Lori Niell, a nurse who has proclaimed herself a psychic, has not yet been arrested or charged after Colorado Springs and Memorial Hospital accused her publicly of accessing patient records illegally over a year ago at the hospital.
She contends that she is innocent, however, she states that nobody believes her due to not being given the chance to defend herself in a courtroom. Due to the accusations, she has been unable to find employment in the nursing field. Her psychic business is also being affected because once potential clients read what has been said about her in the media, they believe she is a fraud, says Niell.
“I’m out of money, my reputation has been trashed… I’m at the end of my rope. I would like to be charged or not charged so I can move on with my life” she says.
The hospital, as well as city officials, advised the media about how Niell had accessed more than 2,500 patient records from Memorial Hospital illegally via the Physician Link database. They reported that Niell, who was employed by the city for 8 years, did not have work related or medical reasons for accessing these patient records. Niell quit her job during the investigation after being told that she would be terminated if she did not leave voluntarily. As part of the investigative process, police showed up at her house with guns drawn and a search warrant. Among the items they confiscated from her house were a computer, her journals, and some paperwork, she says.
At the time of this investigation, officials made it clear that they did not believe Niell accessed the patient records in the interest of committing identity fraud, but for “personal reasons” instead.
According to Niell, officials believe that she was using the information obtained from the personal records in order to learn about patients and then using that information to convince them she was a psychic, but she states that this is not the reason. She thinks that the real reason for these investigations is because her intuitive abilities made her employers and co-workers uncomfortable and therefore, they chose to target her. She denies charges of accessing these personal records on a wide scale, but has admitted that she did access a few records for reasons that were non-work related, which included phone numbers or addresses of family members or friends.
A Colorado Springs police detective told Niell that her case was passed on for review to the 4th Judicial District Attorney’s Office, but despite making several calls to this office, she was never given the status of the case.
After a reporter made an inquiry on Tuesday, an office spokeswoman informed them that the case was never received in the DA’s office.
It appears that the case still lies in the hands of Colorado Springs police. They claim that it is still an active investigation but there is a backlog of cases being investigated by the department’s computer forensic investigators and this is one of them.
Lieutenant Mark Comte informed The Gazette via email that the department only has two investigators in the computer forensic department and their priority is to investigate crimes against children on the Internet.
“Since the case in question does not involve a threat or danger to a child or others, it was not placed high on the priority list for examination”, says Lt. Comte. He also stated that nine warrants were served just this week to seize computers that were involved in child pornography cases. “As one can thus determine, the two forensic examiners are quite busy.”
Niell argues that although officials did not waste any time to accuse her of the crime, they are now in no rush to prove the accusations.
She sees it in a simpler way, she believes that there have been no charges because no one has found any proof that she’s done anything wrong. She states that she is now looking for a lawyer.
“It doesn’t take a psychic to figure out what’s happened here.”