Former Great Ormond Street cardiologist struck off register for sexually molesting boys as young as 10
Tribunal says that top child doctor wrote a love letter to a teenagerAccused of caressing a boy and telling him it was 'normal behaviour' in EuropeProfessor strongly denies allegations
16:44 GMT, 25 September 2012
Shocking: Philipp Bonhoeffer was dismissed from the hospital in May 2010 after accusations that he had abused boys for 15 years
An eminent former cardiologist at Great Ormond Street children's hospital has been struck off the medical register after he was found guilty of molesting boys as young as ten.
Philipp Bonhoeffer, who was dismissed from the London hospital in May 2010, was judged by a tribunal to have sexually abused boys for more than 15 years.
The doctor was found to have 'sexually caressed' a boy of ten in France in 1997 and to have behaved in an inappropriate manner towards youngsters in Kenya.
Today a Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service panel ruled that his fitness to practise was impaired by reason of misconduct and decided to erase him from the register.
Bonhoeffer was employed by Great Ormond Street from 2001 to May 2010 as a consultant cardiologist, and from 2002 as head of cardiology.
His actions were 'calculated, deplorable and an abuse of his special position of trust,' the panel ruled.
Panel chairman David Kyle said: 'This is a case in which Professor Bonhoeffer has been found to have persistently exploited vulnerable young boys and young men over an extended period of time with sexual motivation.'
'Professor Bonhoeffer's conduct was, in the Panel's view, calculated, deplorable and an abuse of his special position of trust,' he added
'In Kenya, the abuse continued over a period of years in respect of the same group of boys. The Panel has concluded that Professor
Bonhoeffer's conduct is not merely unacceptable – it is fundamentally incompatible with continued medical registration.'
The eminent doctor worked at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children
He said that in Kenya, the cardiologist sought out contact with vulnerable children and abused them.
Mr Kyle added: 'Professor Bonhoeffer used his position in Kenya, both as a doctor and a wealthy foreigner, to create relationships whereby his victims owed him a debt, which he exploited for his own sexual purposes.'
The panel said that Bonhoeffer has a 'deep seated behavioural problem' adding that that the case represents one of the 'most serious' forms of abuse.
Bonhoeffer was found guilty of writing letters to boys and touching them inappropriately
On Friday the panel decided which facts it found proved against the doctor – who did not attend the hearing or submit any evidence to the MPTS panel.
It decided that while he was working at Hospital Necker, a teaching hospital in Paris, from 1995 to 1997, he sexually touched a 10-year-old boy.
The panel heard that Bonhoeffer had regularly visited the home of the child to teach him the violin.
Between 1993 and 2008, he travelled to Kenya to undertake charitable medical work.
The panel found that in 1995, during an overnight stay at a camp in the Marsabit district of Kenya, he inappropriately touched a 13-year-old boy.
The panel ruled that this behaviour was sexually motivated, and when he told the boy he was a doctor and was trying to find his femoral vein, this was intended to mislead, and an abuse of his professional position.
During the same trip, he told the child that he would make sure he went to high school and would support him to do so.
The panel said Bonhoeffer wrote to the boy in 1998 – when he was aged 16 – saying he loved him and began to pay his high school fees. He continuing to provide him with money and gifts until 2008.
In August 2008, the cardiologist kissed a boy – aged 10 or 11 – who was the younger brother of one of his patients, the panel heard.
The panel also found that the professor arranged for other Kenyan boys to stay with him in a flat at the Mater Hospital, Nairobi, provided to him on his trips to Kenya for charity work.