Patients speak out about alleged sexual abuse by Grand Junction ICU nurse while on life support
After videotaping his unconscious patient while sexually assaulting her, Chris Lambros recorded a bizarre note-to-self.
“Don’t ever get rid of these videos,” he whispered into his cellphone. “You need to keep them forever … This your Dexter collection.”
An arrest affidavit on Lambros outlined this episode, alleging he recorded five lewd videos over the patient’s eight-day hospital stay in June.
Dexter was the popular Showtime series about serial killer Dexter Morgan, a bloodstain pattern analyst for the fictional Miami Metro Police Department who collected blood slides from his victims as trophies.
Investigators believe there could be many more victims.
Lambros has been charged with two counts of sexual assault on a victim unable to consent.
The 61-year-old nursing supervisor had received awards and glowing reviews — but the arrest affidavit suggested a double life: One as an understanding and thorough caregiver and the other as a deranged predator who was the star of homemade lewd videos of incapacitated patients.
The patient, identified as JV, is a 45-year-old Western Slope rancher who told The Denver Gazette she was on life support strapped to her bed with tubes running out of her arms during the alleged June 24 assault.
“I was on a ventilator,” she said in an interview from her lawyers’ office Tuesday.
Though she doesn’t recall being victimized, she does remember refusing any assistance from the staff at St. Mary’s Hospital after she awoke from her coma.
“My body was telling me something was wrong,” she said.
A little over two weeks later, the arrest document alleged, Lambros sexually assaulted and videotaped another woman, identified as MC.
This time, he was caught in the act of taking a selfie, his face hovering over MC’S nude upper torso. A colleague who happened to walk in on the shocking episode reported it and, that night, July 9, a Grand Junction police officer knocked on Lambros’ door, according to the arrest affidavit.
A class action lawsuit filed in Mesa County District Court Wednesday cited Lambros as denying the incident, saying the complaining nurse had issues with him. The arrest document said he told the officer he was giving the patient an injection for blood clots, which are administered in the stomach.
A cursory search of Lambros’ cellphone photos turned up nothing, but once the phone was in a forensics lab, four terabytes of previously hidden data revealed photos of Lambros committing lewd sexual acts on three unconscious patients from April 30 to July 9, 2022, according to the affidavit.
One of those patients has since died.
JV and MC just met for the first time Wednesday, thrown together by the strangest of circumstances.
“Before, we felt isolated, but now we know we’re not alone,” JV said. “Other victims need to speak up. That’s why we’re both here.”
According to a bond argument from Dan Rubinstein, the 21st Judicial District Attorney, the criminal investigation has turned up a fourth victim, who was allegedly sexually assaulted by Lambros in 2016. Rubinstein told the judge that he had identified five separate incidents with four victims, but at this time, Lambros is charged with two incidents for two separate and distinct victims.
It’s unclear whether the huge amount of stored data will reveal more victims. Four terabytes amounts to 74,000 photos or 65,000 hours of cellphone videos.
In a statement, St. Mary’s Medical Center said Lambros was put on administrative leave, and administrators removed his access to the hospital and patients, as well as reported the matter to local law enforcement.
On Wednesday, a class action lawsuit was filed against Lambros’ employer, St. Mary’s Hospital and Medical Center, Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth Health System and Intermountain Health Care.
“St Mary’s failed to protect our clients from harm while they were there,” said attorney Laurie Jaeckel, who does not yet know what amount to seek in the lawsuit. “It’s something which will be determined either if the case reaches a settlement or if the case goes to trial.”
Lambros was married to another nurse and enjoyed an exemplary career.
Twice, he was honored with the national Daisy Award, an annual recognition given to nurses who, according to the website, display a “unique blend of art and science.”
The first of those awards was given to him in 2009 while working as an emergency department RN at the University Medical Center Tucson.
The second was awarded in August 2017 while he worked in St. Mary’s Intensive Care Unit. In a poignant but glowing recommendation, one unnamed patient, who was transitioning to hospice, said Lambros kept the family lighthearted in the face of grief.
“Chris is the type of nurse that everyone wants to have, and deserves to have,” the patient wrote.
He and his wife were profiled on a Colorado Public Radio segment, which featured frontline workers during the pandemic.
According to Nursys, a national verification database for licensure and discipline for the participating boards in 39 states, Lambros was registered with the Arizona Board of Nursing from July 2006 through October 2011.
In addition to Colorado and Arizona, Lambros was also a licensed nurse in Texas, the Nursys database indicated. Before the Nursys directory, disciplined nurses could transfer from state to state with little detection.
The Texas State Board of Nursing, which is also a participating state, flagged Lambros’s license as “ineligible to reinstate” after receiving notice from Colorado that his license had been suspended.
“Here it seem to have worked exactly the way that it’s designed,” said Dusty Johnston, General Counsel for the Texas State Board of Nursing.
“We have to respond when other boards of nursing take action on a licensee and that’s part of our mission of protecting the public,” said Bruce Holter, information specialist with the Texas State Board of Nursing.
Lambros was licensed in Texas from October 2011 through Oct. 2012, documents show.
A license in Texas is valid for two years.
It is unclear, though, whether Lambros worked as a nurse and where in the Lone Star state.
The state boards and national database do not disclose where a licensee works.
In addition to the class action suit, Lambros, who is currently in Mesa County jail on $1,000,000 bail. His next court appearance is Jan. 13.
MC, the second woman, said she will attend his court appearance, as she has all of his hearings, including one where she faced him during testimony. “I told him he should be ashamed of himself,” she said. “You go to nursing school to help people. Not to destroy lives.”
To view the article in it’s entirety, visit www.denvergazette.com.