An Oregon nurse charged with sexually assaulting a dozen women in prison has been fired from his current job at Legacy Health, the Portland-based health care system confirmed Wednesday.
Tony Daniel Klein, 37, faces federal charges for allegations that took place in 2016 and 2017 while he worked as a nurse for the Oregon Department of Corrections. He left that job when the allegations surfaced and took a job at Legacy Health.
On March 14, the U.S. Department of Justice unsealed a 25-count indictment, charging Klein with sexually assaulting 12 women at the Coffee Creek Correctional Facility and then lying about it later while under oath. Federal prosecutors alleged Klein deprived the women of their right to not face cruel and unusual punishment, a protection afforded under the Constitution’s Eighth Amendment.
If convicted, Klein could face life in prison.
“Legacy Health cannot comment on an ongoing federal criminal proceeding,” a spokesperson for the health system said in a written statement Wednesday. “Legacy Health terminated Mr. Klein’s employment as of March 17, 2022.”
Prior to the indictment, OPB published an investigation that found at least 27 women in custody had accused Klein of sexual abuse and inappropriate comments while he worked at Coffee Creek, the state’s only prison for women. The number of women who made allegations against Klein was confirmed by the state Department of Corrections.
Klein’s attorneys didn’t respond to requests for comment.
Legacy Health officials also did not respond to an interview request, but provided an additional statement Thursday in response to a series of written questions from OPB.
“Legacy is not aware of any report of misconduct made about Tony Klein relating to his employment at the hospital. Klein was on leave from September 2021 until his termination on March 17,” the spokesperson stated.
Officials at Legacy declined to say what made them place Klein on leave in September.
The investigation by OPB shows Klein faced lawsuits and was under investigation during most of his time employed at Legacy.
During a 2019 deposition, Klein said Legacy Health knew about the allegations against him.
Legacy hired Klein in January 2018, records show. At the time, Oregon State Police were working on an open investigation into Klein regarding allegations of sexual assault.
While employed at Legacy, Klein was named in 12 civil lawsuits alleging sexual assaults at the prison, 11 which the state settled for $1.87 million in 2020, as well as one earlier this month. As part of those agreements, Klein and the Department of Corrections admitted no wrongdoing.
Some of the lawsuits received news coverage, including in The Oregonian/OregonLive, which reported on one of the cases in January 2019, while Klein worked at Legacy.
As part of the civil litigation, an attorney for some of the women deposed Klein in November 2019. Under oath, he said Legacy Health was aware of the civil lawsuits.
“So you told your employer when you knew that the newspaper was going to publish a story on it?” asked attorney Michelle Burrows, who represented 10 women who filed lawsuits.
“Correct,” Klein replied.
During the deposition, Klein disclosed that Legacy implemented a written work agreement for certain tasks he was not to do alone.
“After I told them about the pending lawsuit, we had a meeting and collectively came up with some ways to protect myself and also Legacy,” Klein said. “I have no restrictions on who I can have as patients. I need a second person in the room if I’m going to provide what we call peri care, so cleaning of somebody’s private parts after they use the bathroom.”
“What about intimate physical exams? Do you need a chaperone or standby for that?” Burrows asked.
“I do not need a chaperone or a second person for my daily assessments,” Klein replied.
During the deposition, Klein said his supervisor at Legacy knew about the Oregon State Police investigation. He also said he was visited by the FBI at his home in the summer of 2019. Burrows asked him if he told Legacy that he was being investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice.
“My current employer, I believe, is aware,” Klein responded.
“And how do you know that they’re aware?” Burrows asked.
“Because I would have told them,” Klein said.
“When did you tell your current employer about the FBI investigation?” Burrows asked.
“I’m not a hundred percent sure that I have, but I think I have,” Klein said.
Also, while employed at Legacy, the Oregon Nursing Board proposed revoking Klein’s license for not disclosing the state police investigation. The board later fined Klein $2,500 and reprimanded his license.
Klein said he told his supervisors at Legacy about the nursing board investigation, too.
Though Legacy would not confirm what it did or did not know about the allegations against Klein, a spokesperson said the health system was committed to the communities it serves.
“Nothing is more important to Legacy Health than the health and safety of our patients and employees. We have a strong compliance and reporting system and are fully committed to thoroughly investigating all complaints brought forth by our patients or members of our staff.”
Legacy wouldn’t say whether other employees had faced discipline or been terminated in connection with Klein’s employment.
This story was originally published by Oregon Public Broadcasting.