Published: 03/10/2022 19:46:02
NORTHAMPTON — A Florence woman who accused her physiotherapist of touching her inappropriately, which led to Edward Kostek’s conviction for indecent assault last month, is suing Kostek and his former employer, the hospital Cooley Dickinson.
The victim claims $225,000 for assault and battery, negligence and emotional suffering. She alleges that Kostek’s behavior during three treatment sessions in January 2021 was “obscene” and that he “invasively” touched private parts of her body.
According to the lawsuit in Hampshire Superior Court, the victim sought treatment for neck and back injuries at Cooley Dickinson Hospital Rehabilitation Services at 8 Atwood Drive, after a car accident. She alleged that Kostek touched her buttocks and bare breasts and put his hand down her pants to touch her thighs and groin, with no chaperone present.
As a matter of principle, the Gazette does not identify victims or alleged victims of sexual assault.
“The plaintiff did not return for further physiotherapy appointments due to the invasive and bizarre treatment she received” during the first three sessions, the complaint reads. “The plaintiff feared for her safety because of (Kostek’s) behavior and treatment of her. The plaintiff suffered and continues to suffer from anxiety as a result of this experience.”
Kostek, 42, from South Hadley, was sentenced last week to two years probation plus a two-year suspended prison sentence, which will only be triggered if he breaches probation; he claimed his innocence. His defense attorney told a judge that Kostek’s “career was over.”
In court filings, Kostek said he plans to appeal his conviction and file a motion to ask that the lawsuit, filed in April, be stayed until the appeal is resolved. On September 26, a judge authorized an extension to prepare this request.
Cooley Dickinson’s spokeswoman, Christina Trinchero, said “Kostek’s sentencing and sentencing marks an incredibly difficult and painful time. As the legal process in this case progresses, we will refrain from making further comments.
She added that the hospital is “committed to providing a safe and welcoming environment for everyone who comes through our doors for care.”
Attorney David Hoose said his office “represents Mr. Kostek on all post-conviction matters” and is “investigating all avenues of appeal”. We will have no further comments.
The defendants asked the court to reclassify the case as malpractice or medical negligence. They argued that state law requires the case to be heard by a tribunal consisting of “a single judge of the superior court, a physician licensed to practice medicine in the Commonwealth…and a solicitor licensed to practice law in the Commonwealth”.
The victim disagreed, urging the court not to reclassify the case. On his own initiative, his attorney wrote that the lawsuit was about Kostek’s “intentional” actions and the hospital’s employment practices, not medical treatment error.
A lawyer for the victim did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Brian Steele can be contacted at [email protected]