Sparrow CEO caught on camera leads to sexual assault lawsuit

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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - "You got the money? You got the money? You got the money? Give it, give it to me"

Words spoken, caught on tape, in a hotel room between a woman's boyfriend and her boss.

Now, sexual assault allegations, a blackmail plot, and a hospital CEO under investigation less than three months into his new job.

Sparrow Health System placed E .W. Tibbs on paid administrative leave Wednesday afternoon, hours after News 10 broke the story of the sex-assault lawsuit.

Tibbs started at Sparrow in January after leaving Centra Health in Virginia.

The lawsuit was filed by a former registered nurse there.

The details sound like something out of a pulp novel.

The plaintiff claims E. W. Tibbs started sending the nurse sexually suggestive e-mails under a fake name.

That act enraged her boyfriend who sent messages back and set up a meeting at a hotel room where Tibbs would pay the woman for sex.

She says he wanted to get video of Tibbs and blackmail him with it.

The video is attached to this story - we've had to mute it because there's so much swearing.

The woman claims Tibbs sexually assaulted her just before her boyfriend started trying to get into the room.

The video shows Tibbs come out of the bathroom and try to diffuse the situation.

The plaintiff claims he then threw a wad of money on the floor and left.

Sparrow says Tibbs was thoroughly vetted by a search firm before he was hired -- and that none of this information came out.

A spokesman tells us there haven't been any complaints about Tibbs since he started in January.

John Truscott told News 10, "There are no complaints that I'm aware of. He's been on the board for several weeks at this point and people have been impressed with him and what he's been doing as far as leadership. But this is an extenuating circumstance that nobody was aware of. We want to make sure this is thoroughly checked and vetted, and the appropriate decisions will be made after that."

Sparrow says Tibbs will stay on leave while a thorough investigation is conducted.

Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Joe Ruth has been named acting president and CEO.

Sparrow has been a part of mid-Michigan since 1896 and to hear the company mentioned in a story like this is not at all expected.

The company's spokesman, John Truscott, addressed that on Wednesday, telling News 10 the whole situation is just sad.

"I'm involved with Sparrow, I have a family member with Sparrow, the care that they're offering to their patients is nothing short of amazing. They do a really wonderful job. This incident will not change that at all."

We asked the plaintiff's lawyer why the lawsuit was filed now when the alleged assault happened two years ago.

He told us the woman was content to move on with her life after Tibbs left Centra Health, until she found out Sparrow hired him.

He says she filed the lawsuit to make sure none of this happens again.