Medical Board of Australia - Conditions imposed on WA intern after alleged sexual assault

Conditions imposed on WA intern after alleged sexual assault

12 Jul 2022

A Western Australian medical intern has had conditions imposed on his provisional registration, following an alleged assault on a fellow medical intern.

Trigger warning: Some readers may find this article distressing. If you are experiencing distress, please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 for confidential help. If you are a medical practitioner, you can also visit the drs4drs website.

Key points

• WA medical intern Luke Sudhakar Voola Rao has had conditions imposed on his provisional registration, following an alleged assault on a fellow medical intern.
• The Medical Board of Australia took immediate action and suspended Dr Rao’s provisional registration after he was charged on 16 March 2022 with alleged sexual assault.
• On 27 June 2022, the Western Australian State Administrative Tribunal set aside the suspension and instead imposed conditions on his practice, preventing him from examining or treating victims of sexual offences.

On 10 May 2022, the Medical Board of Australia (the Board) took immediate action by suspending Dr Rao’s provisional registration.

The immediate action followed Dr Rao’s arrest for the alleged sexual assault of a fellow medical intern, following a night out on 5 March 2021 to celebrate the first rotation of their final year of medical school.

On 16 May 2022, Dr Rao’s lawyer filed an application to the Western Australian State Administrative Tribunal (the tribunal) asking for a review of the suspension.

The tribunal was satisfied there was a reasonable belief that Dr Rao poses a serious risk to persons, notably patients presenting with injuries associated with sexual assault, and that harm suffered by those patients may be serious. However, it found that most of those patients would not suffer distress as a result of being treated by Dr Rao, unless the treatment involved an intimate examination.

The tribunal found that the charges did not give rise to 'public outrage', which would otherwise perhaps require suspension.

On 27 June 2022, the tribunal set aside Dr Rao’s suspension and imposed a number of conditions on his practice by way of immediate action.

The conditions provide that:

• Dr Rao is to work only in workplaces approved by the Board;
• Dr Rao must provide a disclosure to each of his supervisors which sets out the charges, the circumstances of the charges, and that he is prohibited from examining or treating patients who present with an ailment or injury arising from a sexual offence;
• Dr Rao is prohibited from examining or treating patients who present with an ailment or injury arising from a sexual offence; and
• the costs of compliance with the conditions are at Dr Rao’s expense.

Read the tribunal’s full decision on the AustLII website.

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Page reviewed 12/07/2022