Jul 9, 2021
Earlier this month, a former Mission Viejo emergency room nurse, Paul Alden Miller, was arrested on suspicion of sexually assaulting three patients. Yesterday, a lawsuit was filed in Orange County Superior Court on behalf of one of those survivors.
Zoe Leigh Cooksey, 22, of Costa Mesa was joined by her mother and grandmother on a sidewalk near Providence Mission Hospital for a press conference.
“This has been one of the worst experiences of my life,” Cooksey said. “On March 31, I was sexually assaulted by nurse Paul Miller at Mission Hospital.”
Cooksey was reportedly at the hospital that day as a result of a car accident. In a vulnerable state, Miller allegedly took advantage of Cooksey through his position of power as a nurse, insisting that she needed a catheter which never appeared in medical or billing records.
“Under the control of registered nurse Paul Miller, she was taken to a small dark room with a door, was given morphine and a catheter,” Cooksey’s attorney said. “She was immobilized before she was sexually assaulted.”
Cooksey’s attorney stated that hospital records indicate she was given three shots of morphine, leaving her in the semi-conscious state. Following the alleged assault, Cooksey was reportedly able to text her mother about the incident. She reportedly arrived at the hospital within 10 minutes.
Cooksey’s family notified the Orange County Sheriff’s Department of the incident within 24 hours. Mission Viejo Hospital was reportedly alerted the following day.
Cooksey’s attorney said that although a hospital spokesperson confirmed Paul Alden Miller was immediately terminated from his nurse’s position, he was later charged with assaulting two additional women at the hospital.
“We suspect that personnel like nurses and doctors may have known about his propensity to cause bodily damage against female patients,” Cooksey’s attorney said.
The hospital issued a public statement following Cooksey’s press conference. A portion of the statement read:
“As soon as hospital leadership received the first patient complaint, the hospital took prompt action and immediately placed the caregiver on administrative leave pending a full investigation.”
Since authorities were alerted by Cooksey in March, two additional women have come forward alleging Paul Alden Miller sexually assaulted them. In April, a 68-year-old woman reported an incident. Last month, a 56-year-old woman reported a similar sex crime committed by Miller.
On June 30, Orange County Sheriff’s Department officials arrested 56-year-old Paul Alden Miller, a resident of San Clemente, for sexual elder abuse and sexual battery.
Police believe there may be additional survivors who were sexually assaulted by the ex-nurse. Miller worked at multiple hospitals throughout the region, and his tenure timeline was as follows:
Police are urging anyone with information on Paul Alden Miller to submit a tip online or call 714-647-7419. Anonymous tips may be left at 855-847-6227.
“I was completely betrayed by Mission Hospital,” Zoe Leigh Cooksey said during an emotional statement to reporters. “… I’m not sure that I will ever be the same again.”
Sexual Assault can be a devastating ordeal for survivors, particularly when experienced in supposed safe spaces, such as hospitals, schools, etc. Unfortunately, as confirmed by our partner organization, RAINN (Rape, Incest & Abuse), the majority of sexual assaults are never reported.
Only 310 out of ever 1,000 sexual assaults are ever brought to the attention of police (meaning more than two out of three go unreported). Reporting is especially low in the college-age demographic, which includes survivors like Zoe Leigh Cooksey (only 20% of female students and 32% of non-students ever report sexual assaults). It’s also especially low among elderly survivors, with just 28% ever reporting.
Zoe Leigh Cooksey’s courage to come forward is remarkable. Furthermore, it may have come as a complete surprise to the alleged sexual predator, Paul Alden Miller. According to the charges filed against him, Miller targeted Cooksey – a woman in her 20s – and two older women in their 50s and 60s, respectively. Perhaps Miller identified potential victims by age, knowing that the possibility of being reported was much lower in certain demographics.
Regardless, although it can be incredibly difficult, it is important for survivors of sexual assault to come forward as soon as possible. Doing so helps to ensure that the sexual predator is no longer able to harm victims. Had Cooksey not come forward, Miller would likely still be working as a nurse.
Cooksey publicly encouraged other survivors to come forward.
“If Paul Miller assaulted you, I invite you to be brave and stand with me and together we will hold him accountable for what he did and what this hospital allowed him to do to each of us,” she said during Thursday’s press conference.
DLG is proud to partner with RAINN in the mission to end sexual violence and help increase reporting on the part of survivors. While the #Metoo movement represents significant progress for sexual assault survivors, recent legal decisions, such as the Bill Cosby case, shouldn’t hinder victims from coming forward.
Although the criminal charges were dropped against Cosby, many survivors have successfully brought civil claims against him (and continue to do so). Accordingly, it’s important to remember that the criminal court is only part of the overall justice system. The civil court is another avenue by which survivors of sexual assault may obtain justice and recover financial compensation.
Dordulian Law Group (DLG) offers survivors a different kind of civil legal representation – one that provides additional resources and support beyond mere litigation expertise.
Founded by former sex crimes prosecutor and Deputy District Attorney for Los Angeles County, Sam Dordulian, DLG has become the premier, top-rated, award-wining firm representing survivors in the Los Angeles-area and throughout California. With our four-tiered SAJE Team (Sexual Assault Justice Experts), survivors have 24/7 access to resources and support that can be invaluable during a sometimes stressful and trying legal process.
As a sex crimes prosecutor, Dordulian helped convict some of the community’s most dangerous sexual predators with life sentences. By accumulating over 100 jury trial victories, Dordulian came to realize that survivors of sexual assault may require more than just an experienced and dedicated attorney when navigating the legal system.
Survivors often need access to counseling or victim advocates who are trained in helping individuals come forward on their own terms. Additionally, as sexual assault cases can be challenging to prove under certain circumstances, a professional investigator who can help uncover critical evidence is something all survivors deserve.
Accordingly, Dordulian created the four-tiered SAJE Team, which he leads as the primary litigator on every sexual assault case we handle.
Dordulian is supported by our in-house Chief Investigator, Moses Castillo, who recently retired from the LAPD after a 30-year decorated career (primarily with the department’s elite Abused Child Unit that handles sex crimes). Moreover, the SAJE Team includes an in-house licensed clinical therapist with over 15 years of experience supporting survivors in need, and two in-house licensed and nationally accredited victim advocates who have devoted their lives to helping sexual assault survivors.
With DLG, survivors of sexual assault have complete access to the SAJE Team members 24/7 and according to their needs throughout the legal process.
We believe survivors, and we’re here to help you secure the justice you deserve whenever you’re ready to take that first step and report a predator. DLG’s 98% success record and history of successfully obtaining more than $100,000,000 in settlements and verdicts is a testament to the kind of dedication and personalized commitment we make to each and every client.
When you choose DLG to handle your sexual assault case, we take that responsibility very seriously. We’ll fight to ensure your case reaches a successful conclusion and you recover the maximum financial compensation you deserve.
Contact us today online or by phone at 818-322-4056 to learn more about what makes Sam Dordulian the best sexual assault lawyer in California. Our past results and satisfied client testimonials should give you confidence and peace of mind, knowing that when you bring your sexual assault claim to DLG, it’s in good hands.
Our law firm in Glendale, CA advocates for victims of sexual assault, injury, employment disputes, and personal injury concerns.