LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A former Las Vegas nurse, scheduled to go on trial next week on allegations he sexually assaulted a cancer patient in her hospital bed, pleaded guilty Tuesday to two lesser charges, his lawyer confirmed to the 8 News Now Investigators.
In court documents first obtained by the 8 News Now Investigators in 2021, police said Ricardo Mederos, 33, assaulted Katherine Burnett, 56, twice in August 2021, while she was a patient at Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center. Burnett told investigators she had received sedatives in the middle of the night and fell asleep both times.
In documents filed Monday, the Clark County District Attorney’s office amended Mederos’ charges to two counts of open or gross lewdness in the presence of a vulnerable person. The charge is a Category D felony.
During the incident, Mederos was accused of touching Burnett’s breast and performing a sex act in front of her. According to court documents, Mederos told Burnett not to talk about what she saw.
According to police, Mederos told Burnett “he had people that could make sure that [Burnett] didn’t speak again” and “people on this floor will take care of it if you say anything.” In addition, Burnett told police Mederos told her “he would say that I was blackmailing him for pain meds,” documents said.
Fluid on a napkin and on a face mask tested positive for semen, police said. Prosecutors had said in a prior court hearing that Mederos’ DNA matched what was on the napkin and mask.
Mederos was a licensed registered nurse with the Nevada State Board of Nursing, records show. He has no prior disciplinary record with the board and no criminal history. A judge ordered him not to work as a nurse or in any health care capacity. His nursing license has since expired.
Mederos’ lawyer, Jess Marchese, said the hospital fired his client in 2021.
8 News Now does not identify victims of sexual assault, however, Burnett has talked openly about her experience and did an interview with the 8 News Now Investigators.
In a lawsuit filed in 2020, a woman in her late-40s claimed a similar incident involving Mederos happened to her at Sunrise hospital in 2019. Metro closed the case due to lack of evidence, documents said. The plaintiff dropped her lawsuit in February, records said.
Burnett filed a civil lawsuit against the hospital in 2021, claiming it “did not report the allegations to the Nevada Board of Nursing.” A judge paused her civil case and the criminal proceedings moved forward.
Representatives for Sunrise have said they do not comment on pending litigation.
Mederos will be sentenced in November. Category D felonies carry a prison sentence of 1-4 years.
Before prosecutors filed the amended charges Monday, Mederos faced harsher felonies, including sexual assault against a vulnerable person.