Trial in Berlin: HIV doctors in court – accusation of sexual abuse

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Emma Teitel
Emma Teitel
Emma Teitel is an award-winning national affairs columnist with the Toronto Star who writes about anything and everything. She got her start at Maclean's Magazine where she wrote frequently about women's issues, LGBT rights, and popular culture.

Since April, Heiko J. has had to answer for the accusation of sexual abuse in five cases before the District Court of Berlin-Tiergarten. The internationally recognised doctor is said to have committed suicide in five patients between 2011 and 2016. The 62-year-old denies the allegations. Medically necessary measures may have been misunderstood by patients.

All just misunderstandings? Or a # MeToo scandal about a doctor who has used his position of trust for years?

Michael B. is one of the patients who accuse Heiko J. of sexual assault. The 45-year-old is a joint plaintiff in the lawsuit. This Monday, he reports in court what happened eight and a half years ago in practice. Some memory has faded. He answers the questions of the judges and the public prosecutor’s office. The defense will question him on Thursday.

“When he started pushing around on my prostate, I started to wonder«

According to the plaintiff, he was alone with Heiko J. in a room that day. “Dr. J. greeted me very differently than usual.”He grabbed his face, touched his cheek. He then had to lie down on a treatment chair, a special chair for proctological examinations. It had seemed unusual to him that Heiko J. had insisted that he undress completely.

Heiko J. then massaged his prostate without notice. “When he started pushing around on my prostate, I started to wonder.”It had occurred to him for a very long time, maybe half a minute. Heiko J. has prepared a so-called urethral swab, in which a fine rod is inserted into the penis. He took the penis of B. in his hand, pushed the foreskin forward and back, not twice, not three times, but far more often. Even after the smear he continued to “milk”his penis. At some point B. got an erection. And Heiko J. said,”what we are doing is now forbidden.”

In this situation, someone suddenly tried in vain to open the locked door. The doctor did not get this out of hand. “It’s not the first time he’s done that,” Michael B. thought. “He then tried to kiss me.”Heiko J. continued to touch his penis. “And that was the moment when I pushed him away and I was able to break it off.”He explained to the doctor that he did not want this because he wanted to continue as a patient in the practice and not mix the levels. He is annoyed today that he justified himself at that time. “Instead of me getting angry.«

The judge asked him a little later if he thought that they both considered it a sexual situation at the time. “It was clear to me that this was a sexual act,” says B. And he thinks that Heiko J. was also clear.

“Did you feel overwhelmed by the situation?”, the prosecutor asks him. “Yes,” replies the plaintiff. It was the first time something like this had happened to him. He also says that he initially found it difficult to see the incident as a sexual assault.

Confused, he left the practice. So confused that he took the right of way from a female driver with his bicycle.

Confusion also speaks from his memory log, which he wrote immediately afterwards in a café nearby. The plaintiff notes contradictory feelings in it. Amazement, sexual arousal, defense. The presiding judge will read it on that day, when Michael B. has already left the courtroom. The protocol is formulated in presence.

“I wonder why Heiko massages my prostate so extensively.”He, Michael B., gets involved a bit, can “enjoy”it a bit. Heiko J. massage his “cock”, then a “nasty pain” during the urethral swab. Further penis massage until erection. “You see, it works!”, he notes as words of the doctor. Then his attempt to kiss him. “He wants the same with tongue, I do not.””Totally forbidden” is what they did to each other, the doctor is said to have said. “Better not,” Michael B. repelled him. He struggles to tell someone about what happened, he writes. He also notes that at no point did he feel helpless or powerless. “What if two grown men have just plotted out what is possible and what is not?«

The answers of the accused-detailed and debauched

The defendant also speaks on that day, he speaks before the statement of the co-plaintiff. He has no memories of Michael B., he says. But he had the patient records from his practice. He answers the questions of the court, the public prosecutor’s office and the medical expert in detail. Only questions of the lawyers of the side action he does not allow.

He explains the closed door of the treatment room with the protection of the patients. Directly in front of the room was a waiting area for patients who should not suddenly burst in. From the inside, the door could be opened at any time by pressing a button.

The documents show that on 5 September 2012 he examined Michael B. not alone, but in the presence of an assistant doctor. It was quite ” conceivable “that he had” milked ” the man’s penis. However, this is not a sexually motivated act, but part of the investigation.

He could “rule out” that he had given Michael B. a kiss of the tongue. “Kisses on the left, kisses on the right”, on the other hand, is not unusual “for long-term patients and friends of the practice,” he says. “But never, of course, in highly infectious patients.”Michael B. was with him for treatment because of such an infection.

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Heiko J. also talks about the urethral swab, “a very unpleasant and painful procedure”. A pressure on the prostate serves to gain secretion and at the same time acts as a kind of body’s own “painkiller”. He explains in detail which steps are necessary with which instruments for a thorough investigation. A look under the foreskin is necessary, as well as “slight milking movements” on the penis. “They push the prostate and milk the penis.”Of course, he announces every move beforehand.

He had “never experienced an erection with the urethral swab”, says Heiko J.,”because it really hurts”. In other cases, erections occur in patients. “You don’t have to apologize. Rejoice that this works so well,”he then says.

It was only in December 2013 that Michael B. reported the doctor. Why so late? About a week after the incident, a friend advised him to contact the patient representative of the state of Berlin first, says the plaintiff. He called there and did not feel taken seriously, which is why he initially refrained from taking any further steps.

In the summer of 2013, he learned about a man who is said to have experienced something similar in practice. They exchanged views. This man is also a co-plaintiff in the lawsuit. In December 2013, Michael B. complained to the Medical Association about Heiko J. In the same month, he reported the doctor.

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