‘Doctor molested grieving teenager’

2010-03-02 00:00

A YOUNG woman described in the regional court in Pietermaritzburg yesterday how a doctor, who was her father’s friend, sexually molested her behind closed curtains in a private hospital ward in the capital on February 9, 2006.

At the time, the alleged victim was 17 years old. She had been hospitalised after collapsing at school the previous day.

Regional magistrate S. Mngomezulu permitted The Witness to hear and report on the in-camera evidence of the complainant without revealing her identity, but also ruled at the request of defence advocate Yoga Moodley SC that the identity of the accused doctor should be witheld at this stage.

Moodley submitted that the repercussions of the case were far-reaching for his client and said it would be fair to offer him the same protection as the complainant until the court reaches its conclusion.

The 33-year-old doctor has pleaded not guilty to a charge of indecent assault arising from the allegations.

The young woman — now 21 years old — told the court that when she collapsed at school one day, her father fetched her.

On the way to the hospital, he telephoned the accused and arranged for him to see her there.

When she arrived on the first day, the doctor gave her a brief examination, wrote notes and prescribed medication.

When she returned the next afternoon, a nurse was present, but after a short time, the doctor had excused the nurse saying she was not needed.

The woman said that after the nurse left, the accused drew the curtains around her completely. He then approached her and asked her what was wrong as he said he could see “something was getting me down”.

“I explained to him about my boyfriend having died that December … After I told him about how he died, he wanted to give me a hug. He pulled me up and gave me a hug. He then put me down slowly. While doing that he was staring at me … He then kissed me,” she said.

The young woman said the doctor had kissed her on the lips and put his tongue into her mouth. He had also put his hand onto her left breast and squeezed it in a sexual way.

She testified that when the doctor saw her facial expression, which was shocked and confused, he commented, “Oh, No lumps.”

The woman said she had previously had breast examinations for lumps and they were “completely different” to the way in which the accused had touched her.

She alleged that as the examination continued he had also sexually molested her in the genital area.

Afterwards he wanted to hug her again, but she did not want him to, she said.

He had also looked at her in a “lustful manner” and told her he would return later that night and they would “go for a walk”.

He left after giving her a “quick kiss on the lips”.

The woman said the doctor had asked for her cellphone number, but she did not give it to him.

She said she did not cry out or raise the alarm when she was molested because she had been too shocked.

As far as she could remember the other four beds in the ward were occupied at the time, she said.

The woman said when her best friend came to visit, she told her about what had happened. “I told her I felt used, abused, violated and extremely dirty,” she testified wiping tears from her eyes.

The woman said she had told her psychiatrist that night that the doctor in question was a “bad” man, but was afraid to say more to her.

The next day she had told her psychologist, Claire, everything that had happened.

Claire offered to tell her parents and promised she would not let the doctor come near her again. From then on, she was treated by a different doctor.

She laid a charge with the police only about a month after the incident as she had to “deal with it” first.

She testified the events had a “huge” impact on her and affected “every angle” of her life including her relationships and studies.

The case is continuing.

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