A man who posed as a doctor, obstetrician and gynaecologist in Melbourne has been jailed for nearly a decade
Raffaele Di Paolo has been sentenced after pleading guilty to 51 offences of procuring sexual penetration by fraud, assault, indecent assault and obtaining and trying to obtain property by deception.
For about a decade, Mr Di Paolo posed as a medical practitioner and fertility specialist, despite having never been registered as a medical practitioner and never having completed a medical degree or equivalent qualification.
He was convicted for performing a range of treatments on 30 victims, both men and women — including taking blood samples from women and injecting them with ‘homeopathic’ substances, carrying out internal ultrasounds and external examinations, and removing semen from testicles with a needle.
Victorian County Court Judge Bill Stuart said Mr Di Paolo’s capacity for deception was profound.
“You deliberately deceived your victims, you breached the trust they had in you, you encouraged false hope,” Judge Stuart said.
“You wrongfully touched them and penetrated their bodies, and you took large sums of money.
“There is not a shred of evidence that you acknowledged your wrongdoing.”
Mr Di Paolo was sentenced to nine years and six months in jail, with a non-parole period of six years and six months, and placed on the sex offender register for life.
He also pleaded guilty to five AHPRA charges of knowingly or recklessly using words that could indicate he was a health practitioner and specialist health practitioner.
For his offences under the National Law, the court recorded a conviction against Mr Di Paolo and imposed a total fine of $5,000 as well as awarding costs to be paid by the defendant.
AHPRA CEO Martin Fletcher said the decision by the court was a serious signal to anyone who falsely claims to be a registered health practitioner.
“This is an exceptionally good outcome for patient safety. We will continue to do everything we can to prevent fake practitioners putting the public at risk.”
Medical Board of Australia Chair Dr Joanna Flynn AM said evidence given by Mr Di Paolo’s victims showed the impact of his deception.
“Pretending to be trained and qualified when you are not breaks the law, betrays community trust and will trigger serious regulatory action,” Dr Flynn said.