Gynecologist faces court over intimate photos

Gynecologist faces court over intimate photos
A gynaecologist's office. File photo: DPA
A doctor in western Germany is accused of using cameras hidden in a chair and in pens to take invasive photos of female patients, as well as carrying out examinations "solely for sexual arousal".

The gynaecologist appeared in court on Wednesday, accused with filming medical examinations of numerous women, as well as sexual assault of his patients.  

The 55-year-old from Dortmund, named only as Ralph S, allegedly claimed he was carrying out routine medical examinations in 58 cases between 2010 and 2011, which have been evaluated by the prosecutors as “pointless” and “served only for sexual arousal”, according to DPA.

Using a camera hidden in the chair in his surgery, the doctor filmed vaginal examinations. He also used mini-cameras hidden in pens to photograph his patients' genitals. 

He is also accused of smearing ultrasound gel on patients where there was no medical need.

Prosecutor Bettina Werner stated: “In fact, he committed sexual assault.”

Several women plaintiffs were present in court.

According to DPA, one of his former patients said she found his examinations “peculiar” because “they always lasted several minutes”.

64-year-old victim named as Brigitte G told Bild: “First, he sent out the assistant and moved the chair so high that I could not get up. Then, he waved an object around between my legs. I was scared and didn’t dare say anything.”

The abuse was uncovered when an employee found the camera in the chair and reported it to her boss. In summer 2012, police raided the gynaecologist’s practice in central Dortmund.

His computers and hard drives were confiscated, the pens with hidden cameras were found and evaluation of the video material lasted several months before charges were pressed last year.
The doctor’s lawyer, Oliver Allesch, said “my client denies committing sexual acts. As medical examinations are carried out in a professional way, there are different views about how to conduct them.”

The gynaecologist’s trial began on Wednesday, with the doctor facing up to five years in prison if found guilty of sexual assault, and a maximum of two years for “invasion of the intimate sphere through image recording”.

This is far from being the first case of its kind in Germany; in January this year, a former high-ranking doctor was accused of sexually assaulting 13 women participating in his medical study while they were unconscious. And in 2013, a gynaecologist was jailed after taking pictures of his patients during medical examinations.