RESEDA, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Former patients who said they were sexually assaulted by a nursing assistant at Tarzana Hospital described the alleged crimes at a news conference Thursday, while the suspect remained in custody following his extradition from his native Guatemala after being at large since 2006.
Eduardo Ramon Rodas Gaspar was apprehended in the Central American country more than a decade after he skipped bail and disappeared with his wife and then-6-year-old son, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.
Rodas allegedly sexually assaulted patients while they were recovering at the hospital.
"He took me into the shower. It was my first shower - I hadn't been able to bathe for days," a woman identified as Anna B. told reporters at the LAPD's West Valley station. "I was so relieved to get out of my bed and be able to shower. And that's where it occurred, at that time."
Gaspar was initially arrested June 15, 2006, for three felony counts of sexual assault, police said. About three weeks later, West Valley Division detectives issued a news release in which they asked for the public's help in identifying additional victims.
"Several additional victims came forth describing similar sexual assaults by Gaspar while they were patients at Tarzana Hospital," the LAPD said in a statement. According to investigators, Gaspar fled the U.S. after the L.A. County District Attorney's Office filed seven additional counts against him.
"It's one of the few professions where that professional can tell you to undress: 'Please disrobe for me because I need to examine you,'" LAPD Detective Ninette Toosbuy said of nursing. "And we do it without question. Why? Because we trust them."
After the DA's office issued a foreign extradition warrant for Gaspar's arrest, he was transported to Los Angeles on June 26 and taken into LAPD custody.
"For so many years, I waited and waited for that call to come and I pleaded for that call to come," said an alleged victim identified as Courtney R. "I picked it up and I heard, 'I've waited 10 years to place this call.' And I just started crying."
Anyone with information about the case is asked to call Detective Ninette Toosbury of the West Valley Division's Sex Crimes Detail at (818) 374-7718.
Fugitive hospital worker apprehended in Guatemala more than 10 years after alleged sex assaults, LAPD says