Health professional on sex charges

BEN HEATHER
Last updated 13:01 03/03/2014

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A health professional who had sex with a student staying at his home says his offending left him feeling like a "monster".

The Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal is today hearing evidence as to whether the man, who has name suppression, should have his practising licence cancelled.

The man is not contesting that he failed to meet professional standards.

Professional conduct committee lawyer Kate Feltham said the man began sexually grooming the student within six weeks of her arrival and had had sex with her as often a three times a week until the day she left.

The student's English was poor and she was isolated from friends and family, she said.

The man started by touching her breasts and subsequently went to her bedroom during the night and had sex with her while the rest of the family slept.

He had used her isolation and vulnerability to exploit her sexually, Feltham said.

"He should have been acutely aware of her vulnerability but he continued to prey on her."

He had also continued to intentionally deceive her family overseas, something they said they cannot forgive, she said.

The man gave an emotional statement before the tribunal saying his conduct had hurt the young woman, his family and friends.

"Thinking about what I've done makes me wonder sometimes who I even am," he said.

He had brought his profession into disrepute but had never offended sexually in any way against any of his patients, he said.

His offending occurred during a time of high stress both personally and professionally.

He had convinced himself that the student wanted to enter into the sexual relationship, he said.

As the student became more distressed, he realised he had acted "very badly and taken advantage of her in a difficult situation for her", he said.

"I said that to her and that I was very, very sorry."

The man was sentenced  in the High Court in Wellington last year to nine months' home detention for the sexual offending.

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- The Dominion Post

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