VALPARAISO — A 63-year-old Portage man is charged with grabbing a nurse's breast as she took his blood pressure, court records state.
Another nurse also accused the suspect of grabbing her inner thigh, and some accused him of making sexually suggestive comments while he was hospitalized at Porter Regional Hospital.
Thomas Vann was charged Monday with a felony count of sexual battery and a second misdemeanor count of battery on allegations of touching another nurse's inner thigh without her permission, according to court records.
One nurse said she asked Vann if he was in pain while taking his blood pressure.
"Oh not now," Vann responded, before grabbing her breast, according to police.
The nurse said when she pushed Vann back, she told him to stop and said it appeared he did it on purpose. Vann then replied, "Oh what," before grabbing her breast again, police said.
The assault during the blood pressure test occurred at 4 a.m. Friday, police said. As the nurse was leaving the room after the incident, police said Vann commented, "Oh a grouchy one huh?"
Another female nurse reportedly told investigators she was grabbed on the inner thigh by Vann after asking him to turn over in his bed Tuesday.
Vann allegedly told that nurse, "It's going to cost you," according to the police report.
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"When he turned over, he grabbed her inner thigh," police said.
The nurse said she reported the incident to medical staff, police said.
A third nurse told investigators she heard Vann tell a nurse, "How about you get in bed with me. I need someone to cuddle."
Multiple nurses were complaining about his comments but did nothing because "it's part of (the) job," police said.
One nurse elaborated to police that "some of the patients that come in make inappropriate comments, but that they deal with them," according to the police report. "She stated the only reason this became a problem with Thomas is because he actually touched two nurses inappropriately."
Vann, who was in the hospital for about a week with a heart condition, denied making any inappropriate comments or touching any nurses, police said.
After Vann signed himself out of the hospital against medical advice, he was arrested and taken to the Porter County Jail, police said.
Porter/LaPorte County Courts and Social Justice Reporter
Bob is a 23-year veteran of The Times. He covers county government and courts in Porter County, federal courts, police news and regional issues. He also created the Vegan in the Region blog, is an Indiana University grad and lifelong region resident.