A respected GP, who molested eight female patients aged eight to forty, for his "own sexual gratification" was jailed for two years today.
Despite repeated complaints about Dr. Markandu Ragupathy, 62, (pic.top) at the South London surgery he continued to abuse patients for almost a decade.
Dr. Ragupathy, a senior practise partner and also the surgery's child protection leader, convinced fellow doctors and staff the multiple complaints were the result of a "misunderstanding" or "miscommunication."
"The victims were eight of your female patients and occurred over a period of ten years while you were a general practitioner," Woolwich Crown Court Judge Andrew Lees told the doctor.
"Those eight patients trusted you as their doctor to carry out proper examinations and you abused that trust by touching them in sexual ways.
"They were vulnerable and thought you were carrying out necessary examinations. You touched them to satisfy your own sexual gratification.
"This is clearly a case of a serious abuse of trust by you in relation to your patients," added the judge. "This was a course of conduct that took place over ten years and continued after you knew complaints were being made."
The doctor, a married man with children, continued to be supported by his relatives in court.
"I know you are a family man," Judge Lees told the first-time offender. "I know there will be hardship in prison."
Dr. Ragupathy will sign the Sex Offenders Register for ten years and a Sexual Offences Prevention Order was made, prohibiting him being employed in a medical capacity or any capacity which brings him into contact with children under sixteen years-old.
"This is for the protection of the public from serious harm," said Judge Lees.
He denied the charges, forcing his many victims to give evidence, and prosecutor Mr. Toby Fitzgerald told the jury he: "Used his position of trust to satisfy his own sexual gratification and curiosity."
From the mid-90's until 2007 the GP, of Den Close, Beckenham, was employed at the Torridon Road Medical Practice in Catford, (pic.bottom) where seven of the complainants were sexually assaulted.
"The defendant remained free at the practise to sexually assault other patients and believed the practise would accept any explanation and for some years he was correct in thinking this," added Mr. Fitzgerald.
Dr. Ragupathy was convicted of seven indecent assaults, one attempted indecent assault and one sexual assault. He was found not guilty on nine similar counts.
Patient B, 16, saw Dr. Ragupathy with breathlessness. "He put the stethoscope on her left breast and massaged the breast with the stethoscope. She felt disturbed by how the defendant behaved."
Patient C, 20, saw the GP for a suspected tonsillitis. "During the appointment he lifted her jumper and bra, exposing her left breast and lifted it with his hand and repeated with the right breast and said: 'Your chest if fine'."
Patient D, 8, had a chest infection when she attended an appointment with her mother.
"The defendant touched her inner thighs and between her legs and there was no good reason for this. He simply took his chance to touch her this way."
Patient E, 15, saw the GP while pregnant and with flu symptoms. "The defendant locked the door and began to feel all over her breasts."
Patient F, 30, was wheezing when she saw the doctor. "He placed the stethoscope on her right breast and asked if she was in a relationship."
Patient G, 30, had a thigh rash. "The defendant pulled her knickers to one side. He just took the chance, which he saw as a sexual opportunity."
She returned with bruising inflicted by her boyfriend. "The defendant put his hands inside the waistband of her jeans and pulled them towards him and asked: 'What colour knickers have you got on?"
Patient H, 36, was three months pregnant when she saw Dr. Ragupathy for the first time.
"He announced he needed to check her breasts while holding out his cupped hands. He said he needed to check if she was able to breast feed,"
Patient I, 40, had a rash and was visited at home by the defendant, who was also employed by an out-of-hours service.
"The defendant asked her to sit on his lap so he could listen to her chest and later made a comment about making a woman of her.
"He then went to his car for some medical cream and rubbed it into her chest."
Judge Lees sentenced Dr. Ragupathy to two years' imprisonment for the offence relating to the eight year-old and on all the other charges he received twelve months to run concurrent.
"He has retired from medical practice and he will not be going back," said Mr. Alan Jenkins, defending.
"Others will ensure that does not happen. He does not pose a risk to anyone apart from patients."
Dr. Ragupathy is currently suspended by the General Medical Council and misconduct proceedings will follow.