Ian McAlpine

Former child psychiatrist Ian Stuart McAlpine jailed over sexual assault of teenager
By Briana Shephard
April 18, 2018

Ian Stuart McAlpine walks down steps outside a court building in Perth wearing a black jumper and pants.
The assaults by Ian Stuart McAlpine included sexual penetration on the teenager’s 18th birthday.(ABC News)

A former Perth child psychiatrist has been sentenced to five years and two months in prison for sexually and indecently assaulting a female patient almost 30 years ago.

Ian Stuart McAlpine, 70, stood trial for 17 offences allegedly committed between 1988 and 1990 against two young women.

In March, a jury found him guilty of seven of those offences against one of the women, including four counts of indecent assault and three counts of sexual penetration without consent.

During sentencing in the District Court on Wednesday, Judge Hylton Quail said McAlpine had abused the trust of the young woman and her parents, engaging in sexual acts under the guise of therapy.

“You were 41, she was 17, still a child,” Judge Quail said.

“You played on her insecurities and seduced her.

“In your profession you are meant to do no harm but your actions did exactly the opposite. You abandoned your responsibilities as her psychiatrist.”

McAlpine was acquitted of the charges relating to the second woman.

Woman says adolescence and innocence ‘stolen’
The victim was referred to McAlpine in 1989 after overdosing on sleeping pills while waiting on her high school exam results.

Perth District Court Building
McApline was sentenced in the District Court to more than five years’ jail.(ABC News)
The court heard the woman had believed McAlpine was in love with her, before later deciding he had brainwashed her.

The assaults began when she was still aged 17 and included kissing, acts of oral sex and — on her 18th birthday — sexual penetration.

Judge Quail read aloud part of the woman’s impact statement, in which she said she felt McAlpine had stolen her adolescence and innocence.

She has subsequently suffered from severe mental health issues.

After ending the relationship in 1991, McAlpine went to the Medical Practice Board where he revealed he had been having a sexual relationship with the woman.

A year later, he was struck from the roll of medical practitioners.

Police were informed of the relationship but did not pursue it, while an investigation launched in the early 2000s ended shortly afterwards.

McApline was also the consultant child psychiatrist on the Child Sexual Abuse Task Force which reported to the West Australian Government in 1987.

McAlpine ‘cynically exploited’ victim: judge
The court heard McAlpine had felt an attachment for the victim as she was struggling with her medical studies — something he had also struggled with after an accident in his youth.

Defence counsel Linda Black argued prior to sentencing that McAlpine’s age, and the years since the offences occurred, should be taken into consideration.

She also pointed out her client had been unable to work as a psychiatrist since 1992, his marriage had ended and he had suffered from depression.

Judge Quail recognised McAlpine had since remarried and his wife had stood by him, as had his three children from his previous marriage.

He also credited McApline’s volunteer work at an aged care facility.

However, Judge Quail said McAlpine had brought about the end of his profession by his actions and had cynically exploited the woman for his own sexual gratification, and did not accept he was truly remorseful.

“I do not find you to be truly remorseful, true remorse flows from a guilty plea,” Judge Quail said.

The court heard McAlpine had been charged with indecently assaulting another patient in 1985. The matter went to trial and in 1997 he was fined $4,000.

Judge Quail said had McAlpine committed the same offences today, they would carry a higher maximum penalty and he would have received a harsher sentence.

McAlpine will be eligible for parole in three years.