A St. Francis Hospital nurse with a history of sexual assault complaints has been charged with second-degree rape after allegedly molesting a female patient.
Konstantin Kurkov allegedly assaulted a 20-year-old woman on March 16 while she was at St. Francis in Federal Way for treatment of back pain. St. Francis officials have confirmed that Kurkov had been accused twice prior to this incident of inappropriate contact with patients.
The hospital has since terminated Kurkov, and the situation is being investigated by state officials who oversee nursing licenses. He is free on a $100,000 bond.
St. Francis spokesman Gale Robinette said that the two prior allegations against Kurkov were investigated — one by police and by the hospital, the second by just an internal hospital investigation — and no evidence was found to either terminate the nurse, or for police to make an arrest.
“We were aware of two other patients who made allegations (against Kurkov),” Robinette said. “In each of those cases, we conducted a thorough internal investigation and fully cooperated with police. No charges were filed in either case.”
Robinette would not give specific dates regarding the other two allegations, but said that they occurred within “the last few months.”
Senior Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Charles Sergis was more specific. He wrote in a charging document, “this is the third allegation of sexual assault against the defendant in less than six months. All of the allegations come from patients at the hospital where the defendant works. This defendant is clearly using his position of authority to commit sexual assaults against patients, who have trusted him with their care.”
Kurkov had worked at the hospital since June 2008, Robinette said. According to a 2008 press release from the Foundation of the National Student Nurses’ Association, Kurkov received a scholarship while attending Gonzaga University.
Robinette said that Kurkov was placed on administrative leave following his two prior assault allegations. After one incident, police were called in to investigate — Robinette would not specify which police department, saying it would be “inappropriate to get into that type of detail” — and that the hospital on its own investigated the second complaint. The woman involved in the second complaint, Robinette said, declined to talk to police.
“We take these allegations seriously,” he said. “We always, always, always take appropriate action. We’ve done that in every case, including this one.”
According to charging documents, Kurkov allegedly assaulted the patient after she came to the emergency room complaining of back pain.
The assault allegedly took place while the patient and Kurkov were alone in an examination room. Kurkov reported to the woman that blood and urine samples had found nothing irregular, and recommended the woman see a chiropractor. The patient told Kurkov that she could not afford to, and he allegedly offered to take a look at her back.
“He asked her to stand next to the bed and bend over and touch her toes. She bent over and felt ‘weird’ because the entire back of her gown was open to his view,” reads the probable cause affidavit.
The document goes on to explain that after inspecting the patient’s back, Kurkov allegedly asked to check her stomach. Kurkov allegedly then inserted his fingers into the patient’s vagina — wearing no gloves. The document says that Kurkov did this “for some time,” stopping at one point to get the patient’s discharge paperwork. When Kurkov returned, he allegedly told the patient that he needed to continue to check her vagina, at which point she told him, “No, I will go see my regular doctor.”
The patient complained to the hospital, including to Kurkov’s bosses, who identified Kurkov as the nurse by sending the patient his photo.
Robinette said that, in addition to firing Kurkov, St. Francis made a complaint against his nursing license. The state Department of Health confirmed that it had received the complaint, and the Nursing Commission had, as of Friday, opened a “priority investigation” into the matter.
Kurkov will be arraigned in King County Superior Court on April 14.