Retired therapeutic doctor Ariel Lant, 81, who was accused of molesting ten patients as young as 14 between 1979 and 1994, allegedly asking them for sperm samples has been cleared at Southwark Crown Court
A retired therapeutic doctor who was accused of molesting ten patients as young as 14 after allegedly asking them for sperm samples has been cleared.
Ariel Lant, 81, accused of indecently assaulting four men and six teenagers while treating them at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in London, between 1978 and 1994.
The professor of therapeutics branded the allegations ‘ridiculous’ and a ‘conspiracy against him.’
Lant insisted he was never in the same room when patients provided semen samples and jurors today acquitted him of 11 counts of indecent assault.
The jury of six men and six women took more than seven and a half hours to acquit him.
Judge Christopher Hehir said: ‘These are difficult cases to try, both for the defence and the prosecution.’
Jurors were told Lant had his patients to strip down to their underwear while he ran his fingers over their groin and genitals.
Patients claimed they were subjected to ‘prolonged’ examinations by Lant who would hold their testicles and offer to help them masturbate under the guise of taking sperm samples.
The allegations came to light in 2014, when a man said he had been abused as a child between 1977 and 1981. A second complaint was then made to police.
When the Metropolitan police made inquiries to the General Medical Council, three other patients of Lant had made separate complaints of indecent assault, in 1995, 1996 and 1998.
During the investigation another five complainants came forward, which prosecutors say was as a result of increased press attention around historical sex abuse.
Lant insisted he was never in the same room when patients provided semen samples and jurors today acquitted him of 11 counts of indecent assault
Southwark Crown Court heard evidence from 11 former patients during the month-long trial. Their ages ranged from 14 to 38 at the time of the alleged assaults.
Giving evidence, Lant said examining his patient’s genitals was part of his ‘holistic approach’ that he had taught to ‘many hundreds of medical students.’
‘I would take two fingers and run them along the shaft, as you would with any other organ,’ Lant said.
Lant maintained throughout the trial that as a practitioner concerned with hormones and glands, he was carrying out the correct medical examinations.
Defending his practice he said: ‘There’s no rubbing involved. There’s touching. The misconception is equating a touch with a rub. You don’t rub, you touch.’
Lant said he sent gifts to many of his patients and did not see it as a particular problem and that they had been ‘dramatic’ when they gave evidence that he would pull down their underwear.
Lamenting the trial the doctor said: ‘Life has taught me that lots of people sometimes the more you do for people the more they punch you. That’s just a comment but I have learned that sadly.’
Lant, of Curzon Avenue, Stanmore, Middlesex, denied and was cleared of 11 counts of indecent assault.
He was joined by friends as he left court following his acquittal