A 49-year-old man accused of sexually assaulting a fellow patient at San Francisco General Hospital in June was exonerated in court today after DNA tests confirmed there had been no contact between the men. Irving Jovel had been charged with forced sodomy and digital penetration against an incapacitated person for the alleged attack on a male patient on June 5. Prosecutor Ira Barg today asked a San Francisco Superior Court judge to dismiss the charges, citing “insufficient evidence to prove this case beyond a reasonable doubt.” According to Jovel’s attorney, public defender Carmen Aguirre, the alleged victim in the case is quadriplegic and has difficulty communicating but made the accusations after his family found him in a hospital bed with bloody stool. Jovel, who has “cognitive brain injuries,” had a bed in the same room, Aguirre said. She also said the alleged victim has severe hemorrhoids. “It was like the perfect storm of suspicious facts from the beginning,” she said. DNA results came back in early August “that excluded my client’s DNA from being in any of the samples taken from the victim,” Aguirre said. “That’s the lesson,” she said. “It’s important to wait until all the evidence is in.” District attorney’s office spokesman Seth Steward said prosecutors agreed with the DNA findings. Additionally, reports that the alleged victim had been left unattended in his hospital bed for several hours prior to the alleged incident were “completely untrue,” Aguirre said. She said the police report contradicted that account. The family of the alleged victim filed a civil claim against the city of San Francisco, but the claim was denied, according to the city attorney’s office. It was not immediately known whether the family is moving ahead with a lawsuit. Jovel’s family was “devastated” at the allegations against him, Aguirre said. Aguirre said Jovel will go back to the medical unit at the hospital and await placement into a long-term care facility. She is now working to get his arrest expunged, in order to make his chances at placement easier.
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