A doctor has been struck off and condemned as a “sexual predator” by a medical tribunal after he molested a patient whilst giving her a back massage.
Married GP Matthew Gale, 57, had been rubbing the woman’s lower spinal area during a consultation at his surgery when he suddenly slipped one his hands between her legs.
As he did so the unnamed woman - known as Patient A - declared: ‘’That’s not going to help my back’’ - causing Gale, to pull his hand away and reply: “Do you think you could forgive me for what I just did and want I wanted to do?”
Police in Chorley later quizzed the family doctor - who proclaims himself as a ‘lover of Jesus’ who ‘admires the beauty of God’s creation’ - after the woman complained.
He accepted a caution after admitting he fondled the patient for his own sexual gratification saying: “I’m not really sure what made me do it”.
At the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service in Manchester, Gale who been working at the Chorley Health Centre for 28 years and who is said to be a “committed member” of the Living Waters Church admitted misconduct charges.
He was not at the hearing but sent a letter to the disciplinary panel admitting his actions were “completely defenceless” and “wholly wrong”. He has since taken early retirement saying the incident had “destroyed” his career.
The assault occurred on November 6 2013 when the woman went to Gale complaining of lower back problems. She said the GP moved the massage to her bottom after pulled down her underwear. She said she wanted to ‘bring it to an end’ without causing embarrassment to either herself or the doctor.
The patient initially didn’t tell her husband because Dr Gale was treating their son and she decided at first she wanted to “put it to the back of her mind”.
But in November 2014 she had a change of heart and made a complaint about what happened to her and Dr Gale was interviewed on December 3 2014 where he admitted what had happened.
Lawyer for the General Medical Council, Christopher Rose said: “She says Dr Gale started the massage on the lower part of her back and then pulled down her knickers and started to massage a lot lower.
“He started to massage her buttocks and she wanted to bring it to and end without causing either of them any embarrassment. He massaged her buttocks on at least two occasions.
“Then he asked if she wanted him to massage her thighs, she said ‘no it’s my back that hurts’. She felt extremely embarrassed and uncomfortable.
“He then slid one hand between her legs towards her genitalia. She said very firmly, ‘that’s not going to help my back’. He pulled his hand away and said ‘I’m sorry, do you think you could forgive me for what I just did and what I wanted to do?’
“She said ‘let’s just pretend it never happened’. He then left her to get dressed. She didn’t tell her husband because the doctor had been treating their son and she had so much going on in her life she just wanted to put it to the back of her mind.”
The patient and her family then moved surgeries in Spring of 2014 and she decided to put in a complaint in November 2014.
Mr Rose said: “Dr Gale made no attempts to report the matter and kept quiet about it. She was spoken to on November 13 2014 by police and provided a witness statement to them.
“She concluded her statement saying she believed she was the victim of a sexual assault, he touched her in a sexual manner with no legitimate reason, for his own sexual gratification.
“As a result of that Dr Gale was interviewed by the police on December 3 2014. Having established that he did indeed give her a massage he said he massaged her lower back, upper back and then touched her genitalia through her underwear. He said at that point she asked him to stop which he did.
“He was asked whether providing a massage went outside the boundaries and he accepted that he was not trained to give her a massage.
“He said ‘I’m not really sure what made me do it’. He was then asked why he decided to touch her genitalia and his answer was ‘I guess I was aroused’.
“He was asked whether the reason he touched her was for his own sexual gratification and replied ‘sadly’. He’s guilty of the offence of sexual touching and said it as highly inappropriate and he should have never offered her a massage.
“He accepted a simple caution for the offence. On March 31 2016 we received a letter from him. He agreed to all the facts and said that the incident showed a wholly inappropriate attitude. He then said as a result of what happened he decided to resign from general practicing and took early retirement and essentially that had ended his career.
“He said it was completely defenceless, wholly wrong and it had destroyed his career. He said it impacted badly on the patients he had, his wife and family. He apologised for his actions and accepts he was guilty.”
The hearing continues and Gale now faces being struck off as a doctor.