Former staffer pleads guilty to sex assault at Fairmount Behavioral Health

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- A former staffer at Fairmount Behavioral Health in Philadelphia has pleaded guilty to sex crimes.

The defendant, Michael McIntosh, was part of an Action News Investigation last year.

McIntosh pleaded guilty to Institutional Sexual Assault, a class 3 felony.

He was charged with raping a mental health patient in 2020.

The plea deal is a relief for Aimee Sansone, who sat down for an exclusive interview last year.

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Aimee Sansone says she's living with trauma every day after allegedly being raped inside a Philadelphia behavioral health center.

She said it has been a long journey for justice.

"It's been really difficult," she said. "It's been a real struggle, something that I will eventually overcome but I haven't yet."

The pandemic had her sexual assault case on hold until this week.

"It was a horrible blow," said Sansone. "And, you know, I felt like I was getting raped every time I looked at the docket and I saw that he got another continuance."

We first sat down with Sansone in 2019 after she came to us alleging McIntosh entered her room and raped her.

It was just a couple of days after being involuntarily committed to the facility after a suicide attempt.

"I'd taken pills. I was broken. I was completely devastated," she said.

As part of an Action News Investigation, we obtained dispatch records for Fairmount and uncovered a troubling amount of calls to the facility.

From 2015 to 2019, police were called to Fairmount nearly 100 times for alleged assaults, rapes and other sexual offenses.

RELATED: Contact the Action News Investigation team

Universal Health Services, which owns Fairmount and other mental health facilities in our area, released a statement to Action News last year.

The facility said it takes all allegations made by patients seriously.

They found Sansone's claim unsubstantiated. However, Michael McIntosh was fired from his position for other reasons.

A spokesperson also told us at the time they report all incidents to local police, including those made outside the facility prior to admission.

They also said most of the time those allegations are unsubstantiated.

But this week's plea is a clear indication that was not the case with respect to Sansone.

"To see that you brought it to light and knowing that if only my story, or my face can help one other person, not go through or handle what they've been through, it's all worth it for me," she said.

We reached out to Fairmount for comment to the plea deal.

They released the following statement:

"We take seriously any allegations by patients and/or staff. We report incidents and allegations to local Police, as appropriate, for further investigation and follow-up.

The employee referenced was terminated in August 2019 for violating Facility operating procedures. The allegation of sexual assault came to light in October 2019. Due to HIPAA patient privacy laws, we cannot comment further on the specific patient referenced.

We strive for excellence in all aspects of operations including maintaining and adhering to policies and procedures intended to safeguard patient safety and comfort."

- Bruce Rice, CEO Fairmount Behavioral Health System
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