Saturday 25 November 2017

Sex-assault trial dentist admits he was unethical

Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

A DENTIST who denies sexually assaulting a young female patient agreed it was unethical to have conducted an examination while alone with her in his surgery.

Dr John Tait (60) has pleaded not guilty to sexually assaulting the woman -- who cannot be identified for legal reasons -- at his practice at St Patrick's Terrace, Douglas, Co Cork, on December 20, 2006.

Yesterday, a senior dental professor told Cork Circuit Criminal Court it was both "unethical and unprofessional" for an experienced male dentist to examine a female patient without a chaperone.

Professor Robert McConnell's comments came as Dr Tait insisted that he had never asked the woman to remove her bra and had not lifted her vest to expose her breasts.

The jury was also told that the Director of Public Prosecutions was withdrawing a charge of a second count of sexual assault against Dr Tait, which also related to the examination.

Prof McConnell -- a consultant attached to UCC's dental school -- said patients would not expect to have their sternum or pectoral region examined as part of a routine dental exam.

Dr Tait insisted he had not asked the young woman to remove her bra to facilitate a specialist Temporal Mandibular Jaw Dysfunction examination.

But he acknowledged that it was unethical to have examined the woman while he was alone with her. "In hindsight, I should have the highlighted chaperone present in the room."

Dr Tait said the sexual assault accusation had been a "devastating experience".

"It has been very hard to live with. I just cannot believe it. The trauma has been phenomenal."

Alignment

Dr Tait, a dentist for 35 years, insisted that the alleged assault never happened.

"I reject these allegations. Under no circumstances did I engage in (any) impropriety. It is not true. It didn't happen."

Dr Tait, of Glen House, Upper Rochestown, said that while he did examine the alignment of the woman's jaw, neck and sternum with her consent, he never touched the wire of her bra. He insisted he had never asked her to remove her bra.

The woman insisted she was left "so uncomfortable" by having her breasts exposed. She had been bullied in school because of the size of her breasts and had undergone reduction surgery.

The trial concludes today.

Irish Independent

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