After cornering a student nurse and sexually assaulting her, a doctor said his treatment of women was due to a “difference in cultural norms.” Unbelievably, after a judge heard his excuse, he allowed him to return to his practice.
While on the clock at Manchester’s Trafford General Hospital in England, 44-year-old married father-of-2 Imran Rauf Qureshi waited until he was alone with his assistant to confront her. The Pakistani doctor backed the 21-year-old student nurse into a corner, grabbing her breast and telling her that he wanted to have an affair with her, according to Express.
Rebecca Vanstone, counsel for the General Medical Council, told the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service, “She was backed into the corner when he touched her chest at the top where her breasts start. She said he put his fingers there for a few seconds before she pushed them away. He asked for a hug and she refused but he did it anyway. Then he grabbed her right breast for a few seconds.”
The nurse, who shares Qureshi’s Islamic upbringing, was “shaken up and distraught” and quickly informed superiors. Fortunately, she had managed to record one of her encounters with the grabby doctor, exposing his unwanted touch. However, Qureshi came up with what he believed was a fool-proof excuse.
After being suspended from the medical practice for a year, Qureshi was convicted of a single count of sexual assault. He was subsequently sentenced to a 12-month community order and 20 days of rehab. When he reapproached the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service soon after, he pleaded with them to reinstate his license.
Although he blamed his sexual depravity on “cultural norms being different” in the UK than in Pakistan, Qureshi was given the green light to go back into the medical practice. He added that he only thought that his behavior was okay because the nurse had “previous boyfriends,” suggesting that she was promiscuous by his cultural standards.
Miss Vanstone said, “His conduct in my submission was a breach of professional boundaries given that the complainant was a student nurse and was 21 years old. Dr Qureshi’s conviction for sexual assault amounts to serious misconduct. He did say that he saw Miss A being sexually available because she had previous boyfriends. He described the incident being a misjudgement by him and says the culture norms are different in the UK from Pakistan where he’s from.”
Although the tribunal admitted that his excuse wasn’t valid, they ruled to allow Qureshi to return to work once he added that it was too difficult for him on government-provided benefits, Mirror reports. Disturbingly, the tribunal admitted that Qureshi still doesn’t think of his actions as sexual assault. Although he attempted to apologize to the nurse, he continues to justify his actions.
“The offence was a single incident some 3½ years ago,” the MPTS said. “There is no evidence to suggest Dr Qureshi offended prior to his conviction, or since.”
The tribunal concluded that Qureshi had been punished enough for his actions and didn’t believe that further reprimand would be required to prevent him from repeating his behavior.
“In the circumstances as they stand today, the Tribunal did not consider that it would be appropriate or proportionate to impose a further period of suspension on Dr Qureshi’s registration.”
Qureshi has been ordered to register as a sex offender for five years as well as to pay court costs of just under $1,000. Even as he returns to work as a doctor, he remains a convicted sex offender.
The most disturbing aspect of Qureshi’s case is that his excuse of a difference in culture is valid. Women are treated vastly different in the West than in Sharia regimes. However, ignorance of culture or law should never be an excuse to escape proper punishment.