Dentist who sexually harassed female colleagues won't be struck off
A DENTIST who sexually harassed female colleagues at a Falkirk practice and threatened to put naked photos of one of them on the internet has been allowed to keep working.
Stuart Todd, 34, repeatedly engaged a young dental nurse in sexual conversations in front of patients, told her he would send sexual material to her mobile phone and told her he was going to touch her.
He pestered the young woman for a date, bombarded her with text messages and told her he was a “dirty f*****” who was “anyone’s after two glasses of wine”.
Todd also told a female dentist at the practice that if he saw her getting changed he would take photographs of her and put them online.
He also told colleagues he wanted to try “hard drugs” and asked about where prostitutes were operating in the area.
The women complained to their bosses and Todd, from Edinburgh, was investigated by his professional body, the General Dental Council (GDC).
They held a disciplinary hearing into his case where he admitted the charges and said his behaviour had been “abhorrent”.
But the disciplinary committee decided not to suspend him from working and instead placed conditions on his dental registration including having his work supervised by another dentist.
The decision was challenged by the Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care, who oversee the work of the GDC, who described it as “unduly lenient”.
They took the case to Scotland’s highest court, the Court of Session, in a bid to have the decision overturned.
However, three judges have now ruled that the GDC was fair and should not be reversed.
The incidents happened between February and April 2014 when Todd was working at the Clark & Watson Family Dental Practice.
In finding that his fitness to practice was impaired, the GDC said in a statement: “The Committee considered that acting in the manner that it has already found proved, you placed Colleague A in a compromising position and breached her trust.
“You were in a position of trust and authority and your actions breached the boundaries of professionalism. The Committee further considered that the comments made to Colleague B were unacceptable and inappropriate.
“The nature of the comments made to both Colleague A and Colleague B were of a sexual nature and the comments made to Colleague A were particularly explicit in their nature.
“You accepted that your behaviour towards both colleagues was ‘abhorrent’. This was a significant departure from the standards expected of a registered dental practitioner.”
Todd, who qualified in 2005, told the committee he had been looking for someone to befriend but had overstepped the mark. He said his judgement had been clouded at the time because he was taking codeine medication at work because its “good effects” helped him get through the day.
The Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care said the punishment meted out to Todd did not reflect the gravity of his actions and asked law lords to look at the case.
However Lord Bracadale, sitting with Lord Malcolm and Lord Doherty, said: “We reject the assertion that that judgement resulted in a manifestly inappropriate outcome.
“We consider that it is appropriate to show respect to the expertise of the committee as a professional decision-making body.
“In our opinion all relevant material was before the committee and that it gave due consideration to the relevant factors.”
Todd, a married father, is now working at the Glenbervie Dental Clinic in Larbert, Stirlingshire.
He was unavailable for comment.