Dentist denies sexual assault of dental nurse

A jury of eight men and four women was sworn in yesterday to hear a case against a Cork dentist who denied sexually assaulting a nurse at his practice shortly before Christmas 2006.

John Tait, aged 60, of Glen House, Upper Rochestown, Cork, pleaded not guilty to a single charge of sexually assaulting a dental nurse at his surgery at 6, St Patrick’s Terrace, Douglas, on Dec 20 that year.

The complainant testified the dentist offered her free dental treatment shortly after she commenced work in the practice.

The young woman testified yesterday that Mr Tait asked her to remove her bra and she said she agreed to do so in a bathroom and then returned for the dental examination.

She said he later unzipped her tunic to examine her back and lifted her vest to expose her breasts for about a minute while carrying out the dental examination.

She said yesterday that at the time it was happening she did not express any objection and told Judge Raymond Fullam and the jury that her view of the defendant’s actions then was that: ‘I thought he must be right.’

She said the dentist explained it was a particular dental examination known as TMJ.

She said the disputed incident occurred in the surgery in the middle of the morning and that no one other than herself and Mr Tait was present at the time.

The complainant’s mother said that her daughter phoned her that day to say that during the dental examination, the dentist had looked at her breasts.

The young woman’s mother advised her to continue working, that she would think about it and talk to her about it later at home.

The complainant’s mother told Michael Collins, prosecuting, that her daughter was berating herself when she came home for what had happened in the dental surgery, saying what a fool she had been.

Meanwhile, Tim O’Leary, defending, said that Mr Tait would deny ever asking the woman to remove her bra or pulling down the zip on her tunic.

“And ultimately he did not then pull up the thermal vest — even for a matter of seconds — or any length of time and expose your breasts.

“He said none of that happened. Do you disagree with that?” Mr O’Leary asked.

The complainant said she did disagree.

Mr O’Leary said to the woman that she was happy to do the things of which she complained in relation to the incident.

She replied: “Yes, I trusted him.”

The case continues today.


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