A residential child care manager who sent a photograph of his genitalia to the mother of a service user has been suspended from the social care register in Wales.
Hugh Drewhurst Wynne was given the woman’s mobile phone number during a meeting to establish what respite care was needed for her child. The next day, he sent her a personal text message and subsequently sent texts of a sexually explicit nature, one of which included a photograph of his genitalia.
He later engaged in a sexual relationship with the woman, the Care Council for Wales (CCW) heard.
Wynne was also found to have dishonestly filled out a timesheet for 8 June 2012 to make it look like he had been working all day, when in fact he spent the afternoon with the woman.
The CCW’s conduct committee acknowledged that the relationship was consensual, but said Wynne was clearly the one maintaining contact and making it sexualised.
“He abused a position of trust and took advantage of a vulnerable person,” the committee said. “Unfortunately his motivation appears to have been dominated by sexual desires rather than any regard to his professional responsibilities, the vulnerability of the service user’s mother, the codes of practice for social care workers and the welfare of the child and his/her mother.”
The committee gave serious consideration to removing Wynne from the register, but noted that this was an isolated incident in a 20-year career in social care, adding: “The registrant is clearly a dedicated and valued member of staff.”
It decided that a one-year suspension would give him an opportunity to reflect upon the need to uphold professional boundaries.