Former nurse at Swedish Hospital accused of sexually assaulting patients

A former nurse fired in 2005 for "unprofessional conduct" toward a patient in Tacoma has been arrested and charged with two strikingly similar sexual assaults at a Seattle hospital.

Luis R. Ibarra, 48, of University Place, was charged last week with one count of rape in the second degree and one count of indecent liberties. He remains jailed on a $300,000 bail. 

According to court documents, the investigation began in November 2020, when a patient at Swedish Hospital's Cherry Hill campus told police she was assaulted by a nurse while recovering from surgery.

The victim, a 52-year-old woman from Lewis County, told investigators she was "totally vulnerable" when it happened. She cried as she gave a statement to detectives, noting he had "complete control over her and her medications."

A Swedish administrator told police that Ibarra had been fired, then led the detective to public records on the state health department's website. Those records detailed a "strikingly similar" complaint against Ibarra in 2005 that resulted in his termination and, according to Ibarra's own statements, losing his nursing license for just under three years.

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Tacoma Police interviewed him, but no charges were filed in connection with the case. 

A search warrant for Swedish documents uncovered another complaint of the same nature reported against Ibarra in December 2019, court documents state. That victim, who lived in Alaska and flew to Seattle for surgery, gave a statement similar to the one reported in November of this year. 

Ibarra denied the allegations when interviewed by detectives.  

Swedish Hospital issued the following statement in response to the charges: 

"Upon learning of the allegations in November 2020, Swedish immediately put Ibarra on administrative leave and initiated an internal investigation. Ibarra is no longer employed by Swedish.

"We take these matters seriously and have been fully cooperating with the Seattle Police Department’s investigation. Swedish is committed to maintaining a safe environment for all patients and caregivers and to providing high-quality care that respects the dignity of every patient. Swedish is not able to comment further on an ongoing investigation."