A retired Melbourne doctor has been charged with rape and other serious sex offences allegedly committed during medical consultation sessions spanning almost a decade.
Police descended on the Balwyn North home of 75-year-old Con Kyriacou yesterday, charging him with 35 offences relating to 20 patients in his care between 1997 and 2005, according to a report published by The Age.
The charges range from indecent assault to rape. He was later released on bail.
Dr Kyriacou’s arrest came after three former patients went public with their stories after the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) failed to take action against him after a two-year investigation.
The three women had filed separate complaints to the national health regulator about Dr Kyriacou’s inappropriate behaviour during consultations dating as far back as the late 1970s.
The GP voluntarily withdrew from the register of medical practitioners in 2017, citing a brain injury and has since been unable to work.
According to The Age, one patient made a complaint about Dr Kyriacou’s behaviour to the Medical Board of Australia in 2004 — only to withdraw it over fears she would not be believed. In July 2016, she lodged a formal complaint with AHPRA.
A second former patient took her claims to Victoria Police in 2004 but alleged investigators advised the case was too weak to pursue. She took her claims to the medical board in 2008 before making an official complaint to AHPRA in August 2016.
A third woman also complained to AHPRA, providing a sworn statement in January 2018, The Age said.
After the national regulator failed act on their claims against Dr Kyriacou, the trio went to the media.
Extensive coverage of the case last month resulted in more alleged victims coming forward with claims against the GP.
Up to 20 former patients have reportedly given statements to police, resulting in Dr Kyriacou’s arrest on Thursday.
The investigation is being handled by Victoria Police’s Sexual Offences and Child Abuse Investigation Team (SOCIT).
Meanwhile, AHPRA is pursuing action against Mr Kyriacou before the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal, where it will allege he “engaged in professional misconduct”.
The tribunal has the power to suspend or cancel a practitioner’s registration.
An AHPRA spokeswoman said allegations were first raised about the conduct of Mr Kyriacou in February and August, 2016.
“We are taking seriously the allegations raised by patients about the conduct of Dr Kyriacou,” the spokeswoman told the Herald Sun.
“We encourage patients and members of the public with concerns about the care they receive from individual practitioners to call AHPRA on 1300 419 495.”
Mr Kyriacou was bailed to appear at the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on January 7.