A former nurse, Michael Bragg, 40, is currently behind bars awaiting trial after being accused of secretly recording and molesting patients during his time at UPMC Carlisle, a 165-bed hospital in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania. The scandal rocked the entire community as investigators and prosecutors began contacting patients who were filmed without their knowledge while they were under the facility’s care.
Now, one of the alleged victims is taking her case to court. A woman from North Carolina, who’s only being identified via her initials, is suing Bragg for damages related to emotional distress.
Bringing the Accused to Justice
The facility fired Bragg back in 2019 after investigating his conduct on the job. He was later arrested in Franklin County, PA on child pornography charges. Authorities say he filmed children going to the bathroom at his home in Chambersburg.
Shortly thereafter, authorities hit Bragg with another round of charges, this time related to his time at UPMC. During his time at the facility, Bragg allegedly filmed over 200 patients in various forms of underdress between January 2016 and April 2019. He is also being accused of molesting several patients while they were unconscious.
He is currently facing one count of aggravated indecent assault of an unconscious person, one count of indecent assault, 19 counts of manufacturing child pornography, 171 counts of invasion of privacy, 201 counts of intercepting communications, and one count of criminal use of a communication facility.
Since the case has come out, Bragg has received death threats from the local community. He appeared in court at the end of 2019 for his arraignment in a bulletproof vest with high security detail.
“I will always be sorry to everyone involved,” Bragg told a local news outlet at the time.
Ben Andreozzi, a Harrisburg-based attorney, is representing some of Bragg’s victims, including some that are as young as 12 years old.
Speaking on behalf of the alleged victims, Andreozzi said:
“They are devastated. Essentially what happened is they got a knock on their door, telling them that some pervert had been secretly recording them. They had been waiting in the emergency room waiting room, and he was the charge nurse who called them into the rooms. He would then ask them to undress. Oftentimes he would ask them to undress when there was no legitimate reason. And while they were undressing, he was recording them, unknown to them.”
Investigators say they are still in the process of contacting the 206 people that Bragg allegedly filmed during his time on the job.
Commenting on the case, Andreozzi added:
“It would not surprise me if the number is not closer to a thousand. We have no doubt that this tragedy was entirely preventable. It is important to understand that institutions like UPMC have a responsibility to keep patients safe, and if there are oversights in protecting patients, they can be responsible.”
Hospital officials aided in the criminal investigation. Bragg was denied bail and is scheduled for trial in Franklin County in March. For the charges filed in Cumberland County related to his time at UPMC, no trial date has been set.
Suing for Emotional Distress
The NC woman suing Bragg says she was first notified of the ordeal in November of 2019. Officials told her she was among the many patients that he allegedly filmed at UPMC Carlisle. The lawsuit also states that Bragg allegedly shared some of these illegally obtained videos online, calling his behavior “extreme and outrageous and utterly intolerable in a civilized community.”
She is now seeking more than $75,000 in damages on a count of intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Other victims are suing UPMC Carlisle as part of a class-action lawsuit as well. They claim the hospital should’ve known that Bragg was filming patients without their knowledge or consent.
To protect their identities, the plaintiffs asked the court to remain anonymous. However, attorneys for the hospital argued that it would go against precedent, considering previous court rulings have allowed children to use their initials in proceedings, but their guardians were identified by name.
However, the plaintiffs said that this would only add insult to injury. “Despite already knowing the names of the victims in the lawsuit, UPMC shockingly now seeks to publicly unmask its own victims and patients of Bragg,” attorneys for the alleged victims stated in court filings.
They went on to say that UPMC is “ignoring years of legal precedent, in Pennsylvania and other legal jurisdictions, allowing for the use of pseudonyms in sexual abuse and sexual exploitations like this one.”
These cases will highlight the atrocities Bragg allegedly committed during his time at the facility as they continue to play out in court. It’s a horrifying experience no one should have to endure.
“A hospital is a place where you go when you are extremely vulnerable, you have a medical condition, and you need help. It is the last place that you go to expect that you are going to be victimized, and that’s why this case is such a tragedy,” Andreozzi added.