Michael Haslam

Michael Haslam
Photo via The York Press

Michael Haslam, a violent male transvestite, was convicted of raping a female patient and indecently assaulting two other women.  The offences took place in 1981 and 1988 when Haslam was employed as a consultant psychiatrist at Clifton Psychiatric Hospital in York. Haslam, 69, was sentenced to seven years in prison at Leeds Crown Court in 2003.

Mr Justice Gray told him he had used his specialist knowledge of his victims’ vulnerability to cause them profound harm; the woman he had raped at the psychiatric hospital had tried to kill herself. He commented at the sentencing that the harm he had caused  “has been compounded by the fact that by contesting these charges you have subjected the women to the ordeal of giving evidence. The assaults took place under the pretext of treatment that was inappropriate or of doubtful therapeutic benefit, or both. They have resulted in your disgrace both professionally and personally.”

At lest 10 complaints of sexual advances were made against Haslam but it was only after a complaint of sexual assault that he was “allowed, perhaps even encouraged,” to retire from the NHS. He resigned from the health service in December 1988 to take up a private post at Harrogate, but without his resignation taking effect until the following April meaning there could have been further opportunities for abusing patients during that four-month period. In effect he was able to serve out his notice and then continue practising outside the NHS as he left with his reputation intact. He was later appointed an honorary NHS consultant in York and a non-clinical medical director in Durham, before retiring in 1998.

In an editorial in 2005, The British Medical Journal cited the fact that concerns and complaints about Michael Haslam were never acted on by the NHS, and that he and another psychiatrist convicted of sexually abusing vulnerable women were also allowed to remove themselves voluntarily from the medical register, thereby avoiding disciplinary action by the General Medical Council.

At Haslam’s psychosexual clinic in York he saw transsexual and transvestite clients and worked with the Beaumont Society to provide support and promote social acceptance for people with “gender transitions.” He discussed his own transvestism in his biography and revealed he “chose the pseudonym Victoria! I don’t know why!”

In 2004, the Court of Appeal ruled the rape conviction was “unsafe” and reduced his sentence to three years, although the four convictions of indecent assault were upheld. Lawyers for Haslam argued that the case against him should not have been allowed to proceed because it related to alleged events in the 1980s – so long ago as to render the trial unfair.

Media reports:

BBC http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/north_yorkshire/3323899.stm

The Press, York http://www.yorkpress.co.uk/news/1254845.disgraced_consultant_haslam_admits_he_used_to_enjoy_dressing_as_a_woman/

British Medical Journal http://www.bmj.com/content/suppl/2005/07/21/331.7510.175-a.DC1

The Guardian https://www.theguardian.com/society/2003/dec/17/health.healthandwellbeing

The Press, York http://www.yorkpress.co.uk/news/7971039.display/

Yorkshire Post http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/news/jailed-sex-abuser-denies-his-guilt-in-book-1-2438402

Harrogate Advertiser http://www.harrogateadvertiser.co.uk/news/former-doctor-s-rape-conviction-unsafe-1-2676785