Hospital increases security after suspected assault

2:01 AM, Jan 17, 2013   |    comments
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ATLANTA -- A Canton man is behind bars for allegedly sneaking into a hospital patient's room with the intent to sexually assault her.

Noble Elder, 52, has been charged with sexual battery and criminal trespassing.

According to the police report, the victim's daughter is a nurse at Atlanta Medical Center. She went to check on her mother around 5:30 a.m. and found Elder inside the room, trying to take off her pants.

It's still not clear why Elder was at the hospital or how long he had been there.

The hospital would not discuss the incident, agreeing only to release a statement that said in part, "The safety and security of our patients are our top priority, and we take these matters very seriously. We have enhanced our security and will only allow authorized visitors to patient floors after hours."

The hospital would not say how it planned to screen visitors at the hospital. Normal visitation hours are from 8 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.

According to Fulton County Jail records, Elder was arrested three times in 2011 for loitering, disorderly conduct and burglary. The burglary charge was dead docketed, meaning the district attorney's office set the case aside for prosecution at another time.

While he currently lists his residence in Canton, on previous arrests Elder has listed himself as homeless. He is expected to make his first court appearance on Wednesday.

According to a voluntary survey of 208 hospitals by the International Association for Healthcare Security and Safety, 79 reported a sexual assault or rape. There were 55 sexual assaults/rapes reported in 2010. The most common crime inside the hospitals were larceny/theft and simple assault.

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