A social worker who formed an inappropriate relationship with a 19-year-old victim of domestic abuse has been struck off.
Noel O’Reilly was allocated to the young woman, known as Ms A for legal reasons, while working at North Yorkshire Council between August 1997 and March 1998.
At the time, Ms A was in an abusive relationship with her husband, who would coerce her into having sex with other men and threaten to “beat her up and smack her” if she refused, the General Social Care Council’s conduct committee heard.
Concerns were later raised about O’Reilly’s relationship with the couple after Ms A’s husband claimed O’Reilly had had sex with Ms A on her nineteenth birthday.
O’Reilly admitted in a police interview in November 2010 that he had spent an evening with Ms A and her then husband, socialising and drinking alcohol.
He also admitted he had stayed the night at the couple’s house, but denied having sex with Ms A.
However, when questioned by the GSCC’s conduct committee, Ms A backed up her ex-husband’s claims and said she had been coerced into having sex with O’Reilly. The committee thought her a credible witness and found the allegation proved.
O’Reilly did not attend the conduct hearing, nor was he represented.
He emailed the GSCC in April 2012 accepting that his behaviour in socialising with the couple had fallen short of what was expected of a registered social worker. He apologised for any hurt he had caused to Ms A as a result, adding that he had retired in February 2011 and was therefore no longer working as a social worker.
But the committee, having found all allegations against O’Reilly proved, decided it was necessary to remove him from the register in order to maintain public confidence in social work.