OKLAHOMA CITY — Police are investigating a disturbing case of sexual assault involving two teenage patients at a juvenile mental health hospital.
Administrators at Cedar Ridge Psychiatric Hospital first called Oklahoma City police on Saturday for assistance searching for a runaway girl.
Police detectives discovered the runaway was in trouble with the facility.
“They determined the female who had run away was actually accused of a crime,” said Oklahoma City Police MSgt. Gary Knight.
Detectives discovered the 16-year-old runaway had been caught allegedly sexually assaulting another patient, a 13-year-old girl.
Administrators told police the incident was captured on their in-house surveillance system.
“The two girls were in a room together when one sexually assaulted the other. Obviously, there was no consent given, and you’re talking about a 13-year-old child,” Knight said.
Perhaps the most concerning part of this incident was the facility’s response to the police investigation.
According to law enforcement sources, the Cedar Ridge CEO told officers they don’t call police for incidents of sexual assault.
Instead they would conduct an internal investigation because “they didn’t want to upset the children or interfere with their mental health treatment by getting the police involved.”
“A sexual assault on a child. We need to know about that,” Knight said. “We were not notified immediately. The call came in as a runaway not a sexual assault. Had the girl not run away, it’s unclear if we would have ever known about it.”
Police caught up with the accused 16-year-old girl four miles away at I-35 Service Rd. and N.E. 36th St.
Her former foster mom saw her walking along the road.
The suspect was arrested and booked into the Oklahoma County Jail.
According to DHS, all sexual assaults are considered neglect or abuse. Oklahoma statute requires reporting all of such incidents.
NewsChannel 4 tried to obtain the licensure and monitoring records for Cedar Ridge from the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH).
According to OSDH, state licensure information is confidential. Spokesperson Cody McDonell emailed, “We are unable to release any licensure reports for Cedar Ridge Hospital”
Ali Meyer spoke with the Cedar Ridge administrator around 10 a.m. on Tuesday. The administrator she said she would email a statement. That statement was received around 4:00 p.m.
“The care and safety of our patients, including their privacy, is Cedar Ridge Behavioral Health’s top priority. Due to stringent patient confidentiality and privacy laws, the facility is precluded from discussing any details regarding the care and treatment of any patient.
The staff and administration are fully cooperating with the authorities in their investigation of this allegation and expect that once the facts are made known, this issue will be resolved.
Cedar Ridge Behavioral Health remains fully dedicated and committed to its mission of providing high quality treatment programs and services to patients with special, and sometimes complex, mental health needs.” Jolene Ring, Director of Risk Management.
UPDATE: On Thursday, May 4th the Oklahoma City Police Department informed KFOR the District Attorney’s office will not pursue charges in this case.