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BEND, OR -- A Prineville woman faces criminal charges, after she allegedly viewed thousands of patient records without authorization. Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel says it's illegal to violate the privacy of medical patients, but 35-year-old Dawnielle Vaca did just that while working as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) at St. Charles Bend. She's charged with two counts of Computer Crime. 

 

Hummel doesn't believe Vaca planned to sell any of the private information she accessed. He tells KBND News, "If she'd had a financial motive, the charges would've been felony charges. But, she did not have a financial motive; she was just looking at these records out of curiosity. That's still a crime, but the Oregon Legislature has classified it as a misdemeanor." Hummel is confident Vaca knew what she was doing was wrong, "I would not have filed if I thought there was confusion or a mistake here. I allege that this was done intentionally, knowing that she did not have authorization to view these records."
 
The alleged crimes were uncovered during a routine hospital audit. Vaca's employment was terminated by St. Charles, and she's in danger of losing her certification.
 
Vaca is due in court on July 27. Hummel says, "If she pleads guilty, I'll work with the defense attorney and the judge will certainly be involved as well, and there will be a sentence that's fashioned to recognize that she committed a crime, and to recognize the seriousness of these allegations."

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