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NZ: Family GP 'exploited' raped teen for sex (Canterbury)

Publish Date: 29 Jun 2010
Source: NZ Herald
By: Jarrod Booker

A doctor will have to wait to learn his fate, and whether his identity will remain protected, after a tribunal found he exploited a 16-year-old patient for sex.

The Medical Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal found the Canterbury GP, identified as Dr C, twice had sex with the teenager, Ms A, in or about March 1985, while giving her informal counselling after she was raped.

His actions, as her family GP, amounted to "disgraceful conduct", the tribunal said.

His penalty, which could be a fine, a censure, or suspension or removal from the medical register, is still to be determined, as is the future of the suppression order that prevents his name being published.

The tribunal accepted Ms A's versions of events, given to a hearing almost 25 years later, that Dr C twice had sex with her while she was babysitting at his home.

In its decision, released yesterday, the tribunal said Ms A had sought help from Dr C after being raped in February 1985. She trusted him and did not want to talk to a stranger.

"While the tribunal accepts that a friendship had grown up between Dr C and Ms A in her role as a babysitter for his children, it also accepts Ms A's evidence that, as the family doctor, he was someone whom she trusted and from whom she sought comfort.

"The sexual relationship commenced shortly after she had been raped ... and she was clearly emotionally distressed." Dr C must have known she was at risk, the tribunal said.

"This required him to be more concerned for her welfare, not exploiting her vulnerability for his own gratification. The fact she babysat his children was a further reason why he should not have taken advantage of her."

Ms A told the Press newspaper in Christchurch that the tribunal's decision was validating for her.

Dr C's penalty and a decision on his suppression are expected in August.

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