Police doctor investigated for sexual abuse against three officers

Three policewomen have reported the doctor, most recently last week, after which he was removed from his post

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BarcelonaA doctor from the Department of Home Affairs, with the initials J.P.D., has been reported for sexual abuse by three policewomen whom he saw in the autumn of 2019. The first report was filed in February 2020. Home Affairs, then in the hands of JxCat, decided the man could continue to see women as long as he was accompanied by a nurse. It was not until November last year that the department, now ERC's hands, opened disciplinary proceedings against the doctor and banned him from seeing women patients until there was a final finding. Since then two more complaints have been filed: one in February this year and another last Friday, which led to the man's arrest. This month Home Affairs has suspended him without pay.

The case was brought forward by Tv3's Planta baixa, which interviewed two of the denouncing officers. The first victim reported the doctor for sexual abuse she suffered in September 2019 and told that, after explaining what had happened, the head of psychology at Home Affairs told her that they had agreed that the doctor would only see patients in the presence of a nurse, and that she "should understand" he was a colleague. The woman, "unhappy" with the response, ended up reporting the doctor, but no action was taken either. The man had been working for Home Affairs since July 2017 in the Department's occupational health surveillance team, which serves all department workers in the same building: as well as police, firefighters and civil servants use the service.

When ERC took over the Department and found out about the case, Department sources say legal and psychological support was offered to this first victim. After a few months, after they had gathered all the information, the doctor was banned from seeing any more women. Three months ago, in February, another officer reported the same man for sexual abuse. The woman refused Home Affairs' legal and psychological support.

Released with charges

The third victim became known last Friday when a woman, in a meeting with the police director over a different issue, stated that she had been sexually abused by the doctor. That same day she filed a complaint and the police arrested the man, who on Sunday was taken to court and released with charges for a crime of sexual abuse with the aggravating circumstance of carnal access, which can carry a penalty of between four and ten years in prison. The woman accepted legal and psychological support from Home Affairs.

As for the first case, as until now it had been handled separately –it remains to be seen if now they will all be brought together in the same case–, Home Affairs had already considered the facts and asked for a sentence of two and a half years in prison for the man. The Department is also studying the possibility of appearing in the case of the second victim, who waived legal support. Home Affairs has offered an external psychological team's assistance to the women and is reviewing the body's sexual harassment protocol, which was approved under two years ago. It will seek to address the fact that the first officer did not receive support at an earlier stage.

The SAP-Fepol police union "has encouraged" other possible victims of the doctor to come forward. It has pointed to the man as "the only guilty party", who "took advantage of his status as a doctor to attack the sexual freedom of female colleagues". She has also asked Home Affairs to make "self-criticism" and "modify" what failed in the support and legal advice of women in order to "improve" the system.