Doctor accused of sexual assault on patient

An American doctor with a Polish background who practised in Midleton for several months in 2012 was put on trial by judge and jury yesterday on a charge of sexually assaulting a female patient.

Michael Obrowski pleaded not guilty to a charge of sexually assaulting the patient, a woman in her mid-twenties.

She testified that she went to the doctor at Corabbey Court, Midleton, Co Cork, complaining of stomach pain and diarrhoea and that the doctor conducted an examination of her breasts, vagina, and rectum.

At the outset of the trial, the complainant was sworn in and said: “I would like to withdraw my complaint.”

She said it would close a chapter and that she did not want to think about it any more.

Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin asked the witness: “Are you refusing to give evidence?”

She replied: “I am not refusing, no.”

Barrister Siobhán Lankford then opened the case to the jury and formally called the complainant to give evidence. The woman said there was no examination table in the surgery and that the doctor told her to lie down on the floor and that he put a sheet on her.

“He said he would examine my breast size,” she said. “He also did a vaginal examination and a rectal examination. He said: ‘Have you shaved for me?’ And I said: ‘No.’

“He told me to lie down on the floor. He did a vaginal examination and a rectal examination with no reason.”

She said the vaginal examination took place when she was lying flat on the floor.

“He examined me like the gynaecologist does, putting his fingers in my vagina,” she said. “He was wearing gloves. Rectal examination was the same. He put his fingers in my rectum.”

Donal O’Sullivan, defence barrister, put it to the complainant that she was completely wrong and that it did not happen.

“Not alone did he not do it, but the surgery was not open at the time,” he said.

Mr O’Sullivan said the complainant claims it happened in March 2012 but that the surgery did not open until April 2 and he called on a painter to give evidence of painting the premises days before this.

Mr O’Sullivan said there was a bed. The painter said there was what he described as a massage table there when he was present.

Mr O’Sullivan said the complainant told gardaí that Mr Obrowski told her to strip off totally and gave her a towel.

In the witness box, she said she put down what she was wearing below the waist and left her top on and was under a sheet.

Mr O’Sullivan said: “If you were asked to strip totally you would remember that. You are saying something completely different now.”

She replied: “It was so long ago. I do remember but not everything.”

Mr Obrowski said he was a physician for 17 years and decided to open a practice in Midleton, especially for Polish patients as he spoke English and Polish.

He said he did not see the complainant in his surgery and did not examine her in the manner described.

He said he had severe spinal injuries from accidents in 1982 and 1987 and could only examine patients while standing and with them on a relatively high table.

Commenting generally on her allegations, he said: “There is no truth to it at all.”

The trial continues.


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