From a new referral to a woman who had been coming to him for 15 years, chiropractor Jemal Abdullah Khan took advantage of his female patients’ trust by indecently assaulting at least nine of them and taking photographs of two without their consent, a court heard Wednesday.
The nine victims’ experiences were detailed in Grand Court by Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions Patrick Moran. After hearing from him and defense attorney Laura Larner, Justice Charles Quin adjourned sentencing until Wednesday, Nov. 16, at 2 p.m.
Khan pleaded guilty to nine counts of indecent assault and two of “insulting behavior” on Sept. 30. At that hearing, Mr. Moran called the offenses gross breaches of trust. He said the charges Khan admitted related to 10 of 14 complainants. Mr. Moran summarized the offenses, noting they took place between August 2014 and February 2016, at Khan’s practice in Pasadora Place, Smith Road.
Mr. Moran said Khan abused his patients’ trust in a manner that could only be described as disgraceful, indecently assaulting them as they lay on the treatment table in various states of undress. He took indecent pictures of two women without their consent.
He gained their trust in the course of initial consultations and then persuaded them to undress, in circumstances where it appeared there was no need for them to do so, Mr. Moran said. Khan proceeded to touch them in a manner that made them feel uncomfortable or violated. After the police investigations began, many of the women said they had not complained because they thought their accounts would not be believed.
Mr. Moran, identifying the various victims by initials, outlined in detail what Khan had done to each of them.
One woman drafted a letter about Khan’s inappropriate behavior to the Health Practice Commission, but upon learning Khan was one of the commissioners, she did not send the letter.
The case that ultimately persuaded victims to come forward began in January 2016, when a patient complained to the Health Practice Commission on Feb. 18 that Khan had taken a photo of her while she was in a state of undress and undergoing treatment.
Following that complaint, police launched an investigation, during which they searched Khan’s home in South Sound and removed his computer hard drive. They found nine separate images of a female patient lying on a treatment table in the upstairs room of the clinic. That patient was subsequently identified and was among the nine women whose complaints about Khan’s indecent assaults were detailed in court Wednesday.
Police still do not know what type of recording device Khan used, the court heard. The images were stills from a video, Mr. Moran explained. It was clear the woman was not aware that the images had been taken.
After arresting Khan, police issued a press release about their investigations, but without naming him, at which point, other patients came forward.
The maximum sentence for indecent assault in Cayman is 10 years. The maximum for taking indecent photographs is three years per offense.
Ms. Larner told the court that Khan had qualified as a chiropractor in Canada in 1996 and came to Cayman in 1998. He was granted Caymanian status in 2003 and had been held in high esteem in the community.
Ms. Larner said, following his arrest, Khan had sought help from a psychiatrist who sent him to a psychologist to receive specific treatment for a mental disorder, which she did not identify. Since being remanded in custody he has been referred to the prison psychologist, she said.
He has now sold his business and his home is up for sale as well.