Woman suing South Hadley physical therapist, CDH over indecent assaults


Staff Writer
Published: 10/3/2022 7:46:02 PM

NORTHAMPTON — A Florence woman who accused her physical therapist of inappropriately touching her, leading to Edward Kostek’s conviction on indecent assault charges last month, is suing Kostek and his former employer, Cooley Dickinson Hospital.

The victim is seeking $225,000 for assault and battery, negligence and infliction of emotional distress. She alleges Kostek’s behavior during three treatment sessions in January 2021 was “lewd” and he “invasively” touched private areas of her body.

According to the lawsuit filed in Hampshire Superior Court, the victim sought treatment for neck and back injuries at Cooley Dickinson Hospital Rehabilitation Services at 8 Atwood Drive, after a car accident. She alleged that Kostek touched her buttocks and bare breasts, and put his hand in her pants to touch her thighs and groin, with no chaperone present.

As a matter of policy, the Gazette does not identify victims or alleged victims of sexual assaults.

“Plaintiff did not return for any other physical therapy appointments due to the invasive, bizarre treatment she received” in the first three sessions, the complaint reads. “Plaintiff was in fear for her safety due to (Kostek’s) behavior and treatment of her. Plaintiff suffered and continues to suffer from anxiety due to this experience.”

Kostek, 42, of South Hadley, was sentenced last week to two years of probation plus a two-year suspended jail sentence, which will only be triggered if he violates probation; he has asserted his innocence. His defense attorney told a judge that Kostek’s “career is over.”

In court filings, Kostek said he plans to appeal his conviction and file a motion to ask that the lawsuit, filed in April, be placed on hold until the appeal is decided. On Sept. 26, a judge allowed a continuance to prepare that motion.

Cooley Dickinson spokeswoman Christina Trinchero, said Kostek’s “conviction and sentencing marks an incredibly difficult and painful time. As the legal process pertaining to this case continues to progress, we will refrain from offering further comment.”

She added that the hospital is “committed to providing a safe, welcoming environment to all who come through our doors seeking care.”

Attorney David Hoose said his office “is representing Mr. Kostek on all post-conviction matters” and is “investigating all avenues of relief. We will have no further comment.”

The defendants have asked the court to reclassify the case as a matter of medical malpractice or negligence. They argued that state law requires the case to be heard by a tribunal consisting of “a single justice of the superior court, a physician licensed to practice medicine in the commonwealth … and an attorney authorized to practice law in the commonwealth.”

The victim disagreed, urging the court not to reclassify the case. In her own motion, her attorney wrote that the lawsuit is about Kostek’s “intentional” actions and the hospital’s employment practices, not an error in medical treatment.

An attorney for the victim did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Brian Steele can be reached at bsteele@gazettenet.com.
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