*Content warning: this article contains information that could be distressing*
A woman has alleged former paediatric nurse James Geoffrey Griffin drugged and then raped her while she was recovering from an induced coma in the Launceston General Hospital when she was aged 17.
The details are included in one of two more claims lodged in the Supreme Court against the Tasmanian Health Service, taking the total number of claims regarding the conduct of Griffin to four.
Law firm Arnold Thomas & Becker lodged the writs in court this week making claims for damages against THS for allegedly failing to act on complaints, and expect more to be filed in the coming weeks.
In one of the new statements of claim filed in court, a woman outlines how she was an inpatient at the LGH in 2011 following an anaphylactic reaction and was placed in an induced coma in the intensive care unit.
She was moved to the paediatric ward for recovery, where she alleges Griffin gave her pain medication and heavily sedated her, before raping her while she was incapacitated in a private room.
She alleges Griffin further sexually abused her while she was in the hospital.
The second statement of claim was from a woman - aged 14 at the time - who was in the LGH due to an eating disorder, the same type of condition as two of the other complainants against Griffin who were aged 12 and 13.
The woman alleges Griffin groomed her by giving her pet names, inappropriately touching her and taking photographs of her.
Arnold Thomas & Becker lawyer Kim Price said the women continued to suffer "ongoing trauma, depression and other psychological injuries".
They are suing the THS for damages and resultant medical bills.
The claims allege the LGH - and ultimately the THS - failed in its duty of care by not heeding complaints from patients, families and hospital staff regarding Griffin's conduct, failing to investigate sexual abuse allegations and not implementing systems and policies to enable the notification of sexual abuse.
Griffin worked at the hospital for 18 years and died by suicide in 2019.
The first statements of claim detailed the complaints history against Griffin, including one as far back as 1989 and "at least nine formal complaints" that were allegedly not actioned upon.
One of the initial complainants said it would be a challenging time for victims and survivors, along with the Commission of Inquiry into institutional sexual abuse in Tasmania, but "we walk this path together".
The cases are being brought separately rather than as a class action.
Mr Price said more complainants continued to come forward.
"We continue to hear from numerous complaints that were made to Launceston General Hospital about Griffin - patients, staff and parents were speaking out for years," he said.
"Despite these complaints, we allege that Tasmanian Health Service failed to intervene and enabled Griffin to continue to work at the hospital and to use it as his hunting ground."
A Department of Health spokesperson said the safety of children was always the priority.
"The Department of Health is fully and actively supporting the Commission of Inquiry, providing all relevant information to assist the Commission in its investigation of the management of allegations of child sexual abuse, and has formed a dedicated Commission of Inquiry Response and Reform Team for this purpose," they said.
"However, we are unable to comment on allegations relating to matters before the courts."
National sexual assault support: 1800 RESPECT, Laurel House (03) 6334 2740 (Launceston), (03) 6431 9711 (Burnie and Devonport), Sexual Assault Support Service (SASS) on 1800 697 877.
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