Actions

Teen shares story of alleged sex abuse at Virginia hospital: 'I hope that he feels the pain that I feel every day'

Posted at 12:16 PM, Feb 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-03 12:16:40-05

Warning: This article contains graphic descriptions of sexual abuse.

NEW KENT COUNTY, Va. -- A North Carolina teen says a New Kent hospital at the center of a Virginia State Police investigation for child abuse and neglect, rescued her from a sex trafficking ring only for her to be repeatedly sexually assaulted again.

“He sexually abused me so much I can’t even remember, count the times,” said the teen, who asked to be identified by the initials RH.

RH described the abuse she said she suffered during her one year four months stay at the Cumberland Hospital for Children and Adolescents.

“I wrote in my journal a lot of times I felt like a worn-out pair of shoes. I just felt disgusting. I couldn’t look in the mirror,” said RH. “I would go in the bathroom at shower time and just scrub my body raw because I felt disgusting."

Cumberland Hospital teen.jpg

RH said her troubles started at birth.

“I was born addicted to drugs because of my mom, and she was very unstable in her life,” she said.

RH spent most of her childhood in and out of foster care.

In June 2017 she was placed in a Greensboro, North Carolina group home.

It’s there that investigators said she fell victim of a sex trafficking ring.

“I was having seizures and so much anxiety and PTSD and they just couldn’t figure out why I was so medically unstable. They coordinated out to DSS and group home staff members and leading up to this I am still being trafficked out to people,” she explained. “The director of the group home comes to me and says ‘oh, we found you a placement it’s called Cumberland Hospital.’”

In March 9, 2018, RH said the Department of Social Services drove her to New Kent County and the Cumberland Hospital for Children and Adolescents where she said she was greeted by Dr. Daniel Davidow.

RH said she detailed her past trauma and triggers to the former medical director prior to her admission physical.

"First thing he says is I have to examine your breasts so I'm like what? He's like he puts both of his hands under my shirt under my bra almost like massaging me in a way it made me so uncomfortable, and I looked to the nurse with tears in my eyes and she was like this is what he does this is how he does his exams,” said RH. “Then he was like I need to make sure your pulse in your private area is intact. He takes his hand with no gloves on he puts his hand under my, he unbuttons my pants under my underwear and puts his whole hand two fingers on each side of me and it’s just sitting there like this and then he slowly moves his middle finger in between me and puts his fingers in me and I looked to the nurse and I'm like why is he doing that? He didn’t have, he was emotionless,” RH added.

The allegations were similar to those made by a dozen other young women who said they too were sexually abused by Davidow while under his care.

They are among the 20 former Cumberland patients who this past October filed a $127-million-dollar lawsuit against Davidow, the hospital, and the company that owns it UHS.

The law firm Breit Cantor is representing the plaintiffs in the case.

Attorney Kevin Biniazan said RH has also retained the firm.

"I endured sexual abuse most of my life, but leading up to Cumberland I was sexually trafficked for a year and I was sent to Cumberland to be rescued from that and I was put right back into like a trap kind of like a prison again," said RH.

Former Cumberland psychotherapist Herschel 'Mickey' Harden is also named in the lawsuit.

Harden is facing criminal charges for what RH and the Attorney General's office said he put her through.

Mickey Harden 1.PNG
Mickey Harden

“He got me to undress so many times I can’t even count it on my fingers and toes,” said RH.

She said the abuse started soon after she began opening up to Harden during her therapy sessions.

“One day we just go to his office and I notice there is a whiteboard in his window and then he closes the door and locks it. Flicks this switch and it makes this sound to block out the noise. I was like, 'why did you lock the door and why is the stuff up?'” explained RH.

“He was like, 'that’s what I have been meaning to talk to you about.' He says I'm going to try something. He straight up goes in, takes his hand, puts it on the right side of my cheek, and just starts to kiss me make out with me and I'm like what in the holy crap is this place? So, I push him off of me and he says did that trigger you and bother you? I said yeah it did. I'm extremely uncomfortable,” she explained. “He says, 'I want you to know something. What I just did was to help you' and I asked him how does that help me and he goes into this whole dialogue and speaks about how him kissing and touching me was supposed to help me because he was showing me how a real man was supposed to treat me because in my past, I have never had a real man to treat me right.”

RH said as the months went on, her therapy sessions increased along with the sexual abuse.

“He pulled my pants down and started to push his fingers inside of me and he would take his hand and cuff it and put it over my mouth so that I didn’t make noises and the normal routine turning on the little sound thing and make sure the blinds were closed make sure the door was locked and sometimes he would cut on music to block out sound as well,” said RH.

RH said Harden would threaten to keep her at Cumberland longer if she turned him in.

“He would always say that I can keep you here as long as I want, or I have this power. He oftentimes would bring his rank of military in the situation of how he was a General Colonel in the military and retired. That nobody would ever believe me about him doing anything to me because he was this great figure and everybody likes Mickey,” she said.

"Were people starting to ask questions at this point?" asked CBS 6 Investigative Reporter Laura French.

"A couple of people, even some of the other patients that I was close with would ask me why do you come back smelling like Mickey's cologne?" RH replied.

But she said that didn't stop Harden from expressing his feelings for her.

"He made up code words like "smiles a bunches" which means I love you so if we were near people he would say "smiles a bunches" and that meant him saying I love you and I had to say it back," RH explained.

RH said Harden also bought her gifts.

“He got me a necklace before I was discharged. It was a real gold necklace. It had a moon on it with a heart hanging from the moon and he said that means he loves me to the moon and back and he’d say I love you forever and a day,” said RH.

RH said the abuse ended in April 2019 when she was discharged from the hospital, but she said communication with Harden did not end until she worked up the courage to turn him in.

The case was presented to a Grand Jury and in February 2020 Harden was indicted on two felony counts of object sexual penetration.

A month later prosecutors said Harden's when she contacted RH.

CBS 6 has obtained 26 pages of text messages between the two.

In them, Harden's wife told RH, "Mickey is gone. I hope you achieved your goal. He's dead."

She then accused RH of telling "all lies."

RH responded by detailing the alleged abuse.

In the end, Harden's wife wrote "I believe you."

Once made aware of the text messages, the judge warned Harden that his bond would be revoked if his wife contacted RH again.

"What are your hopes for this case? Where do you hope this goes?" French asked.

"I hope that Mickey either rots in jail. I hope that he feels the pain that I feel every day when I wake up in the middle of the night screaming or hollering or can’t sleep because I am having nightmares,” RH responded.

Harden is scheduled to stand trial February 10-11.

RH said she's looking forward to testifying.

She has also retained the attorney who filed the lawsuit against Cumberland.

While Dr. Daniel Davidow has been named in that civil suit, he has not been criminally charged.

Watch for Problem Solvers Investigations Tuesdays on CBS 6 News at 11 p.m. Click here for more of our investigations or to submit a tip to the Problem Solvers.

Find unique, award-winning stories every day on CBS 6 News:

💰Mondays: CBS 6 Gives
📁Tuesdays: CBS 6 Problem Solvers Investigations
🏙️ Wednesdays: Our RVA
👔Wednesdays: Wayne's World
🏅Thursdays: Beyond the Roster
🏅Thursdays: Beyond the Roster
✋Fridays: I Have a Story