The appeal process against Bo Coolsaet started on Thursday in Antwerp. As expected, the advocate general again demanded the acquittal in the sexual intercourse against the urologist.
Coolsaet was initially sentenced to four years in prison, half of which was effective, for the rape and sexual assault of a minor. The doctor appealed against the verdict.
The woman accusing Coolsaet was 15 years old when she consulted Coolsaet for abdominal pain. The urologist used a kind of vibrator during the treatment, with which he stimulated the area around the urethra of the minor victim. The girl had felt contractions in her lower abdomen and experienced them as an orgasm. The doctor had not explained to his patient or her parents the possible consequences of the treatment with that device.
Bo Coolsaet has always maintained that it was a standard treatment that he performed on some 300 patients. ‘This case stands or falls with the credibility of the parties’ statements,’ said Advocate General Marc Verhelst today. “Everything else – the expert reports and statements from the entourage of both parties – are evidence of support.”
“Urologist or charlatan?”
At first instance, the judges were damning for the lack of scientific evidence for the treatment used by Coolsaet. On Thursday, the advocate general was critical of the verdict of those first judges and wonders why they simply swept the expert and multidisciplinary judgment of the Order of Doctors under the carpet. The violations that were then presented to the Order were an exact mirror of the charges for which Coolsaet is now on trial. The Order acquitted him, but because the acquittal was not motivated, that judgment was completely ignored by the court. That is not correct. ‘
The Public Prosecution Service questions the facts as presented by the court of first instance, referring to the psychiatric report. The report stated that while the victim’s statements were credible, they had to be placed in the context of an adolescent in full sexual development. The court psychiatrist did not doubt her credibility, but nevertheless made an important comment: what if she interpreted certain things differently? What if she experienced spasms like an orgasm, even though it wasn’t one? ‘
‘The court psychiatrist actually says that she believes the girl, but that her truth is not necessarily the truth. All this makes me conclude that there is insufficient certainty to convict this man and that is why I ask for the acquittal, ‘concluded Advocate General Marc Verhelst.
After reporting on the case, other female patients who feel like victims of Bo Coolsaet also came out into the open. But the prosecution never changed its attitude. Most of the complaints from other women have now been dropped because they have expired.
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