Highlands Regional Medical Center: limit media contact in molest - WNCN: News, Weather

Highlands Regional Medical Center: limit media contact in molestation case

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Jesse Maness, 16, admitted he had sex with his 15 year old girlfriend in her Highlands Regional Medical Center ICU bed. Jesse Maness, 16, admitted he had sex with his 15 year old girlfriend in her Highlands Regional Medical Center ICU bed.
HIGHLANDS COUNTY, FL (WFLA) -

Highlands Regional Medical Center and its attorney are upset that 8 On Your Side is asking questions about how a 15-year-old girl was sexually molested in the hospital's intensive care unit and a lawsuit brought against the hospital by the teen's mother.

The attorney, Barbara Flanagan, filed an emergency motion for a protective order to limit contact with the media.

Flanagan's request to a Highlands county circuit court judge came the same day that 8 On Your Side approached her and the hospital's former C-E-O Brian Hess to ask questions about the lawsuit. Hess declined to comment.

"Step aside," Flanagan ordered. "I'm representing the hospital, we have no comment."

Flanagan didn't have much to say to 8 On Your Side, but she a lot to say to a judge later that day. Flanagan wrote in her request for a protective order that as she and Hess exited an elevator they were accosted by a reporter from WFLA-TV News Channel 8.

She added, " The plaintiff and her counsel should be prohibited from inappropriately soliciting further media involvement as there is an immediate danger that it will unfairly prejudice this case.."

The case accuses the hospital and I.C.U. staff at Highlands Regional Medical Center of ignoring the mother's instructions in July of 2012 to not allow the daughter's boyfriend, 16 year old Jesse Maness in to visit.

I.C.U. staff buzzed Maness into the locked unit. The lawsuit accuses Maness of having sex with the heavily medicated and sedated 15 year old Maness later confessed to having sex with the girl in the hospital's I.C.U. He was arrested, prosecuted and sentenced for molestation of a child and lewd and lascivious behavior with a minor.

Even if the teen had allowed Maness to have sex with her, a 15 year old cannot legally consent to sex.

The hospital denied the allegations. Its attorneys argue if the 15 year old did engage in sexual relations they were consensual and the hospital is not liable. Flanagan wrote that the 15 year old and her mother were guilty of negligence.

Neither Hess nor Flanagan offered an explanation when approached.

The judge decided he would hear Flanagan's argument requesting a protective order but determined there is no emergency. The motion which would limit contact with the media by both sides, will be heard May 7th in Sebring.

Copyright 2014 WFLA. All rights reserved.



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