all his impeccable years of employment at Jefferson or anywhere else," said David Mischak, who is representing Alicea in this case.
Tummarello said she's coming forward now because she believes other women may have experienced a similar situation.
"He's worked there for years, I believe he did it so easily. So I believe that if he would do it to me so nonchalantly, there has to be other women out there that he did this to," said Tummarello.
Jefferson Hospital released a statement to Action News.
"The safety, health and well-being of our patients, employees and students is Jefferson's top priority. When we receive any reports of sexual misconduct, we investigate and take action as quickly as possible. We strongly encourage anyone to contact Campus Security at 215-955-8888 or 215-955-5678 to report an incident of sexual violence," said Brandon Lausch, senior director, news and media relations for Jefferson Health.
A trial has been set for September 26 at the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia.
Woman claims she was sexually assaulted twice inside Philadelphia hospital room while parents were outside
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