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The Guardian
Psychiatrist jailed for sexual assault faces second allegation
Health regulator is investigating complaint against Prabakar Rajan Thomas, already sentenced to 14 months in jail
By Lisa Martin
September 3, 2019

Psychiatrist Prabakar Rajan Thomas

Psychiatrist Prabakar Rajan Thomas

A former Melbourne psychiatrist sentenced to two years in jail for sexually assaulting a female patient is facing a further investigation from the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency.

Prabakar Rajan Thomas, 69, received a 14 month non-parole jail sentence in March for abusing a patient. The county court was told he had put his hands in the victim’s bra, asked about her masturbation habits and showed her graphic pornography.

Ahpra is now investigating a separate complaint from another former patient, Naomi Fryers, who saw Thomas for about two years when she was an inpatient and outpatient of Delmont private hospital in Glen Iris from 2011.

The regulator has told Fryers the investigation could take between six to 12 months.

In an official statement to the investigation, Fryers said Thomas’s behaviour often made her feel uncomfortable and she was forced to transfer to a different doctor.

“During my consultations with Dr Thomas he would often stare at my chest,” Fryers said in her statement to Ahpra.

“I recall feeling awkward about the fact he was unable to look me in the eye.”

As an inpatient, she had been asked by Thomas on multiple occasions “if I was disinhibited sexually or if I was hyper sexual”, she said.

“I do not believe I ever displayed behaviour that would warrant these questions,” she said.

The hospital withdrew Thomas from private practice in late November 2015 when Victoria police informed management about the allegations concerning the first victim.

“The hospital condemns Dr Thomas’s conduct which does not in any way represent the values and behaviour of the staff and doctors of the hospital,” the chief executive officer, Peter Selar, told Fryers in an email.

“On behalf of the hospital, its staff and doctors we again express our deep regret regarding your experience and hope that you have continued to receive ongoing care and support.”

Ahpra declined to comment because of legal confidentiality.

“Ahrpa can confirm that Prabakar Rajan Thomas no longer holds registration as a medical practitioner and is not listed on the national online register of practitioners,” a spokesman said.

“This prevents him from practising as a medical practitioner in Australia.”