Crawley osteopath suspended after sexual assault claim

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An osteopath has been suspended following an allegation of sexual assault.

A hearing of the General Osteopathic Council (GOC) suspended Stephen Palmer, 51, of Horsham, who worked at the K2 leisure centre in Tilgate, after it concluded he posed a ‘real risk of harm’ to female patients.

A GOC report of the hearing on June 18 stated: “The Committee concluded that there is a real risk of harm to the health, safety or wellbeing of female patients. In coming to this conclusion the Committee bore in mind the nature and seriousness of the complaints made against the registrant, which included inappropriate touching, failure to gain consent for osteopathic procedures, use of inappropriate language and breach of sexual boundaries and confidentiality.”

Adrian Macho, who represented Mr Palmer, said the allegations against him were not true.

The GOC’s Investigating Committee issued an Interim Suspension Order for the maximum period of two months.

A statement from Mr Palmer said: “Mr Palmer emphatically denies these allegations. The allegations are false and without any foundation.

“The allegations are an attempt to discredit Mr Palmer’s outstanding reputation as a well regarded and respected practitioner.”

Freedom Leisure (FL) runs K2 Crawley on behalf of Crawley Borough Council.

Nyssa Jackson, FL general manager, said: “I understand Stephen Palmer has been suspended by The General Osteopathic Council (who regulate the practise of osteopathy in the United Kingdom) while the investigation is ongoing.

“His contract of employment has been cancelled by Bodycare Osteopathy, who hire space at K2 Crawley, so it is not appropriate for us to comment further as the matter is being managed by his employer.

“I am sorry to hear about this but am reassured that all steps have been taken by Bodycare Osteopathy and can confirm to our members and customers that Stephen is not currently on site here at K2 Crawley while the investigation continues.”

A spokesman for Bodycare Osteopathy said: “Mr Palmer has had his contract with Bodycare Osteopathy suspended until such time that the allegations can be fully investigated.”

The practice was founded in Crawley in 1991. It has a five-room clinic at the K2.

Sussex Police said it was investigating.

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