NCPD arrest suspect for rape at behavioral center

Powell (provided)

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- Police have made an arrest in a rape case at Palmetto Lowcountry Behavioral Health Center after a female patient and her roommate accused a man of entering their room and raping one of the women while she slept.

Police have arrested Ricardo Cyril Powell, 27, and charged him with criminal sexual assault in the first degree.

Court records say Powell is charged with criminal sexual conduct in the second degree, assault with intent of criminal sexual conduct in the first degree and trespassing.

Powell told a bond court judge he no longer lives at Palmetto Lowcountry, but would not answer if he was still on probation for previous charges.

"What type of probation, what type of probation, I don't understand, I don't understand, I don't understand," Powell said in bond court Friday.

He also told the judge he doesn't plan to get an attorney.

According to a police report, the incident happened the morning of June 13 at the Speissegger Drive facility. The victim said she went to bed around 9 p.m. the night before and woke up about 90 minutes later because her roommate was yelling and telling her to get up.

The report states staff members were also in the room trying to wake the woman, who had apparently taken her prescribed sleeping medication and was unaware she had been sexually assaulted.

The victim's underwear were around her ankles, according to the report.

Based on the description provided by the victim's roommate, medical officials were able to identify the man. According to the report, the roommate thought the man was initially a technician at the facility, but was able to identify him by name when he tried to force himself on her.

When hospital officials checked the room of the accused man, he was asleep due to medication that had been given him earlier, the report states.

According to police, there are video cameras in the facility, but staff did not have access to the tapes, so officers were not able to see who entered the room.

According to court records, Powell's bond was set at $200,000.

Palmetto Lowcountry Behavioral Health issued a statement that says in part, "Palmetto Lowcountry has cooperated fully with the authorities concerned with this investigation and will continue to do so until its completion."

The statement also said due to patient privacy laws, they can't discuss specific details.