As reported by the Spanish online legal news portal CONFILEGAL, the Spanish Supreme Court (SC) has confirmed a sentence of seven years and one day in prison and three and a half years of special disqualification from practising the profession of doctor and psychotherapist for a psychiatrist who sexually abused a patient in Santa Cruz de Tenerife. This psych indicated to the victim that it would help her to open her conscience and heal faster, to participate in group sessions with the use of psychotropic substances and narcotics.
The 73-year-old Antonio Asín Cabrera, a doctor registered in a provincial capital of the Canary Islands who has been practising psychiatry for more than 40 years, was convicted.
The court of the Criminal Chamber has rejected the appeal filed by the convicted man against the sentence of the Provincial Court of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, which imposed this sentence in October 2019 for a continuous crime of sexual abuse with “carnal access”, and to compensate the victim with 20,000 euros for the damages suffered.
The Supreme Court ruling is number 920/2021, of 24 November.
It is signed by the judges Manuel Marchena Gómez (president), Ana María Ferrer García, Carmen Lamela Díaz, Ángel Luis Hurtado Adrián, and Juan Ramón Berdugo Gómez de la Torre, who has been the rapporteur.
THE PROVEN FACTS
According to the proven facts, the victim went in 2015 to the office of the convicted person by referral of a psychologist suffering from an eating disorder, and from that date until the first months of 2014 Asín Cabrera treated her, with pharmacological guidelines, psychotherapy sessions and follow-up consultations, “which generated an intense therapeutic bond”.
Over the course of those years, he prescribed her numerous anxiolytic and antidepressant drugs, the dosage and schedule of which he controlled. Specifically, he prescribed and she took lexatin, deprax, tepazepam, rexer, lormetazepam, rivotil or clonazepam, “drugs that directly affected her decision-making capacity“.
At the same time, the patient began and completed a training course on the psychiatrist’s recommendation, which took the form of residential meetings lasting three to five days and required the trainee to present her complete autobiography so that, as indicated, she could get to know the origin of her problems.
He also proposed, “indicating to her that it would help her to open her conscience and heal faster, to participate in group sessions with the use of psychotropic substances and narcotics“.
“Following his guidelines, on at least one occasion, and without his date being recorded, he took part in a group session with the use of MDMA and a joint of grass, and another in which Asín “injected all the participants, intramuscularly, with ‘Imalgene 50’, a dissociative anaesthetic for veterinary use, whose main active component is ketamine, a product that produces a state of unconsciousness in people in which they are not asleep, but disconnected from the body and the environment“. In addition, the patient attended other workshops, courses and seminars on his recommendation, even repeating some of them.
According to the Court (Sixth Section) in its sentence, as a consequence of all the above, the convicted person “had complete knowledge of all the personal and family intimacy” of this person, “of her moods and emotional weaknesses, becoming a reference for her, whom she admired and respected, trying to comply with all her instructions, one of them being that she should free herself in sexual matters, as she told her that this dimension was very blocked and was the source of her problems“.
Thus, in December 2012, the convicted, “guided by the purpose of satisfying his lubricious desires, taking advantage of the ascendancy he had” over this patient due to the circumstances already described that placed her “in a plane of dependence and submission to his indications, as well as taking advantage of the knowledge of all her weaknesses and emotional springs, he got her to perform fellatio, thereby omitting his duty to ensure her health and well-being“.
An action that “was repeated on indeterminate occasions until May 2014“, consisting of oral and also vaginal intercourse. As a result of these events, the victim suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and anxious-depressive symptoms, requiring psychological assistance for her recovery.
WHAT THE CONDEMNED PSYCHIATRIST ALLEGED
The Supreme Court rejects the psychiatrist’s thesis, who argued that from the content of the SMS and WhatsApp messages between the complainant and the accused, provided by the victim herself in the proceedings, it is clear that the relations were fully consensual, and that the “inability to say no” alleged by the victim cannot be justified.
The court points out that the appealed judgment did analyse the evidence consisting of the sms and WhatsApp messages, the content of which, according to the appellant, calls into question the version of the complainant, “and which must be interpreted in the context of that relationship of superiority between the accused psychiatrist and his patient, the victim, and as the Public Prosecutor’s Office highlights in its opposition to the plea, it is not simply a relationship between two adults, each married, who freely agree to maintain an affair between them secretly that is prolonged over time for a period of time”.
It explains that on the contrary, we are in a situation that is declared as a proven fact in which the accused is the woman’s psychiatrist and is so for almost 9 years, during which time he begins to have sexual relations with her after knowing through his profession “all her intimacies, all her weaknesses, all her emotional springs and presenting himself as the person who in exchange for receiving money for it could cure her of her problems“.
The magistrates emphasise that it is in this context that the facts took place, in which the situation of prevalence appears with dazzling clarity. In this sense, the magistrates point out that the victim went periodically to seek medical advice, medication, and guidelines for her cure and “meets a person who abuses this situation and provokes a sexual relationship in which the victim’s consent appears completely vitiated“.
The magistrates state that “it is true that in the messages, as the appellant says, one can read on many occasions texts that make one think of a relationship between two lovers. But things change if we look at the particular relationship between the two: they are not just two adults, it is about a woman medicated by the accused, confident in his medical judgement, in his knowledge of her mind and the problems she had, and the psychiatrist who assisted her for 9 years“.
“To reduce the doctor’s position to a mere relationship between equals is unreasonable and the Court does not do so”, he stresses.
It also indicates that the victim’s testimony is coherent and persistent in its incrimination and that the appealed judgement considered it credible and sufficient to prove the facts.
Furthermore, it explains that it was corroborated by other elements – witness statements, expert reports – which “firmly and solidly support the complainant’s account that when she had sexual relations, her consent was not free and conscious, but was manipulated by the defendant, who continued to treat her therapeutically”.
The defendant was also forbidden to come within 500 metres of the victim, to her home or any other place where she is, and to communicate with her by himself, by third parties or by any direct or indirect means for a period of 13 years, of which at least five years will follow the prison sentence, and a probation measure for a period of seven years, six months and one day of probation.
Reference to this article appears in FreedomMag