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Published: Thursday, 10/29/2009

Tiffin facility's ex-worker held over patients' photos

BLADE STAFF

TIFFIN - A Tiffin medical center is working with police near Kent, Ohio, to determine whether a former employee arrested for having photos and video of patients undressing for ultrasounds and other procedures obtained the images at the center.

Jamie Aguirre, 43, of Willard, Ohio, was arrested late Sunday night and charged with four counts of illegal use of a minor in nudity oriented materials after Brimfield Township police found photos and video of patients on his cell phone, memory cards, and other electronic storage devices.

Mr. Aguirre, who is being held in the Portage County jail, appeared Tuesday in Portage County Court, where bond was set at $250,000.

"It shocks the senses that somebody could be going in for medical testing, taking off your shirt for an ultrasound and you don't know you're on video," Brimfield Township Police Chief David Blough said yesterday.

Mr. Aguirre was arrested after a routine traffic stop on State Rt. 43 at I-76 late Sunday night.

Chief Blough said officers found suspected marijuana and other drug paraphernalia during a consent search of his pickup, but his cell phone had 65 to 70 photographs of patients in various stages of undress.

Patients ranged in age from 5 to 62, the chief said.

"Some of them have been identified because a name or medical record number was present on a screen," Chief Blough said. "Some have not been identified, and we're going to work with the medical facility. They are being absolutely great with us. They certainly are shocked."

Karen Vela, practice administrator at Advanced Medical Imaging in Tiffin, said Mr. Aguirre had been employed at the facility as an ultrasound technician since December, 2007, and had no previous problems at work.

"It's very, very upsetting," she said, adding that Mr. Aguirre was fired on Monday.

She said the business performs X-rays, ultrasounds, CAT scans, and MRIs, but does not perform ultrasounds on pregnant women or mammograms.

She said images are not stored at the facility but are transmitted electronically to radiologists immediately after the procedures are done.

"We have not identified any patients as being our own as of yet," Ms. Vela said.

Chief Blough said police worked with a Huron County sheriff's deputy to execute a search warrant at his home, where they seized computers and about 300 copied DVDs. Mr. Aguirre, for his part, was cooperative.

"We asked him where he worked and he told us," the chief said. "Later in the interview he said he had perhaps done some things wrong, but he had never hurt anyone. I told him, 'You realize you can hurt someone without laying a hand on them.'"



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