HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – A physical therapist was arrested Monday for sexually assaulting a 75-year-old woman in a room at St. Joseph’s Hospital South, authorities said.
The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office was called to the hospital in Riverview to investigate the alleged assault.
A nurse told deputies an alarm sounded in the room of the patient. When that nurse checked a live feed from inside of the room, the nurse witnessed Regginald Jackson sexually battering the victim.
The 30-year-old allegedly refused to speak to deputies about the incident and was subsequently arrested on charges of sexual battery. He was booked at Orient Jail Tuesday morning.
“This is an appalling breach of trust and abuse by a person who is trained and paid to look out for the well-being of patients,” said Sheriff Chad Chronister. “I am disgusted by the actions of Regginald Jackson, and we will work diligently to find out if there are others who have been victimized by him in the past to ensure that justice is served.”
On Tuesday, 8 On Your Side stopped by the suspect’s home and spoke to his girlfriend.
“He’s always been a very logical thinker, so that’s why I don’t get why he would ever do that. There’s no way he would do that,” said Jacquelyn Ward.
Ward said Jackson has worked at the hospital for roughly two years and has a squeaky clean record.
“He’s not like another man, okay? He’s a special guy. He makes everyone, he’s such a good friend. He’s so caring,” Ward said.
She said she realized something was wrong when Jackson stopped texting Monday. She did some digging and learned about his arrest.
“I’m in utter shock of any of this,” she said.
Ward hopes the nurse’s characterization of the events is a misunderstanding, she said.
St. Joseph’s Hospital is one of 15 hospitals in the BayCare Health System.
“BayCare is terminating the employment of Regginald Jesse Jackson, who was working as a physical therapist at St. Joseph’s Hospital-South,” Lisa Razler said in an e-mail to News Channel 8.
“We appreciate the team member who took appropriate, swift action after witnessing suspicious activity and we remain in close contact with authorities as they conduct their investigation. BayCare is committed to maintaining a safe environment for all our patients and team members and we do not tolerate the alleged conduct. In addition to pre-employment screenings and background checks, we provide ongoing training, leadership makes rounds daily through the hospital and departments conduct safety huddles prior to each shift. We strongly encourage team members to report anything of concern when they’re on the job, which is what happened in this situation.”
Investigators suspect more patients may have been victimized by Jackson. They’re asking anyone with information regarding prior incidents to call the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office at 813-247-8200 or Crime Stoppers of Tampa Bay at 1-800-873-TIPS (8477) to report a tip anonymously.