‘Mystery tour’ social worker struck off for sexual misconduct

A social worker who took a vulnerable service user on a "mystery tour" to a seaside town and made sexual advances towards her has been struck off.

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A social worker who took a vulnerable service user on a “mystery tour” to a seaside town and made sexual advances towards her has been struck off.

John Rushbrook was employed as a senior social worker in the London Borough of Bexley when he was allocated to the woman, known as Mrs X, between February and November 2009.

During that time, Rushbrook bought Mrs X a variety of gifts, held her hand and hugged her, the General Social Care Council’s conduct committee heard.

On one occasion he warned he could make it “very unpleasant” if he ever had to section her under the Mental Health Act.

In March 2009, Rushbrook took Mrs X on a “mystery tour” to the Margate area, bought her lunch, confiscated her mobile phone and made sexual advances towards her while they were sitting in his car, the committee heard.

Rushbrook denied taking Mrs X on a day trip and challenged the truthfulness of her evidence.

He pointed out that, during an earlier police investigation, doubts were raised about Mrs X’s credibility. The police later decided not to pursue the case.

However, the committee found Mrs X’s evidence to be “truthful and reliable”. It also noted that she had maintained a consistent account when disclosing the incident to her counsellor and the local Safeguarding Adults coordinators.

Furthermore, Rushbrook’s car registration number plate had been recorded by the police as entering the Ramsgate area, near Margate, at 12:38pm on the day in question.

The committee concluded that Rushbrook’s behaviour amounted to exploitation of Mrs X, who was receiving treatment for a serious medical condition.

It said: “The proven facts amount to an abuse of trust and exploitation of a very vulnerable service user, which extends to inappropriate and sexual misbehaviour.

“Such sexual misconduct can only result in removal from the register.”

Read the full notice of decision

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