An Australian doctor has been arrested on charges of horrific sexual mutilation. He has been dubbed the Butcher of Bega, after the area where he had served once.
New South Wales police announced Wednesday that the State Crime Command detectives had laid 17 charges against the 58-year-old Graeme Reeves.
Police arrested the former doctor at his home in Baulkham Hills, in Sydney's north west, after seizing medical records in a raid of a storage facility at Gladesville earlier this month.
He was subsequently charged with nine counts of aggravated sexual assault, six counts of indecent assault, one count of female genital mutilation, one count of maliciously inflict grievous bodily harm.
Strike Force Tarella was established in February to investigate over 100 allegations of patient misconduct against the doctor between 2001 and 2003, at Baulkham Hills and Bega.
Commander of the Child Protection and Sex Crimes Squad, Detective Superintendent John Kerlatec, said, "This is a unique and highly complex investigation being conducted by the NSW Police Force.
"Today's charges relate to reports submitted to police by 10 people, and are a testament of the courage demonstrated by these women who have bravely come forward to report such traumatic events.
"Strike Force Tarella remains an ongoing investigation and detectives will continue to examine all reports of misconduct related to this case.
"I encourage anyone who has further information about this investigation to contact police immediately," Detective Superintendent Kerlatec said.
Women have told Medical Error Action Group that Reeves mutilated their genitals during surgery, performed unauthorised sterilisations and committed sexual assaults.
One woman related how he inserted a speculum into her and caused serious damage. 'When he ripped it out he was smiling and asked if I liked it,' she said.
Another woman recalled: "I went for a bladder repair. When I woke I found out I'd had a hysterectomy." One of his shocked patients wrote: "During the examination he told me I had a lot of sex, he could tell. Gave me the creeps."
There was the woman who recalled that Dr Reeves pointed out to her that she wasn't wearing a lace bra. He told her she needed a second Pap smear, when it turned out that the first had been satisfactory.
Concerns about the doctor's behaviour grew when one woman reported: "He said he liked girls waxing their pubes looked like little girls. Got up and left hurriedly..." A further accusation of sexual assault came from a patient who wrote: "Went to Reeves for check-up following miscarriage. Felt me up, fondled my breasts."
TV network NineMSN's Sunday reported in February: "Who Watches the Doctors?"
A woman goes into her local hospital for routine minor surgery to remove a tiny lesion on her labia. But just before the anaesthetic is administered, her doctor leans over her - out of earshot of the operating theatre staff.
"I'm going to take your clitoris too," he whispers.
Carolyn Dewaegeneire then slid under the anaesthetic, and woke up mutilated. Her entire external genitalia had been removed - nothing like the diagram she had been drawn during the surgical consent process.
The Bega District Guide explains:
She had entered Pambula Hospital expecting to have a small pre-cancerous lesion measuring 20mm in diameter excised from her labia.
Instead, she woke from the operation to find that the area removed measured 95mm by 55mm by 34mm and included her clitoris.
Carolyn continues to experience pain and urinary outflow difficulty.
In one other disgraceful claim against the doctor, a woman told the Medical Error Action Group: "In the last two weeks of pregnancy for a final check up, he asked me if I missed having sex (the last thing on my mind). I was frightened of him.
"When I was admitted to Bega (hospital) for delivery my baby nearly died. He stuck the forceps in baby's ear, causing bleeding."
He allegedly handled childbirth roughly, including one claim that he had torn a baby from its mother.
"During childbirth Dr Reeves has put his foot up against the birthing table to use as leverage while he's pulled the baby out and he has actually ripped the baby out," she said.
"In one instance when he pulled the baby out, he fell back on the floor holding the baby and the mother believed the baby was strangled because of the angle the baby was pulled out."
Reeves reported deaths as stillborn, escaping formal inquiries because neither death certificates nor coronial and other investigations are required in such cases.
He had deceitfully managed to continue practicing even though he had been struck off the New South Wales medical register in 2004 after it was found he had "psychiatric problems" which "detrimentally affect his mental capacity to practice medicine."
The NSW Medical Board said Dr Reeve had covered up the truth about his past as an incompetent doctor with psychiatric problems.
The Board said that when he moved from Sydney to a new job as a gynaecologist and obstetrician at Bega, he lied to his new employers about his licence to practice.
Superintendent Kerlatec said 113 women had been interviewed so far.
Graeme Reeves made a brief appearance in Parramatta Local Court today, the Daily Telegraph reported.
He remained silent throughout his appearance.
Prosecutors opposed bail due to concerns r Reeves was a flight risk and due to the seriousness of the allegations.
His solicitor, Greg Murray, denied Reeves was a risk and said the allegations strictly related to when he ran a medical practice prior to July 2004.
"There is simply no basis for concern that he will flee the jurisdiction. He has been co-operative, and co-operative in the extreme," Murray said.
Magistrate James Garbett refused bail, with Reeves to appear in Central Local Court via audio-visual link on November 4.
Police have not ruled out more charges.