A former Oamaru doctor who emailed a patient's mother inviting her daughter for a "gentle bonk'' has admitted touching her inappropriately over several years.

At the Timaru District Court yesterday, Stephen James Dawson, 60, pleaded guilty to representative charges of indecent assault and doing an indecent act with a person with significant impairment.

A further charge of exploitative sexual connection was withdrawn.

For the duration of his offending - between March 10, 2008 and September 1, 2016 - Dawson was employed at Central Medical in Oamaru.


He stopped practising on March 27, 2017 and had his practising certificate suspended on June 30 of the same year.

The now 46-year-old Oamaru victim, who has an intellectual disability that made it difficult for her to make her own decisions and who could be easily manipulated, had been Dawson's patient since 1997.

He became close friends with the victim and her mother, who lived together and worked as cleaners at the Eden St practice.

The victim's mother had also babysat Dawson's children.

He would visit them regularly at home, call and text them outside work hours and have outings with them.

Dawson also bought gifts for the victim, including clothing.

The court heard that in February 2008, acting as the victim's doctor, Dawson wrote a letter to Healthcare Otago asking for an assessment to be arranged to determine whether the victim understood the concept of consent for sex, in relation to an unrelated matter.

A reply said the victim did not have the ability to give informed consent to sexual acts.

On several occasions between March 10, 2008 and July 14, 2016 the victim saw Dawson as a patient without her mother present.

On one occasion he indecently touched her breasts, an act that was not part of a legitimate medical examination, and commented that she had "nice breasts''.

During a February 10, 2009 appointment he took at least 18 photographs and two short videos of the victim while she was topless, again unrelated to an examination.

Dawson later downloaded the material on to a disc, which he stored at his home.

Between April 7 and April 10, 2015 he touched the victim's breasts over her togs while in a spa pool with her at his Wanaka apartment, before she asked him to stop.

On November 24, 2015 he messaged the victim through Facebook and offered her $1000 for a "very long cuddle''.

Between February 17 and March 10, 2016 Dawson visited the victim at her home while her mother was in hospital, where he put his arms around her waist and told her he wished she was his girlfriend.

On three occasions he put her hands on his chest and hips, held her hips, told her she was "very attractive'' and touched her breasts.

The court heard the victim did not want to touch Dawson or have him touch her, but felt she had to because he was her doctor.

On May 26, 2016 Dawson messaged the victim and asked for a photograph of her in her bra and on June 5, 2016, after walking his dog with the victim, put his hand under her clothing and squeezed her breasts while they sat on a park bench.

The same day, while at the victim's home, he asked her to try on the bras he had bought her, then asked her to take off her clothes.

Dawson removed the new bra he had put on her, then touched her breasts while he removed it.

He also took photographs of the victim.

On August 18, 2016 he emailed the victim's mother, asking if she would let him "bed'' the victim.

Two further emails, sent on the same day invited the victim for a "gentle bonk'', and asked the victim's mother if her daughter "would come to my bed''.

He also sent a message accompanied by a photograph of the victim wearing a bra to her mother on September 1, 2016, which said "I do take risks, here is your daughter looking awesome''.

The matter was then reported to police.

Dawson was remanded to appear for sentencing on August 16.