Nineteen potential female victims aged between 17 and 60 have so far been identified in the investigation of a Wangaratta GP’s alleged sex offences.
Stewart Geoffrey Moroney, 68, was charged after allegedly conducting a female health test on a patient without wearing gloves on October 10.
The woman, who contacted police the next day, also alleges she saw camera equipment in the room.
On November 30, detectives seized camera equipment and computers from the Ely Street Clinic and Moroney’s home, which revealed “inappropriate” images of female patients.
Detectives then cross-referenced the time stamps on the images with the GP’s appointment records.
Victoria Police Acting Superintendent Joy Arbuthnot said police would now work through contacting the 19 women, who live in the Wangaratta area, and conceded there could be further women affected.
“Today is the start of our investigation in the sense we’re contacting the victims we know … I’m not sure how far back this will go and that is a matter we’ll need to step through,” she said.
“The initiating victim came forward … within a day we’d contacted the health regulator and they have worked very co-operatively with us.
“She (the first patient) has been very brave.”
Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency chief executive Martin Fletcher told Fairfax Media the doctor was not prevented from treating patients until January 10.
Lara Roeske, representing the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, told media on Tuesday Moroney was not a member of the RACGP.
The Ely Street Clinic remains open, but was closed on Tuesday as news of the charges broke.
“We acknowledge that a medical practitioner from the Ely Street Clinic was charged with an offence,” a statement from the clinic read.
“We do not have the complete details of this alleged offence and we are not in a position to discuss any aspects of this.
“We also shall not be doing so until the whole matter is resolved. We are co-operating fully with Victoria Police.
“We would appreciate that you respect our privacy in this delicate situation.”
Acting Superintendent Arbuthnot said police believed staff did not know of the alleged offences.
“They’re making their livelihood … we’ve worked with them co-operatively to make sure we try and minimise the impact to that clinic,” she said.
“It will be a very difficult time for people … we realise this was going to be a long and sensitive investigation.”
Police are not aware of the photos of patients being shared further.
Moroney, who has practised for 45 years, was charged with sexual assault and capture intimate image, and bailed to appear at Wangaratta Magistrates Court on September 10.
Anyone with information about this case should contact Crime Stoppers or Wangaratta Police (03) 5723 0888.
Centre Against Violence can offer support and can be contacted on (03) 5722 2203.