A psychotherapist who allowed a patient to perform a sex act on him during a consultation can now see female patients without restrictions, a tribunal ruled.
A psychotherapist who allowed a patient to perform a sex act on him during a consultation can now see female patients without restrictions, a tribunal ruled.

Psychotherapist ejaculated on patient’s shirt

A psychotherapist who claimed he was sexually assaulted by a female patient, who accused him of sexually assaulting her, can now see female patients without restrictions.

This is despite the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal finding that Dr Coonjbeeharry Dharam Bhugun lied about being a sexual assault victim and allowed the patient to perform a sexual act on him.

Dr Bhugun admitted to a disciplinary hearing that he ejaculated during a consultation with the female patient in his rooms at a Gold Coast medical centre in 2017.

In May, 2019, the Health Ombudsman imposed an interim prohibition order, barring Dr Bhugun from having any contact with unaccompanied female patients.

The female patient, then 43, claimed during her third consultation with Dr Bhugun he grabbed her breasts, kissed her and tried to put his penis in her mouth, before he ejaculated on her shirt.

Dr Bhugun claimed that during the consultation the woman kissed him passionately, put her hand in his pants and rubbed his penis before putting it in her mouth and he ejaculated.

A former friend of the woman told police and the tribunal that the patient told her, before she went to see Dr Bhugun that day, that she was going to manipulate him and f... him.

"She said something like 'I'm going to get him, he's going to be in the palm of my hand','' the witness said in a statement.

She told the tribunal that after the patient visited the doctor she came back to see her and told her the doctor had ejaculated.

The tribunal found the female patient involved herself in sexual activity with Dr Bhugun and it was likely that she invited or initiated the physical intimacy.

Dr Coonjbeeharry Dharam Bhugun.
Dr Coonjbeeharry Dharam Bhugun.

It accepted evidence that the woman had dressed up before her appointment and expressed an intention to seduce Dr Bhugun.

"She was not the unwilling victim of a predatory attack by Dr Bhugun,'' tribunal Deputy President Judge John Allen said.

"Likewise, Dr Bhugun was not an unwilling victim. He, at the very least, acquiesced in the sexual activity.''

The tribunal found Dr Bhugun lied when he denied willingly embracing, dancing with and kissing (the woman),'' the judge said.

"He lied when he claimed to have been the victim of a sexual assault.

"I am comfortably satisfied that Dr Bhugun committed gross boundary violations in his treatment of (the woman).

Judge Allen found Dr Bhugun, 68, allowed the woman to masturbate or fellate his penis until he ejaculated, after becoming sexually aroused.

"Dr Bhugun should be thoroughly ashamed of his behaviour,'' Judge Allen said.

He had tried to continue a therapeutic relationship with the woman after the episode of sexual activity.

Dr Bhugun, a psychotherapist and counsellor for most of the past three decades, is a member of the Australian Association of Social Workers.

He has authored journal articles and texts and has been a media commentator, lecturer and guest speaker.

Judge Allen said Dr Bhugun had suffered practice restrictions and financial loss for almost three years.

On March 22, the tribunal decided he did not pose a serious risk to persons and it set aside the Health Ombudsman's interim protection order.

"He will not suffer lightly the damage to his professional and personal reputation as a consequence of the findings of this tribunal,'' Judge Allen said.

"I expect his willingness to expose himself to the scrutiny of the public and his peers will likely be a protective factor against future misconduct.''

Originally published as 'Palm of my hand': Psychotherapist ejaculated on patient's shirt



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