For sixty years, John Henry Kearsley led an exemplary life – much of it as a dedicated, respected and hard-working oncologist.
But the former high-profile professional is now behind bars for spiking a young doctor’s drink before sexually assaulting her after they had dined at his Sydney home in November 2013.
His victim’s life has also changed, with her being robbed of her confidence and self-worth and left wondering if she can continue her medical career.
“Time is supposed to heal all wounds but I was still waiting,” she said in a statement read out in the NSW District Court.
“I still feel the same rage, shame and desire to disappear.”
On Friday, Judge Penelope Hock jailed Kearsley for four years three months with a non-parole period of two years three months.
The now-63-year-old pleaded guilty to administering an intoxicating substance, a strong sedative, to commit an indictable offence and assault with an act of indecency.
The judge was not satisfied the offending was pre-meditated, in that he lured her to his apartment to commit the crime, nor would she categorise the event as a romantic dinner.
Kearsley was known to be a generous host who entertained in his home and he invited the woman to dinner to discuss her career and work opportunities.
But at some early stage of the evening he put the drug in the woman’s wine with the intention of sexually assaulting her.
She later felt dizzy, muddled and sleepy and when she woke, realised Kearsley was kissing her nipples.
Noting he was an extremely hard-working and devoted professional, the judge said his work led to significant stress and ultimate burn out.
Psychiatric evidence referred to his depressive disorder, social anxiety, alcohol use disorder and his self-medication through a sedative, the same drug he put in the woman’s drink.
He has now lost his profession and good standing in the community and has been subjected to extensive media publicity.
The judge accepted he was genuinely remorseful, had rehabilitated himself and the offending had been contrary to everything he had believed in.