Police: Man assaulted Iowa hospital patients before he died

OTTUMWA, Iowa (AP) — A male nurse practitioner who died of a drug overdose at a private hospital in Iowa sexually assaulted at least nine female patients while they were sedated or unconscious, hospital and police officials said.

The assaults at the Ottumwa Regional Health Center were discovered during investigations into the death of 27-year-old Devin Michael Caraccio, of Centerville, who worked at the hospital, The Ottumwa Courier reported.

An autopsy found Caraccio had died of an accidental overdose at the hospital on Oct. 15, 2022, police said.

During separate investigations into his death, police and the hospital found videos and photographs on Caraccio’s personal cellphone that showed him sexually assaulting the patients in 2021 and 2022, Ottumwa police and a hospital spokeswoman said in statements released Tuesday.

Ottumwa Police Lt. Jason Bell said five of the nine victims have been identified and investigators were trying to identify the others.

The assaults occurred while patients were sedated or unconscious. Police believe Caraccio acted alone.

“There are no words to describe how shocked and horrified we are by Mr. Caraccio’s actions,” said Cara Clouse, the human resources director at the hospital. “Our hearts go out to all of those affected by these heinous acts.”

Clouse said the hospital has made several changes to its internal controls and security measures and will work to ensure a safe environment for patients, providers and employees.

“The actions of one person are not reflective of the care and compassion of our staff, and we are committed to supporting and advancing the critical work they do on behalf of this community and patients every day,” Clouse said.

Clouse did not return messages Wednesday seeking comment on whether any of the victims have filed lawsuits against the hospital.

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