Accused rapist awarded Order of Australia
A SYDNEY dermatologist and surgeon charged with raping another man has been awarded an Order of Australia.
The charge against Liang Joo Leow, from 2017, was revealed by The Sydney Morning Herald today, as one of the country's top honours comes under increasing scrutiny.
Dr Leow, an accomplished dermatologist and academic who serves in senior roles in the Australian medical community, was arrested in 2017 by Victoria Police after a fellow member of the medical community complained after they'd been on a date.
Prosecutors alleged Dr Leow had gone to dinner with a doctor who worked at a different hospital and the pair went home to have consensual sex.
It is alleged Dr Leow removed a condom during intercourse, after assuring his partner he'd wear protection.
Dr Leow was committed to stand trial in the Victorian County Court on one count of rape and one count of sexual assault last year, according to legal website Lexology.
Dr Leow denies the allegations.
Dr Leow, a dermatologist, surgeon and interpreter, was handed the medal of the Order of Australia this year for his services to medicine and the community.
Among his professional roles, he has served as a member on the Clinical Advisory and Innovation Council for St Vincent's Health since 2015 and a member of the Advisory Committee on Medicines for the Therapeutic Goods Administration since 2016. He's also worked as a consultant dermatologist at St Vincent's Hospital in Sydney since 2011.
After the charges came in 2017, the Medical Board of Australia moved to have Dr Leow suspended from practising. But Dr Leow appealed the decision, and the board determined it was not in the "public interest" for him to stop practising while the criminal trial proceeded.
The Order of Australia awards have already come under fire this year, after controversial commentator Bettina Arndt was handed a medal for her work for "gender equity through advocacy for men". After she was honoured, Arndt was criticised by former winner of Australian of the Year Rosie Batty, whose son was murdered by his father, and who is a public advocate against domestic violence and violence against women. Batty said she felt the legitimacy of the Order of Australia had been thrown into question.
"I cannot help but be appalled that someone who minimised violence towards women who is part of the inevitable push-back and backlash that we all experience as we pioneer a way forward, would be awarded," Ms Batty previously told news.com.au.
Dr Leow is due at the Victorian County Court for a directions hearing in May.