One of Scotland’s leading psychologists faces being struck off over allegations of historical sex abuse.
Ian Stephen, who advised on the television programmes Cracker and Prime Suspect, is being investigated by the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC) over the alleged abuse of a young patient he treated in the 80s.
The psychologist, a former clinical director of the State Hospital at Carstairs who has given expert testimony at many of Scotland’s high-profile trials, strenuously denies the claims.
Since April 2019, Stephen has faced a series of HCPC hearings behind closed doors. At the most recent, an interim suspension was upheld by their conduct and competence committee.
A final judgment will be made in November.
But Stephen, 81, told the council, which oversees health and care professionals in the UK, that the woman accusing him is “a fantasist”.
He said: “I didn’t hear until February or March last year when somebody mentioned there were accusations.
“I didn’t hear what those were until April or May.
“I wrote a letter giving a complete description of the history relating to her family, what she was involved in and so on. She’s a fantasist, to be quite honest.”
He also refutes a claim his accuser struggled with post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of the alleged abuse. Instead, he says she craved his attention and made up stories about him.
He said: “There is one situation where she describes when the mother invited me to visit. She makes accusations about what happened during that time.
“She gives a story I had sex with her in the back garden of her parents’ house, which is rubbish because her mother was home.
“She got angry because I wouldn’t speak to her and spent all my time talking to her mother.
“Details she gave of her age, date of birth everything, were all over the place. She says she was aged 12, which is ridiculous.
“She said she was abused as a child but I never knew her as a child. She was 16 when I was first asked to see her.
“I haven’t had contact with her for ages but she just doesn’t give up.”
Stephen, who worked with police on the Bible John case and the murders by Suffolk Strangler Steve Wright, admitted the girl visited his home but insists nothing ever happened.
He said: “Some years later, she had a boyfriend and they came to visit me on the way to the north of Scotland. There was nothing sexual in it at all.”
The psychologist said his wife doesn’t know about the claims but that they were looked into 15 years ago by police. At the time, he agreed to be interviewed with a solicitor present.
He said:“The police contacted me about it around 2005. I gave them contacts, all the people who would have had information, so I presume they followed that up before they came to the conclusion they needn’t take things further.
“The police were very thorough and told HCPC there is no prosecution to be made.”
Despite that, Stephen – who began practising in 1965 – claims he is not being given a fair hearing by the council, which lists him as a practitioner psychologist.
He said: “The HCPC tends to take the version of the person making the accusation rather than getting the facts.
“I wrote a fairly full detailed explanation but the committee ignored anything I said, even though my stuff was the facts and hers was a fantasy. They lost paperwork and it’s been chaos ever since.
“I’ve not been given a fair hearing. I have never abused anybody.”
HCPC said: “The hearing of Mr Ian Stephen was heard on August 13, 2020. The panel decided to confirm the existing interim suspension order. A date for the final hearing will be confirmed in due course.”
Stephen expects to be struck off, despite having already retired due to ill health.
He said: “I could be struck off but I stopped working in 2018. There is no truth in these accusations. People say things and you’ve got to disprove them rather than them having to prove what they’re saying.”