|For Immediate Release
Case # 04WF2626
July 17, 2008
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Public Affairs Counsel
BLOOD TECH IN HOSPITAL MATERNITY WARD CONVICTED OF SEXUAL ASSAULTS
AGAINST SIX PATIENTS
*Defendant fled while the jury was deliberating and is at large; the public should call 9-1-1 if they see the defendant.
SANTA ANA – A warrant has been issued for a Garden Grove hospital blood technician who fled from court today just prior to being convicted of sexually assaulting six female patients in a maternity ward. Dante Arnaud, 41, Santa Ana, was found guilty by a jury of six counts of sexual battery by fraud for Jane Does #1 through #6 and one count of sexual penetration by means of fraudulent representation of professional purpose for Jane Doe #1. Arnaud faces a maximum sentence of 13 years in state prison. A no bail warrant has been issued for his arrest.
The case was submitted to a jury today at noon. Arnaud was out of custody on $250,000, but the trial judge, the Honorable Richard Toohey, ordered the defendant to remain in the courthouse while the jury deliberated. The jury reached a verdict after deliberating for 35 minutes at 2:05 p.m. When the defendant failed to appear, the court read and recorded the jury verdict in his absence and issued the warrant.
On Sep. 8, 2004, Jane Doe #1 was in a fifth floor hospital room after giving birth by Caesarean section a day earlier. Arnaud entered into her room wearing a lab coat and told the victim that he needed to take her blood and check her “down there.” The defendant pulled Jane Doe #1’s underwear aside and placed his hand on her vaginal area. Two days later, the defendant sexually assaulted Jane Doe #1 again under the same pretense, this time digitally penetrating the victim, rubbing her vagina, fondling her breasts, and squeezing her nipples. Jane Doe #1 reported the incident to a nurse and the Garden Grove Police Department was later called. Six other patients subsequently reported similar sexual assaults. Further investigation revealed that the defendant fondled and squeezed the nipples of six other female maternity ward patients under the guise of performing routine breast “examinations.” The defendant wore gloves during some, but not all, of the sexual assaults. The defendant also claimed to be inspecting some of the victim’s vaginas.
The case was initially filed with seven victims, but one of the victims was out of the country and unable to testify.
Deputy District Attorney Lynda Fernandez of the Sexual Assault Unit is prosecuting this case.