Belfast GP had sex with abuse victim and called it therapy, tribunal is told
A family doctor had illicit sex sessions with a troubled patient saying it was “therapy'' for her to deal with a childhood sexual abuse ordeal, a tribunal has heard.
Dr Kenneth Thompson (68) had intercourse with the married mother in sexual encounters at his surgery — claiming it would “save her marriage”, it was claimed.
He denies misconduct.
The GP had earlier said he had studied to be a counsellor and a psychiatrist after the patient confided to him that she had been raped by various members of her family when she was a child.
But it was alleged Thompson began molesting the woman during intimate examinations then had intercourse with her over a table — claiming it was a “demonstration'' of how she should have sex with her husband.
The doctor also encouraged her to walk about the house naked and to bathe in front of her children, and asked her to visit him wearing a white tennis skirt she had told him about, it was said.
A General Medical Council (GMC) hearing in Manchester was told the woman, known as EC, was one of three patients who made complaints about Thompson at the Belfast surgery between July 2003 and December 2005.
EC said she initially went to see the GP in October 2003 because of stomach pains but during a subsequent consultation she told him of sexual abuse she suffered between the age of six and 15. She told him she was having trouble sleeping and was having nightmares about the abuse.
Giving evidence via video-link she told the hearing: “It came up in a conversation between Dr Thompson about counselling and Dr Thompson claimed he had been a counsellor and he would counsel me for free to try and get over the stress of it.”
EC told the tribunal she mentioned to Dr Thompson about being raped by family members.
“I think I had gone to talk to the doctor about my childhood. I can't remember why and he suggested private counselling on a Monday at 6 o'clock in the surgery.
“We spoke about my childhood, the effect it was having on my marriage and the effect it was having with my husband in our love life.
“I felt it wasn't right because I just didn't feel comfortable, even with my husband. At the start it was all about my self-esteem and how to build it up. He told me I was a pretty looking girl and that I had nothing to worry about, that he had been a psychiatrist and to put my trust in him.”
She said she “fully'' put her trust in Dr Thompson and told him everything.
By Christmas 2003 the patient said she considered the doctor a friend and even bought him a Christmas present.
She said the sessions did begin to change when the doctor examined her back and found she had a curvature of the spine.
She said he also examined her internally because of the pain in her stomach, which occurred after intercourse with her husband.
EC said her home life began to suffer. She explained: “I don't think my husband understood why I was getting counselled.”
On occasions the GP was said to have asked the woman to perform a sex act on him after she claimed it was “her worst fear”.
Counsel to the GMC Paul Williams said it may seem surprising the patient did not realise sooner what was happening but he said, given her past and vulnerability, she was unaware.
He told the hearing: “EC no longer wanted to talk about the sexual abuse she suffered at her father's hands but the doctor encouraged her to talk about it and said that it would allow her to be more sexually open.
“The panel may think it does have the elements of grooming rather than an impulsive act.
“Towards the very end the doctor forced EC to have sexual intercourse during a session, explaining he was showing her a different position to use with her husband. This made EC realise what was happening.”
The hearing was told a friend of EC known as MC and a third woman known as ST made complaints about Dr Thompson.
The hearing continues.