LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) Prosecutors have charged three former hospital workers with illegally accessing the patient records of a Little Rock television news anchorwoman brought to the hospital after being viciously attacked at her home.
In documents filed Monday in U.S. District Court, prosecutors say the three former St. Vincent Infirmary Medical Center staff members improperly accessed the records of KATV anchorwoman Anne Pressly on Oct. 20, the day she was brought in, or the day after. She died Oct. 25, having never regained consciousness.
Hospital emergency room coordinator Candida Griffin, patient account representative Sarah Elizabeth Miller and Dr. Jay Holland, a family doctor who worked part time at the hospital, each face up to a year in prison and $50,000 fine if convicted of the misdemeanor charge.
A woman at Holland's office refused to take a message for the doctor Tuesday morning, saying the clinic had no comment. Griffin did not immediately return a call for comment, and a telephone number for Miller could not be immediately found.
The hospital said in November that it fired up to six people for looking at Pressly's records after a routine patient-privacy audit showed that as many as eight people gained access to them.
It was not immediately clear whether others fired from the hospital would face charges. U.S. Attorney Jane Duke declined to comment about the charges Tuesday.
Pressly's mother found her daughter severely beaten after she missed a wake-up call at her Little Rock home.
Police announced in November that a DNA sample collected at the Pressly's home matched a sample from an unsolved rape in Marianna, about 90 miles east of Little Rock. Detectives focused on Curtis Vance, who had allegedly been seen loitering around several homes that had been burglarized in the Mississippi Delta community.
Vance, who faces a capital murder charge in Pressly's slaying, has pleaded not guilty to charges stemming from both attacks. If Vance is convicted of capital murder, state law allows for only a death sentence or life in prison. Prosecutors have yet to say whether they'll seek the death penalty.