Doctor pleads not guilty to 10 sexual assault charges
A ROCKHAMPTON plastic surgeon has been ordered to stand trial in relation to 10 charges of sexual assault arising from his conduct during full-body examinations for skin cancers.
Dr Elamurugan Arumugam, who operated out of the Sunshine Plastic Surgery in Rockhampton during the period the alleged offences occurred, entered pleas of not guilty to all 10 charges in the Rockhampton Magistrates Court yesterday after being ordered by Magistrate Jeff Clarke to stand trial.
Mr Clarke handed down his decision after a committal hearing held on October 6 where police handed up 17 exhibits and 11 statements.
The exhibits included medical records, footage from a search warrant executed at the surgery in 2014, a photograph taken by one of the seven complainants and a copy of a letter sent by a witness to a medical watchdog.
The alleged offences occurred in 2009, 2012 and 2013 at the surgery during medical examinations carried out by Dr Arumugam.
Dr Arumugam's defence lawyer Brian McGowran had filed a No Case to Answer application during the committal hearing in relation to seven of the 10 charges.
Mr Clarke said he considered each complaint individually given this application.
He said complainant one alleged during a full-body examination for skin cancers in 2009, Dr Arumugam stood behind her as she stood in her underwear and massaged her stomach, pressing his body against hers from behind and breathing heavily.
Mr Clarke said this alleged incident was reported to a medical watchdog that year.
Another alleged while Dr Arumugan stood behind her as she stood in her underwear alone, he pulled up her underpants into her buttock's crack and then cupped her buttocks with his hand.
Another complainant alleged Dr Arumugan placed his fingers, without gloves, in her mouth for a while as he examined a spot on her lip. He only removed his fingers after she bit down on them.
Some women complained of such oral 'examination' taking place, including one saying the doctor also asked her to suck on his fingers twice.
Mr Clarke said an expert noted oral cavity examinations were not standard practice in medical examinations carried out by plastic surgeons for skin cancers.
Another allegation included Dr Arumugan pushing a skirt up higher than needed.
"All complainants are mature women with experience attending medical examinations," Mr Clarke said.
A date has yet to be set for the trial in the Rockhampton District Court.