This article was originally published on GoErie by Madeleine O’Neill on February 21, 2017.
An Erie man was sentenced to state prison Tuesday on charges that he sexually assaulted a teenage patient while he was a Millcreek Community Hospital employee.
Millcreek Township police said the defendant, Richard O. Clark, 38, was employed in the hospital’s behavioral care unit when he sexually assaulted a 15-year-old female patient in the unit between Feb. 10 and March 9, 2015. The girl became pregnant and had a child as a result of the assault, police said.
Clark pleaded guilty in November to a second-degree felony count of statutory sexual assault and to a third-degree felony count of corruption of minors.
His lawyer, Anthony Logue, said Clark had been employed as a behavioral health technician at the hospital.
Erie County Judge William R. Cunningham sentenced Clark to two years and four months to four years and eight months in state prison, followed by seven years of probation. The sentence is in the standard range of state guidelines. Clark is also required to register as a sexual offender for 25 years.
Clark apologized in court and said he accepted responsibility for his actions. Several members of his family spoke and submitted letters on his behalf, indicating that his behavior was uncharacteristic.
First Assistant District Attorney Elizabeth Hirz asked for a sentence in the aggravated range, citing the “profound violation of trust” the teen patient had suffered.
“She was there to get help for her mental health,” Hirz said. “She walked out a teen mom.”
Hirz said the victim had said by phone that she wanted Clark to serve time in prison.
“She was one of the most vulnerable victims he could have preyed upon,” she said.
Police said they received a report from the Erie County Office of Children and Youth indicating that the victim had given birth to a child as a result of having sex with an adult when she was 15 years old.
The victim told police “she had intercourse two to three times with an adult employee of Millcreek Community Hospital while she was a patient in the Behavioral Care unit,” according to the affidavit of probable cause. The girl was a patient there in February and March of 2015.
Police said a paternity test showed Clark to be the father of the victim’s baby.
A representative for Millcreek Community Hospital was not immediately available for comment.
See Wednesday’s Erie Times-News and GoErie.com for more coverage.