Social worker struck off for having sex with female client

A social worker who had sex with a female service user, told her not to take her prescribed anti-psychotic medication and suggested her children had been “taken by the devil” has been struck off.

Rodney Smith was working for Waltham Forest Council, London, when he was allocated as the social worker for two of the woman’s children in January 1998.

Between 1998 and 2000, Smith behaved inappropriately towards the woman, known as Ms X, giving her personal information about himself, hugging and kissing her, a conduct committee of the General Social Care Council found.

By November 2000, Smith was visiting Ms X, taking her out for meals, giving her gifts and having sex with her.

He told Ms X he doubted the diagnosis made by a consultant psychiatrist that she had a borderline personality disorder, and told her not to take the anti-psychotic medication the psychiatrist had prescribed.

Behaved inappropriately

Smith also behaved inappropriately in relation to his religious beliefs, the committee found, criticising the Muslim faith and promoting Christianity. He suggested Ms X’s children had been taken by the devil, gave her a copy of the Bible and took her to church.

The conduct committee said Ms X was a credible witness and it accepted her evidence, some of which was backed up by tape-recorded conversations involving a male voice, which the committee judged to be Smith’s.

The committee took into account Smith’s “otherwise impeccable” record and various submissions made on his behalf, but concluded that the misconduct was “grave” because he had committed “serious sexual misconduct with a service user, and had displayed protracted dishonesty, including in the investigation and before the committee”.

“This misconduct was a gross abuse of trust and a violation of the rights of people who use services. Removal was therefore, essential in order to safeguard service users and maintain confidence in the provision of social care services,” the committee concluded.

Smith left his position at Waltham Forest Council in October 2005, before the misconduct allegations came to light.

Liaquat Ali, cabinet member for children and young people at the council, said: “Although the circumstances surrounding this case were only brought to light once Mr Smith had left our employment, his actions were clearly unacceptable and the council has worked closely with the family concerned and the GSCC from the moment the issue was raised to ensure a satisfactory outcome.”

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