A former employee at a state-run psychiatric hospital has been charged with taking photos of nude patients.
Media outlets report 38-year-old Reuben Fetty of Milton was charged Tuesday with 13 misdemeanor counts of criminal invasion of privacy.
A complaint filed in Cabell County Magistrate Court says Fetty’s ex-wife found the photos on his cell phone. She took the images to Mildred Mitchell-Bateman Hospital, which contacted state police.
State Police Sgt. Greg Losh said Fetty, 38, of Ona, has cooperated with the investigation.
“It’s not just an invasion of privacy, but now you have to consider it’s a place of trust,” Losh said. “Family members were upset and have a right to be upset.”
Losh said investigators don’t believe Fetty ever touched a patient or that his actions were sexually motivated.
“It appears Mr. Fetty saw this as a joke,” Losh said.
Fetty aided patients in daily activities, including personal hygiene. He resigned last week.
Each count carries a maximum penalty of up to one year in jail and a $5,000 fine upon conviction.
It wasn’t known whether Fetty has an attorney. And Losh said it’s unclear how many patients were photographed.
“Some of the pictures were unidentifiable because there wasn’t a face,” he said.
According to the criminal complaint, hospital officials confirmed the people in the photos were patients and were “clinically incompetent and could not provide consent to the images.”
A statement from the state Department of Health and Human Resources said the agency is cooperating with the police investigation.
“The protection of our patients is of the utmost importance,” the statement said.