Nurse suspended over child abuse claims

An experienced nurse has been suspended from her post after being charged with committing sexual offences against a minor.

Rhona Sharman, 50, has been suspended from her position as a staff nurse in West Lothian by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC). The ban is expected to last 18 months while the accused faces the criminal charges.

The nurse has been charged with taking indecent photographs of a child, causing an older child to be present while engaging in sexual activity, communicating indecently with an older child and causing an older child to participate in sexual activity.

According to the NMC the offences are alleged to have taken place between August and October last year and involve a child aged between 13 and 16.

Douglas Sharman, 46, is also facing two charges of intercourse with an older child, causing an older child to participate in sexual activity, causing an older child to be present while engaging in sexual activity, communicating indecently with an older child and taking indecent photographs of a child.

Since being charged by Strathclyde Police on October 28, Ms Sharman has not carried out any clinical duties.

Internal investigation

The NMC investigating committee ruled that it was in the public interest to suspend the nurse until the council had completed its investigation into the allegations.

A statement from the panel said: “This is one of those rare cases where public interest alone necessitates an interim suspension order as an appropriate response. The panel is of the view that the allegations, if proven, suggest that you demonstrated poor judgement.

Your position as a registered nurse requires you to maintain certain standards including that you must always act lawfully, whether those laws relate to your professional practice or personal life, and that you must uphold the reputation of your profession.

“The panel considered that the reputation of the profession would be damaged if an order were not in place… the alleged behaviour would fall well below the public’s expectation of the behaviour of a registered nurse.”

They noted that the alleged incidents had taken place outside work.

Chris Dickson, Ms Sharman’s lawyer, said the accused denied the allegations made against her.

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