Sleep clinic doctor jailed for sexual assault


By Michael Woodhead

13 Oct 2020

A doctor who was employed as a sleep technician at the Woolcock Institute of Medical Research in Sydney has been jailed for almost four years for sexual assault.

Dr Ali Khorami, a GP, was found guilty of exposing himself to women he was supervising during overnight sleep studies at the centre in 2018.

At his trial at the NSW District Court trial the 50-year old doctor denied charges of sexual assault relating to five female patients, despite evidence from CCTV monitoring showing him exposing himself next to the sleeping patients.

He was also found guilty of drugging one of the women by spiking a drink with temazepam.

The judge said Dr Khorami had committed a gross breach of trust and assaulted the women “at a time when they were particularly vulnerable, being asleep or isolated in their room”.

She also noted that he denied wrongdoing and claimed it was a tantric healing procedure.

Dr Khorami received a sentence of six years with a non-parole period of three years and nine months.

In a statement the Woolcock Institute said it acknowledged this been a distressing time for all involved, noting the offences related to a former employee who was not employed in the capacity of a medical practitioner.

“The Woolcock Clinic has always rigorously complied with all guidelines set out by NSW Health, The American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Australasian Sleep Association,” it said.

“As soon as we became aware of the allegations regarding the former employee, he was suspended and subsequently dismissed. In response to the allegations, we immediately established a number of additional patient security measures. For example, we installed an independent surveillance system on top of the existing patient monitoring system and engaged an external audit of our sleep studies.”

The clinic said it now ensured that there were two or three sleep technicians in the monitoring room at all times and it had updated protocols to mandate that a sleep technician must be accompanied by a colleague each time they enter a patient’s room to conduct checks during a sleep study.

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