EAST GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The second woman who says an X-ray technologist at Spectrum Health Blodgett Hospital sexually assaulted her said she “just knew” she wasn’t the only one.
Even so, she said she “kind of fell apart” when she watched Target 8’s report Friday, which confirmed that police believe Francisco Muniz sexually assaulted a patient before her.
“I feel like I was thrown into the lion’s den,” said the 40-year-old, who had gone to Blodgett Hospital’s emergency room on Jan. 30 with a broken tailbone. “(Spectrum Health) knew he was under investigation and brought me to him and left me there alone with him. Furious would be an understatement. This is a nightmare and I just knew I wasn’t the only one.”
The detective investigating both criminal sexual conduct cases, Peter Gruzin of the East Grand Rapids Department of Public Safety, said he was “shocked” to learn that Muniz, 39, was back on the job.
“Last I heard he’d been suspended,” Gruzin told Target 8 Monday morning in the lobby of the police department.
DPS refused to answer specific questions about the cases on camera.
Spectrum Health, which said Muniz no longer works at Blodgett, sent Target 8 a statement Monday afternoon that said, in part, “We will take this opportunity to strengthen our practices and ensure that our patients are safe in our care.”
“We are deeply saddened to hear of the allegations made against a former Spectrum Health radiology employee and his arrest. The care and safety of our patients is of great importance to Spectrum Health,” the hospital also stated.
Muniz was released on bond, but faces two counts of felony CSC for the two alleged assaults.
The first happened July 22, 2018, when Muniz, who lives in Greenville, allegedly penetrated a patient with his finger while X-raying her in a room at Blodgett Hospital.
“The victim alleges that Francisco (Muniz) put his hand under her patient gown and into her underwear,” Detective Gruzin wrote in an affidavit of probable cause filed in 63rd District Court. “It was reported at this point that (Muniz) put his finger(s) inside the victim’s vagina, stating ‘this would help with victim’s pain.’”
Six months later, another patient reported Muniz had sexually assaulted her. It was that second alleged victim who reached out to Target 8.
“I want to know WHY the hospital allowed him to continue working after the first lady reported him. I am the second victim,” said the woman, who 24 Hour News 8 is not identifying.
She explained that when she showed up at the ER, the hospital ordered X-rays of her injured tailbone. Someone directed her to a room and left.
“So it was just me and the X-ray tech Mr. Muniz. He had me lay on the X-ray table on my left side and said, ‘I’m going to have touch you.’ He motioned his hand pointing up at the light/camera thing like saying maybe he had to line it up or something,” the alleged victim wrote in a Messenger exchange with Target 8. “He touched my right hip., then went and took the Xray.”
When he came back, she said he told her to lay on her back for the next X-ray.
“I did and he said he would have to touch me again. I said, ‘ok.’ And that time he put his hand on my vagina. I did have a gown on so it was over the gown,” she wrote. “He did it 4 times, and the last time used 2 hands.”
In the court documents, Gruzin wrote (Muniz) had “cupped (the victim’s) vagina over her patient gown… on four occasions.”
The patient told Target 8 she was “confused” but trusted Muniz was telling the truth when he said he had to touch her.
“I wanted to ask someone there (at the hospital) but I chickened out thinking they would think I was crazy or something so I waited for my follow up appointment with my primary doctor and asked him if that was normal and that’s when I was told he had no business putting his hands on me,” she wrote.
East Grand Rapids police said the first alleged assault was still under active investigation five months after the incident when the second assault was alleged to have happened. Police said it’s not unusual for some cases to take longer to develop than others.
It wasn’t until November or December that Gruzin forwarded results of the first investigation to the Kent County Prosecutor’s Office for a potential criminal charge. Gruzin said the prosecutor’s office asked for additional follow up — also not uncommon — which he was doing when the second victim contacted police.
“Because of your story I learned that I’m not the only one and it’s the hospital’s fault that I was left alone with someone capable of doing such things,” wrote the second patient.
“Because of their failure to protect me I am looking for a lawyer. I want to make sure that they listen to their patients and never let this happen again. To be 100% honest, I want who ever decided to let him stay there working with patients fired. It’s their fault I was victimized.”
Spectrum’s full statement:
“We are deeply saddened to hear of the allegations made against a former Spectrum Health radiology employee and his arrest. The care and safety of our patients is of great importance to Spectrum Health. Patients should feel safe when under the care of their health care provider. We will take this opportunity to strengthen our practices and ensure that our patients are safe in our care. We are fully cooperating with law enforcement and will do whatever we can to support the legal process. With this being a criminal and emerging matter, we will not be commenting further at this time.”