Dapto GP 'sexually assaulted patient'

A Dapto doctor accused of sexually assaulting a patient called her for weeks after the alleged incident and later asked to keep it secret because it could get him "in trouble", a court has heard.

Wollongong District Court was told Das Vithal Balgi messaged and called his patient numerous times in March and April 2012, in the weeks after he allegedly sexually assaulted the woman during a routine consultation.

The Crown alleges he later asked her if she "felt funny" about what happened and warned her:

"You can't tell anyone this because I can get into trouble - you don't want me to lose my job and my family."

Giving evidence at Balgi's trial, the woman said she went to Dapto Medical Centre to seek treatment for her lower back pain and ask for a referral for marriage counselling. She said Balgi encouraged her to talk about her sex life while questioning her about her marriage, despite her initial embarrassment.

The court heard he then suggested he perform an internal examination on the woman, after she revealed she was worried she couldn't feel her husband during sex and that he didn't find her sexually arousing.

The Crown alleges the 71-year-old then touched the woman inappropriately, giving her the false impression it was part of her medical treatment.

When asked by Crown prosecutor Kate Ratcliffe how she felt at the time, the woman said: "Very uncomfortable and very scared, I didn't feel that it was right."

She told the court that during the alleged assault - which lasted up to 10 minutes - Balgi told her to "relax and close her eyes". He also commented on her weight loss and that she was "attractive", she said.

Afterwards, he told her she should "thank him" and then recommended he keep on examining her weekly, the court heard.

The woman, who felt "disgusted" and "contaminated" by the incident, said she ignored many of the calls and messages Balgi made in the following weeks. She said she agreed to meet him on one occasion because she was "struggling" after the alleged assault and thought he might apologise.

She later told the police.

During her opening address, Crown prosecutor Kate Ratcliffe told the court Balgi made no mention of the vaginal examination in the woman's clinical notes, though he claimed it was for privacy reasons.

He also denied to police that he told the woman to keep quiet about the incident, despite allegedly admitting that it was not common practice by doctors to stimulate women before internal exams.

The court heard Balgi had been the woman's family doctor for about 10 years and he had previously performed routine internal exams on the woman.

Balgi's trial is expected to continue until at least Friday.

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