A Muslim-run, Muslim-only facility in Utah has been hit by a new round of scrutiny after the Associated Press reported that a woman who was a patient at the facility claimed she was subjected to forced anal sex.
The allegations came to light Wednesday after the AP published an interview with the woman, who was not identified by name in the article.
A spokeswoman for the facility, Ashram Institute in Payson, said the woman did not have a sexual relationship with any staff member and that she is not a patient.
“We cannot comment on allegations of patient confidentiality,” said the spokeswoman, Yvonne Smith.
“This matter has been investigated by the Utah Attorney General’s Office and the Utah Health Department.
We are not going to discuss this in public, so it is unclear what will happen to the patient.”
The AP reported that the woman alleged that she was given a small amount of “sugar” and forced to perform oral sex on staff members while she was undergoing treatment at the Ashram facility.
She told the AP that the staff members made it clear to her that they did not want her there.
She also alleged that after she declined to perform the oral sex, she was left alone and that staff members “put their hands down her pants” and “pushed her up against a wall.”
The woman was not a licensed medical doctor and was not allowed to practice medicine, the AP reported.
The AP identified the woman as Zia Farah, who works as a nurse at the center and was a resident there when she was hospitalized for an infection in January.
The facility has a strict policy on female genital mutilation, a practice in which female inmates are forced to have sex with male inmates to prevent the spread of the disease.
The practice has been legal in the United States since 1973, but it has been illegal in the state of Utah since 2004.
The Associated Press was not able to reach Farah for comment.
The Utah health department told the Associated News that it has “no comment” on the allegations.
In a statement, the Health Department said that it “does not comment on matters of patient privacy and will cooperate fully with the investigation.”
Farah is a practicing Muslim, a position she has held for nearly three decades.
In her time at the hospital, Farah said she has received medical care that was considered “unqualified” for a woman.
“I have been treated well by staff,” she said in the AP interview.
“They do not treat me like a second-class citizen, or as some kind of dirty little slut, or like an outsider, or anything of that nature.”
In addition to the allegations of sexual misconduct, the Utah health Department also announced that it would be conducting a review of all the women who had visited the facility.
“As we do with any health care facilities that receive federal funds, we will take the appropriate steps to ensure that those facilities are safe and sound and that those who may have been victimized are properly identified,” said Dr. Jennifer Pyle, the health department’s assistant director of public affairs.
Farah’s lawsuit alleges that she filed a sexual harassment complaint with the health care provider in January 2016.
She said in her lawsuit that she went to the hospital to seek treatment after her family members had gone to a local hospital and her husband was in critical condition.
“It is my hope that these allegations will encourage others to come forward and report abuse and other misconduct that may occur at a Utah facility, especially in regards to female health care workers,” Pyle said in a statement.
Faragah’s attorney, Richard C. Grosman, said that he believes the claims against the facility are baseless.
“There is no basis to the lawsuit,” he said.
“These are the kinds of allegations that get thrown around, and the allegations are false.
Faragagah was released from the hospital on January 6.