Lawsuit filed against Baptist Health in decades-old case, attorney’s say former employees were aware of sexual abuse

LITTLE ROCK, Ark – A lawsuit filed Wednesday in a decades-old case claims Baptist Health Medical Center had knowledge of inappropriate relationships between a staff member and his patients.

Green and Gillespie Attorneys at Law filed the suit in the Pulaski County Circuit Court Wednesday.

Attorneys say their client, Bojay Lewis was sexually abused by former Baptist Rehabilitation Institute Administrator Robin Hagaman in the early ’90s.

Hagaman has since died.

Lewis now in prison for drug abuse and theft, says he first met Hagaman in 1991. He was 15 years old and was a patient at BRI.

“He soothed me and made me feel like everything was ok,” said Lewis.

Lewis says Hagaman showed favoritism toward Lewis, claiming the health professional took him out for lunches, bought him clothes and went for walks off-campus.

“He took me under his wing, like a father figure,” said Lewis. “I didn’t realize that I was ever in an inappropriate situation until I actually stayed at his house.”

Lewis says Hagaman offered the teenager a place to stay for a few nights in 1992. Lewis claims that’s when Hagaman sexually abused him.

Two years later in 1994, two other patients at BRI came forward with similar allegations, which ultimately resulted in Hagaman’s arrest.

“This was a guy that had been preying on young teenage boys,” said attorney Josh Gillispie.

Gillispie is the head attorney on the case. He says he has documents proving former Baptist Health CEO Russell Harrington was aware of Hagaman’s actions in the late ’80s.

“He received numerous warnings from physicians’ mental health professionals, nurses and staff,” said Gillispie.

In the lawsuit are several letters claiming staff voiced concerns about Hagaman. The first letter, addressed to Harrington dates April 1987. In it, hospital staff claim Hagaman provided his personal phone number to patients, spent an inappropriate amount of time with patients and took some patients to his home to live.

“At that point, I mean they pretty much knew,” said Gillispie.

Another letter addressed to Harrington dated March of 1989. It reads a patient voiced his concerns about Hagaman touching him.

All these concerns were voiced well before Lewis entered the rehab facility.

“He sexually abused him, but he also prevented him of receiving the mental health treatment he was there for in the first place,” said Gillispie.

Gillispie says Lewis’ treatment was sabotaged from the beginning, leading him down a continued path of abuse.

“I didn’t realize how bad this man had affected me,” said Lewis.

Gillispie says he believes the sexual abuse was a contributor to Lewis’ addiction to drugs after his time at BRI.

Baptist Health Medical Center declined to comment on the lawsuit filed.

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