Australia: Surgeon charged with rape in Victoria for removing a condom while having sex

June 5, 2019

Top surgeon charged with rape after removing condom without permission

A prominent surgeon charged with raping a fellow doctor after he allegedly took his condom off without permission while they were having sex has won a court battle to keep treating patients.

The surgeon, who is also an academic, was arrested and charged by Victoria Police in September 2018 after he was involved in a 2017 incident of “stealthing”, the non-consensual removal of a condom, during sex with another male doctor.

Under Victorian law, the non-consensual removal of a condom and continued penetrative sex is classified as rape.

Following the incident, the other doctor raised concerns about being infected with HIV, began to take medication to prevent contracting the disease and asked the surgeon to provide tests verifying his HIV-free status.

Instead, the surgeon, whose named has been suppressed, blocked his calls and texts. 

When charges were laid, the surgeon had his practising licence suspended by the medical board but the ban was lifted after a battle in the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

He is now free to see patients and practise medicine despite the rape charges still hanging over his head and making their way through the courts.

Tribunal documents reveal that the surgeon and the other doctor were known to each other before the alleged rape.

The two had been out to dinner when they decided to return to the other doctor’s home.

According to the alleged victim, at dinner the pair had talked about gay men’s health issues, including various methods of avoiding contracting HIV.

 

Worried about contracting the virus, the doctor told the surgeon that he would not have sex without a condom, and that medication the surgeon was taking to avoid contracting HIV was in his view an added safety net, not a substitute for using a condom.

The doctor told police he was “very upset” and asked the surgeon why he had removed the condom. The surgeon responded only that “it feels better”, according to court documents.

“[The surgeon] clearly understood he had caused the complainant distress and apologised and reassured him that his health was not at risk,” the documents state.

“In this conversation [the surgeon] admitted to previously having unprotected sex with other men, most recently about six weeks ago, where [the surgeon] had never previously said this.”

After the surgeon was charged he quickly told the Medical Board of Australia.

 

After considering the factors leading to the surgeon’s arrest, they suspended his registration as a medical practitioner pending the outcome of the charges.

The surgeon challenged the suspension of his registration, hiring two top-tier barristers, including a QC, to argue the matter in VCAT.

The tribunal lifted the suspension of the doctor’s registration, finding that immediate action against the surgeon was not in the public interest and therefore the Medical Board did not have sufficient grounds to issue a ban when it was told of the charges.

The Medical Board is appealing the decision in the Supreme Court.

The surgeon has been charged with one count of rape and one count of sexual assault.