MURRIETA, CA -- Editor's Note: This article was updated at 6:13 p.m. with a statement from a hospital spokesperson.
A Murrieta man who formerly worked as a nurse at Rancho Springs Medical Center in Murrieta has been charged with sexual battery on two female patients he treated at the hospital, according to the Riverside County District Attorney's Office.
Paul Robert Simon, 53, was arrested on a $200,000 warrant at about 7 a.m. Tuesday, by Murrieta police officers at his apartment on Jackson Avenue in Murrieta, said John Hall, spokesperson for the DA's Office.
Simon has been charged with five felonies: three counts of sexual battery on a medically incapacitated person and two counts of lewd acts by a caretaker on a dependent adult, according to Hall.
The California Department of Justice’s Bureau of Medi-Cal Fraud and Elder Abuse began an investigation in late 2010 after it received reports about possible inappropriate or criminal activity by a nurse at the hospital, Hall said.
A special agent's investigation revealed the first alleged incident occurred in April 2009 when Simon was assigned to care for a 58-year-old woman who was briefly placed on life support after being admitted to the hospital.
"When she awoke, she had difficulty moving her body but was mentally alert. It is alleged that Simon...went to her bedside and used the woman’s hand to masturbate him. Another time, Simon reportedly touched the same victim inappropriately during a time he was bathing her," Hall said.
The second alleged incident occurred in August 2010, when at least one other nurse reported seeing Simon reaching up a 57-year-old unconscious female patient's hospital gown and inappropriately touching her upper thigh, Hall said the investigation revealed.
Rancho Springs Medical Center terminated Simon’s employment, Hall wrote in the news release, though it was not immediately clear when his employment ended.
"When Rancho Springs Medical Center learned of this incident, we immediately notified the proper authorities and the nurse was terminated," said Brian Connors, spokesperson for Southwest Healthcare System, which operates the Murrieta hospital.
The case was submitted to the DA after the Department of Justice completed its investigation.
Simon is scheduled to be arraigned on the five felony charges filed by the DA's Office at 1:30 p.m. Thursday at Southwest Justice Center near Murrieta.
The case is being prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Jason Stone of the DA’s Elder Abuse Unit.
If convicted on all counts, Simon faces up to six years in state prison.