November 13 2017
Ex-child psychiatrist goes on trial accused of historic sex abuse

Psychiatrist Ian Stuart McAlpine

Psychiatrist Ian Stuart McAlpine

A former child psychiatrist accused of raping and molesting two teenage patients between 1988 and 1990 “brainwashed” one of his complainants into thinking she loved him, a Perth court has heard.

Prosecutor Alan Dungey said one of the alleged victims started seeing Ian Stuart McAlpine after sinking into depression at the end of Year 12, while the other girl sought his help a few months into her final year at high school.

The first girl complained about McAlpine to the Medical Practice Board in 1991 and he admitted having a sexual relationship with her, so was struck from the roll of medical practitioners.

She also told police but they did not follow up until last year, when she said in an interview she felt dirty and ashamed, but had also believed he cared about her.

In a video-recorded interview that was played in the District Court of WA, she told detectives the abuse began when she was 17 and laying in bed on her first day at a private mental hospital.

She said he kissed her hard on the lips and told her “this is our secret” after she gave him a heart-shaped photo frame.

“I didn’t respond because I didn’t expect it,” the woman said.

“It was not my intention for him to give me a kiss. It came out of left-field for me.”

She said she wanted a boyfriend but didn’t think it would end up being her doctor and while she was surprised, she was happy someone loved her.

The contact became increasingly intimate, culminating in her losing her virginity to McAlpine on her 18th birthday and ending when she was committed to a public mental hospital.

“He had me brainwashed to think I loved him,” she said.

“I now see it as rape because that’s basically what it was.”

Defence counsel Linda Black said her client insisted the sexual relationship only began the day the patient became an adult and she had consented.

So while his conduct was unprofessional and an abuse of power, it was not a crime.

Ms Black said McAlpine completely denied having a sexual relationship with the other girl, describing her claims as “fantasy”.

The lawyer asked the jury to consider the possibility her allegations were the product of jealousy, because both girls knew each other from the private hospital and only one of them got what they wanted.

“Both of them felt, understandably, dependent on him and fell in love with him,” Ms Black said.

“These are people with difficulties who formed attachments.”

The court heard McAlpine was convicted in 1997 of indecently assaulting a 15-year-old patient and Ms Black urged the jury not to assume that meant the allegations he now faces are correct.

Ian McAlpine


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