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(TASMANIA) Alleged Rape Report: A doctor accused of raping an 11-year-old girl was banned from treating female patients only after an interstate medical board received a separate complaint in a letter from the child #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – Apr.08: The health complaints body in the state he now works in said it was unable to provide details of the complaint because disciplinary proceedings were still under way:

Alleged rape by doctor detailed in child’s letter, as Launceston hospital’s response under spotlight: ‘The doctor is still registered to work but is not allowed to treat girls or women except in an emergency, after he was deemed an “unacceptable risk” to their safety.

updated Yesterday at 11:40pm

A young girl wearing a white dress sits on green grass and smiles at the camera.
Zoe Duncan’s family said she was forever changed by the alleged rape.(Supplied: Craig Duncan)

But the state’s regulator confirmed the complaint was not linked to Zoe Duncan’s allegation the same doctor raped her when she was in the Launceston General Hospital (LGH) with severe asthma in 2001.

That alleged incident was investigated internally, ultimately dismissed by hospital management and only referred to police five months later by her parents Craig and Anne, who had assumed LGH staff or child protection had passed it on.

“[A hospital manager] said Zoe wasn’t upset enough for any sexual misconduct of any nature to have occurred,” Mr Duncan said.

“He then explained away the touching of her breasts, saying that he loved her, putting his fingers in and out of Zoe’s mouth.”

By the time police became involved, there was no forensic evidence. The doctor denied the allegations and the claim was dismissed as unfounded.

In a statement on Tuesday, a Tasmania Police spokeswoman said: “The allegations were investigated by Tasmania Police in 2001. Available evidence did not support charges being laid. 

“We have not yet received a referral from the Department of Health, however Tasmania Police will be referring the matter to the commission of inquiry for investigation.”

The commission of inquiry was already set to examine the LGH’s handling of allegations against paediatric nurse James Geoffrey Griffin.

A young girl smiles at the camera.
A hospital manager said Zoe wasn’t upset enough to have been sexually assaulted.(Supplied: Craig Duncan)

Zoe died from epilepsy in 2017 aged 28. She had refused to return to the LGH after a doctor suggested she was having “pseudo seizures” and needed psychiatric instead of medical treatment.

She has been remembered by her grieving family as passionate about sport, darkly funny and resilient, but forever changed by the alleged rape. The Duncans have shared her story in the hope it helps others.

Alleged rape detailed in letter

Zoe detailed the allegations to the police in a letter when she was 12.

She said she first noticed the “strange man” the night before the alleged incident when she was taken to hospital following a “bad asthma attack”.

“On Saturday after lunch I was taken to hospital again and this time I stayed there,” Zoe wrote.

“As my parents left the hospital I noticed the man watching them leave and about five minutes later I was in trouble. I was coughing and having trouble breathing and the man took my hand and squeezed it.

“I thought he was trying to be friendly but when he put fingers in my mouth I thought it was a little bit strange.”

She went on to describe how the man allegedly told her he loved her and started to touch her chest.

She then provided detail about the alleged assault. 

Letter written by Zoe Duncan when she was a young student
A letter written by Zoe Duncan when she was a young student about the abuse she allegedly received during a visit to Launceston General Hospital after an asthma attack.(Supplied: The Duncan Family)

It took some time for Zoe to disclose the full extent of the alleged assault to her parents.

She told police the following year: “I just thought I’d write this letter because I know you’ve probably heard a lot about this but I just wanted to tell you my side of things.”

Mr Duncan noticed blood on Zoe’s underpants after the alleged rape, but thought she had her period. 

Amanda Duncan said her beloved older sister had gone into the LGH in 2001 one person and come out another.

“Zoe was a fun, charismatic, bubbly, happy-go-lucky girl, and she came out terrified, she would have night terrors, there was a lot of crying,” she said.

Framed photo of Zoe Duncan, her father, mother and sister Amanda.
Zoe Duncan’s family says she changed after going to the hospital.(ABC News: Craig Heerey)

Tasmanian Health Minister Sarah Courtney said the alleged rape was “extraordinarily concerning”.

“All these matters are being dealt with very, very seriously,” she said.

“All matters are being examined and we are looking at how each of those can be dealt with appropriately.”

The Tasmania Police spokeswoman encouraged victims of sexual assault to come forward to police “so that the matter can be investigated, the offender held to account for their actions and brought to justice”.

“We understand and acknowledge that it is often a very difficult decision to come forward, for many reasons,” the spokeswoman said.

“We would like to reassure any victims who are reluctant to come forward that we will provide them support and connect them with other relevant support services and organisations to provide them help, guidance and assistance.”

#AceNewsDesk report ………Published: Apr.08: 2021:

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