A CENTRAL Queensland doctor has been charged for allegedly spanking a female employee.
Dr Peter John Fenner AM – the national medical officer for Surf Life Saving Australia and well-known irukandji jellyfish researcher – is alleged to have spanked a 17-year-old female employee at a Mackay workplace last month.
The incident allegedly occurred after the teenager made a mistake with some paperwork.
The 57-year-old – who practices at Mackay Family Medicine and has been an adjunct honorary associate professor at James Cook University – is accused of asking the female employee to bend over some office equipment on May 22.
She was then allegedly spanked numerous times by the doctor.
It is alleged the girl was fully clothed during the spanking.
A complaint was made to Mackay police late last month.
Detectives raided Dr Fenner's office and seized his computer, but the doctor was not charged until last week to allow him to seek legal advice.
He was charged with one count of sexual assault and was bailed to appear in the Mackay Magistrate's Court on July 17.
Dr Fenner was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia last year for "service to medicine through marine toxinology research and management, to surf lifesaving in Queensland, and to the community".
A James Cook University spokeswoman said she could not comment on whether there would be any disciplinary action regarding Dr Fenner's honorary adjunct position of Associate Professor as a result of the sexual assault charge.
A Mackay Family Medicine spokeswoman said it was none of The Courier-Mail's business what the centre's procedures were in regards to Dr Fenner.
She said there was a procedures and practices guide for every medical centre and their guide was being put in place.
A Surf Life Saving Australia spokesman said the association had no comment to make until an internal investigation was completed.
"We take matters of this nature very, very seriously," he said.
"We're looking into this matter as we speak."
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