Doctor cleared of sexually assaulting female patient

Dr Steven Pearse-Danker denies the charge.

Dr Steven Pearse-Danker denies the charge. - Credit: Archant

A jury has found a GP not guilty of sexually assaulting a patient during an out-of-hours consultation at Clevedon Community Hospital last year.

Steven Pearse-Danker, aged 59, was cleared of ‘intimately touching’ the 22-year-old after she attended a consultation on August 2 with what she believed to be a urinary tract infection.

The doctor, of Hawthorn Hill in Worle, told jurors at Bristol Crown Court last week that the patient pressed on his hand as he was examining her stomach.

He said he was concerned the woman’s symptoms could have indicated a serious underlying condition and said her behaviour ‘shocked’ him.

Dr Pearse-Danker told the court: “When I put my hand there (on her abdomen), I was not looking at her at that moment in time.

“I felt pressure from above pressing my hand into her stomach.

“I did not know what it meant and it was not clear to me what the touch indicated, but it was out of the ordinary.

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“At that stage, I had not satisfied myself that there was not something seriously wrong. I decided to finish the exam as quickly as possible and get away.

“I was so surprised and shocked about it. I would have thought if there was a problem she would have grabbed my hand and pulled it away (but) she actually pressed it into her stomach.”

The patient, who cannot be named for legal reasons, alleged the doctor began the examination by pressing on her lower back and abdomen, but then moved his fingers downwards to touch her in an intimate area.

Dr Pearse-Danker was found not guilty of one charge of sexual assault by jurors at Bristol Crown Court on Monday.

* For the full story, pick up a copy of Wednesday’s Times.