Utah Intermountain Medical Center technician Jonathon Paul Jankowski was charged with felony rape of an inpatient transgender man Friday. This profoundly egregious attack on transgender bodies was made even more odious given that on Friday the Trump administration implemented new rules allowing for discrimination against transgender patients by medical professionals.
Jankowski, 34, has been fired and is charged with one count of object rape, a first-degree felony. If convicted Jankowski faces a minimum of 10 years to life in prison.
“Based on what we were presented, we filed one count of object rape as a first-degree felony, which is a very serious allegation, and we feel very comfortable with the charges we filed,” Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill said.
New York Times “Trump Administration Erases Transgender Civil Rights Protections in Health Care.”
“This is completely horrible. Transgender individuals are at high risk of sexual assault and 47% of the community has stated they have been sexually assaulted some time in their life.” Said Sue Robins, an activist who advises Equality Utah on transgender issues. And this disgusting treatment is at the same time our federal government is stating it is okay for healthcare workers to discriminate against us.
My heart goes out to this man. At a time where he was at great risk, he was violated. I hope he gets any help he needs.
According to court documents, Jankowski, of Saratoga Springs, was working at the hospital as a tech on March 7 when a patient asked for help using the bathroom. The patient, a transgender man, needed a bedpan due to his injuries, which Jankowski brought but refused to help, saying it was not his job. Then, while helping clean up the patient, Jankowski reportedly made a mess and yelled at the patient, blaming him for it.
The patient said that later, while he was trying to sleep, Jankowski sat on the bed and quickly “flashed” a handwritten note before kissing the patient on the mouth and sexually assaulting him.
“It is scary and it’s alarming and it’s something we deal with way too often in our community,” Sue Robbins with the Transgender Advisory Council for Equality Utah said.
As an advocate for transgender individuals, Robbins said she hopes they can help the victim. This type of thing happens far too often, Robbins said.
“In a medical and healthcare environment, we shouldn’t be worrying about our safety when we are at our weakest. And we worry about our safety every day, so we need to change that,” she said.
A study by the National Center of Transgender Equality states 47 percent of respondents said they had been sexually assaulted at some point in their life.
This needs to change, and people need to be educated, Robbins said.
“This should not happen to anyone, especially to a person who is transgender, and we want them to know that we will do our very best to hold the offender accountable,” Gill said.
Intermountain conducted an investigation upon learning of the alleged assault and has fired Jankowski.
The hospital released the following statement:
“Intermountain is committed to patient safety and this type of allegation is taken very seriously. Upon learning of these allegations, Mr. Jankowski was immediately suspended and then terminated at the conclusion of our investigation. We are fully cooperating with law enforcement. We have zero-tolerance for this kind of inappropriate contact.”
The district attorney’s office will continue to investigate, Gill said.
“We will continue to gather information and we will continue to look at to see if there are any other allegations or anything in addition to that,” he said.
If you or someone you know is a victim of sexual abuse, you can call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800-656-4673 or the online chat hotline at rainn.org/resources.