Dentist lifted vest to expose woman's breasts, court told
A YOUNG woman claimed a dentist asked her to remove her bra before unzipping her tunic and then lifting her vest so that her breasts were exposed.
The claim came on the opening day of the trial of Dr John Tait (59), who denies two counts of sexual assault arising from alleged incidents five years ago.
Dr Tait of Glen House, Upper Rochestown, Cork, pleaded not guilty to the charges before Cork Circuit Criminal Court.
He is charged with two counts of sexually assaulting the young woman -- who cannot be identified for legal reasons -- at his practice at St Patrick's Terrace, Douglas, Co Cork, on December 20, 2006.
In evidence, the woman said she was left mortified by what happened.
The young woman revealed she had previously been bullied in school because of her breasts which were very large for her stature.
She had recently undergone breast reduction surgery and was "very uncomfortable" about her breasts.
The court was told she was undergoing a dental examination by Dr Tait that day because he believed that headaches she had been suffering could be linked to the alignment of her jaw and sternum, a condition called TMJ (Temporal Mandibular Joint Dysfunction).
"He started going down my sternum -- he had two fingers in between my breasts," she said.
She said Dr Tait told her she had a low sternum and he could not reach it because of the wire in her bra.
"He hit the wire in my bra (with his finger). He asked me if it was at all possible could I go into the bathroom and take off my bra and come back out with just my tunic and vest on," she said.
The woman agreed to remove the bra -- but Dr Tait then asked could he unzip the tunic to facilitate an examination of her neck.
"He asked me could he zip it down a bit. (But) he zipped it down the whole way."
The woman's tunic slipped down to her waist and, moments later, she was shocked when Dr Tait lifted her vest up to her chin fully exposing her breasts.
"Everything -- my whole breasts were exposed. I was very surprised.
"I looked at his face for a moment. He was looking at my breasts but he still looked professional. I just turned away I felt so uncomfortable," she added.
The woman told her mother what had happened that evening and did not want to take a subsequent phone call from Dr Tait. He left a voice message for her.
"I was mortified -- I was very uncomfortable about my breasts anyhow. I was very embarrassed about them," she said.
Defence counsel Tim O'Leary said that Dr Tait would deny ever asking the woman to remove her bra or ever lifting her vest to see her breasts.
The trial before Judge Rory McCabe and a jury of eight men and four women continues today.