Lawsuit alleges sexual misconduct by former Centra CEO

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Woman seeks $10 million in damages

By Tom Wilmoth


            A Lynchburg woman and former Centra employee has filed a $10 million lawsuit against Centra Health Inc. and its former Chief Executive Officer E.W. Tibbs, alleging sexual misconduct on the part of Tibbs.

            Stephanie Ann Hale filed the 11-page lawsuit in Lynchburg Circuit Court Monday. Centra has started an internal investigation into the allegations and sent a letter out to its employees Tuesday concerning that review.

            Sparrow Health System, where Tibbs now serves as CEO, waited to make a statement today on the lawsuit until after a meeting of its board. Tibbs has been CEO of the Lansing, Michigan health system since Jan. 1 of this year. He resigned from Centra last September.


John Truscott issued this statement on behalf of Sparrow Health System:

“We have been made aware of allegations against Mr. E.W. Tibbs, Jr. that occurred prior to his employment at Sparrow. These allegations are disturbing to us and we are taking immediate action. Effective immediately, the Sparrow Board has placed Mr. Tibbs, Jr. on paid administrative leave pending further thorough investigation. This move will have no impact on our patients or staff who provide such great care for our community. Also, effective immediately, current Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Joe Ruth, has been appointed by the Sparrow Board as acting President & CEO."

            In the lawsuit Hale, a former Centra employee,  says she was “stalked, sexually harassed and intimidated” by Tibbs and claims she was eventually fired because she refused his advances. She claims Tibbs sexually assaulted her and injured her at a hotel in Lynchburg on March 12, 2017.

            A Bedford native, Tibbs became President and CEO of Centra in April 2013. Born and raised in Bedford, he  is  a former  nurse and president and CEO of Bedford Memorial Hospital.
            A Centra spokesperson said a third party is looking to see whether the allegations have merit.

            "We are not able to comment directly on the lawsuit at this time, except to say that these are very serious allegations that require an appropriate level of due diligence,"  Diane Ludwig said in a statement. "Centra operates under a strict code of conduct and we expect all members of our team to exemplify those high standards.”

            A Lansing, Michigan newspaper has a short video clip on its website of the alleged encounter with Tibbs.

            The lawsuit is attached to this story.


hale_lawsuit.pdf211.96 KB