$10M civil suit filed against Tibbs and Centra alleges sexual assault

Published 3:11 pm Thursday, March 14, 2019

A $10 million civil suit was filed in Lynchburg Circuit Court against Emory Wayne (E.W.) Tibbs Jr. and Centra Health on March 11, alleging Tibbs, former CEO of Centra Health, committed sexual assault and solicitation while in his role as CEO.

E.W. Tibbs

Tibbs, who was appointed as CEO of Sparrow Health in Michigan in November, has been placed on paid administrative leave in connection with the allegations, which include that Tibbs sexually assaulted a former employee of Centra Health.

According to a statement from Sparrow Health on Wednesday, current Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Joe Ruth has been appointed by the Sparrow Board as acting president & CEO.

“We have been made aware of allegations against Mr. E.W. Tibbs Jr. that occurred prior to his employment at Sparrow,” John Truscott, spokesperson with Sparrow, said in the statement. “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 a statement from Centra Health by Spokesperson Diane Ludwig, she said an internal investigation is being conducted.

“As soon as we were made aware of the allegations involving personal conduct by our former CEO, we began an internal review to determine whether they have any merit,” Ludwig said in the statement. “We are working with an independent third party to conduct a formal investigation of the alleged claims. 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. Centra operates under a strict code of conduct, and we expect all members of our team to exemplify those high standards.”

Tibbs resigned from his Centra post at the end of September 2018.


The civil suit was filed against Tibbs, Centra Health Inc. and 20 unidentified people believed to be employed with Centra Health.

The complaint of the case, provided by Paul Valois, attorney of the plaintiff, alleges that Tibbs sexually assaulted Stephanie Hale, a former employee of Centra Health, in March 2017 when Tibbs was employed with Centra Health.

Hale was hired as a Licensed Practical Nurse to staff a substance abuse rehabilitation facility in Amherst County according to the suit. The suit alleges that Tibbs solicited Hale for sex by email under the pseudonym Ethan Toms prior to the March 2017 incident.

The suit alleges that Hale was terminated from Centra Health in February 2017.

This is a developing report. More information will become available online and in the Wednesday edition of The Charlotte Gazette.