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Saturday, July 15, 2017

The Michael Salmon Rape Case: The Pediatrician From Hell

     In the 1970s and early 1980s, Dr. Michael Salmon, a pediatrician who specialized in children's growth disorders and neurological problems at the Stoke Manderville Hospital in Buckinhamshire, England, was one of the United Kingdom's most eminent physician. Dr. Salmon received recognition and praise for his work with children from Princess Dianna and other prominent English citizens. He also became quite wealthy.

     In 1987, Dr. Salmon fell from grace when detectives searching his office in connection with a medical fraud investigation came upon a sheaf of love letters from several of his teenage female patients. The discovery of these letters triggered an investigation of a very different kind that led to an indecent assault conviction. The judge, in November 1990, sentenced Salmon to three years in prison for the assault of three girls. In 1991, his professional colleagues struck the 56-year-old physician from the United Kingdom medical register.

     Salmon served eighteen months of his three-year sentence at the Grendon Underwood Prison. After his release, he managed to reinvent himself as a wildlife expert. He purchased a mansion in a remote area near a national park. He told his neighbors and members of the community that he was a retired hospital consultant from an aristocratic family. In his club and church circles, he insisted on being addressed as "Dr."

     In 2011, the Thames Valley police launched an investigation into rape and sexual abuse at the Stoke Manderville Hospital called Operation Yewtree. In the course of that investigation, former female patients of Michael Salmon's came forward with stories of sexual abuse that occurred when they were in the teens and pre-teens. The women accused Salmon of having assaulted them in his consulting room at the hospital. His victims, at the time of the alleged offenses, had ranged from eleven to eighteen-years-old.

     A Crown prosecutor, in November 2013, charged the former physician with the sexual assaults of nine girls at the hospital and the rape of a teenager at his home. In the rape case, the 16-year-old victim had turned to the doctor for help after learning that she had become pregnant.

     Salmon pleaded not guilty to all charges, calling the allegations "absolute nonsense." He characterized his accusers as "gold diggers" and desperate women looking for attention.

     In December 2014, the Michael Salmon sexual abuse trial got underway at the Reading Crown Court. In her opening statement to the jury, Crown prosecutor Miranda Moore said, "On some of the occasions the defendant handled the breasts of the young girls with the pretense of listening to their hearts. He also, on occasion, carried out internal vaginal examinations for which there was no medical need whatsoever."

     On February 6, 2015, the jury found Michael Salmon guilty of nine counts of indecent assault and two counts of rape. As constables led the 80-year-old out of the courtroom to his jail cell, his wife who had stood by him throughout the trial, wept.

     In speaking to reporters following the guilty verdict, Detective Sergeant Malcolm Wheeler of the Thames Valley Police Child Abuse Unit, said: "Salmon was a prolific sexual offender who abused his position of power for his own sexual gratification. His victims trusted him, they believed him because he was a doctor and they thought he was trustworthy."

     On February 12, 2015, at Salmon's sentencing hearing, Reading Crown Court Judge Johanna Cutts, in addressing the convicted man, said: "It was your conceited arrogance that led to your downfall. All the girls were ill at the time. They were treated as objects of your sexual gratification." Regarding the 16-year-old Salmon had raped twice in his home, Judge Cutts said, "You raped her at the time when she couldn't have been more vulnerable. This court sees a lot of rape cases. It is rare to see such a cold-blooded and ruthless crime."

     Judge Cutts sentenced Michael Salmon to eighteen years in prison. For a man his age it was a sentence of life.

     

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