Family members of a sexual assault victim will have to continue waiting for justice.
Driving in from Midland on Sunday, Cody Trimble was preparing to face his sister's attacker in court Monday morning. However because of a large number of other cases, the court decided to postpone 36-year-old Mark Starosta's trial.
Last February, Starosta was a patient at UMC and was arrested for sexually assaulting Cody's sister who was in a vegetative state in the intensive care unit.
Although she is a sexual assault victim, Cody has released his sister's name as he fights to bring justice for 34-year-old Nichole Mikulenka. While Cody is ready to face Startosta, Nichole will never get the chance. She passed away from her mysterious medical condition just weeks after the attack.
"It's so disgusting to me that I really don't want to see his face, but I will go in there… there is nothing that's going to stop me from being there," said Cody Trimble, Nichole's brother. "The only thing you can do is hope the justice system works out the way it should, but as far as me being able to forgive him… I don't see that happening."
Cody says they had moved Nichole to UMC when doctors in Midland couldn't figure out why she was sick. Going through medication after medication nothing was working and Nichole slipped into a catatonic state, and eventually a coma. What came next was too much to handle for Cody and his family.
On February 26, 2011 UMC nurses saw Starosta, a patient at the time, go into Nichole's hospital room in the intensive care unit. The nurse ran to get help and the sexual assault was interrupted. Originally Cody says UMC officials told them Starosta was only in Nichole's room for about four to five seconds. He says that story later changed to 30 to 45 seconds.
"We really don't know the time frame he was in there by himself with my sister. Being in a vegetative state there's nothing you can do. We expected the hospital to at least keep her safe. We were in just total shock," he said. "So many thoughts run through your mind. How could this happen in a hospital, how could this happen period?"
Cody says the attack is sickening, and the only thing UMC has done is give a simple apology and put them in a hotel for a few days to stay in Lubbock when the assault happened.
"Whenever I think about my sister, even if it's a happy moment I will see his image and I'll think about what happened. No matter how happy that image is I have in my mind of Nichole, his image and what he did will always haunt me. There is no way I'll ever be able to forget about this," said Cody.
As of now, Cody and his family are left frustrated as the pain continues. All they can do is wait even longer for their day in court when Starosta's trial will be rescheduled.
Until then, Cody hopes the good memories of his sister will prevail. "Nichole took care of elderly people and she loved what she did. Everybody who came across her fell in love with her the second they met her. Now she's gone and she will never be replaced. No question about it," he said.
Starosta is officially charged with aggravated sexual assault of a disabled or elderly person because Nichole was in a vegetative state. His trial date should be rescheduled in the next few weeks.
As far as UMC, Cody says they're talking with an attorney to see what, if anything can be done to hold the hospital accountable.
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