Wichita man who sexually assaulted Via Christi patients this summer is sentenced

Photodisc/Getty Images

A 28-year-old Wichita man who snuck into Ascension Via Christi St. Francis this summer and sexually assaulted three patients was sentenced Thursday to more than 33 years behind bars.

Miguel Rodela had previously pleaded guilty for the June 15 assaults. He was sentenced on one count of rape and two counts each of attempted rape and of battery, according to the Sedgwick County District Attorney’s Office.

He will also have a lifetime of post-release supervision and have to register as a sex offender.

The victims were women between the ages of 47 to 82. One is incapacitated due to an injury, according to Rodela’s arrest affidavit.

Rodela told police after his arrest that he had been drinking and “having sexual fantasies about hospital patients” before he sneaked in and abused the women, his arrest affidavit says. He told police he lied about who he was and ignored legitimate hospital staff to avoid getting caught and “knew what he was doing was wrong and illegal,” the affidavit says.

It happened after he followed an Ascension employee through a hospital door. The assaults happened on multiple levels. He posed as the family member of one victim and helped a certified nurse aid adjust the patient’s body position before being left alone with her, according to a lawsuit by one of the victims.

Another victim woke up to Rodela sexually assaulting her and hit the bed alarm. A nurse came and then left them alone after Rodela said he was a “nurse-in-training” and said he was “addressing a leaking catheter,” even though he was in street clothes, according to the lawsuit.

The other victims filed suits as well.

An Ascension spokesperson said the hospital doesn’t have any comment other than what was reported earlier this year.

“The safety of our patients and associates is of the utmost importance to us which is why, as we have previously shared, we continue to review our security measures and implement new procedures and workplace safety education for all associates as opportunities for improvement are identified,” Ascension said in a statement this summer after the first lawsuit was filed. “Beyond that, we do not comment on pending litigation.”

The victims and “their families were pleased to learn that justice has been served in the criminal aspect of this case,” attorney Matthew Dwyer said in a statement.

Dwyer works for Hutton and Hutton Law Firm, which is representing all three victims in civil lawsuits.

“Our clients are in the midst of a legal action against Ascension Via Christi St. Francis, asserting that the hospital bears responsibility for failing to protect against the harm they suffered and for the institutional failures that allowed such a tragedy to occur,” he said. “Our primary focus is to ensure that the victims and their families receive the justice they deserve, and hope that the necessary changes are implemented to prevent similar incidents in the future.”

Contributing: Amy Renee Leiker of The Eagle