Published: 06:00, 24 November 2020
A "predatory" nurse who groped a vulnerable patient and sent half-naked pictures to another has been struck off.
Kevin Harris, 54, "damaged the reputation of the nursing profession" by pursuing sexual relationships while working at the Kent & Canterbury Hospital, the industry regulator has ruled.
His inappropriate actions centred on two female patients a decade apart.
The first, in 2005, was kissed on the lips and had her breasts touched on at least two occasions after Mr Harris pulled the curtain around her bed on a ward at the city hospital.
"Deeply affected" by his behaviour, the vulnerable patient discharged herself early and avoided further treatment in an effort to keep away from Mr Harris' advances.
The second patient, in 2015, reported that Mr Harris would meet with her in a car on hospital grounds, where sexual activities would take place.
He sent her "graphically sexual" photos of himself in underwear and images of himself posing in a towel, telling her she had "kissable lips".
Messages included "kissing you was wonderful, feeling your lips on mine" and “I really enjoyed last night, really hope we can do that again?”.
The incidents were reported to the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) and, following an investigation, 10 charges of misconduct were brought against Mr Harris.
He failed to respond to letters informing him of the probe and did not appear at a virtual hearing earlier this month.
The NMC panel found all 10 charges against Mr Harris to be proven and ruled he should be struck off the nursing register.
A report of the its findings states: "The facts of this case indicate that Mr Harris has a propensity to act in a sexually predatory manner which has put and is likely to put patients at risk of significant harm. The panel therefore determined that there is a risk of repetition.
"Patients were put at risk and were caused harm as a result of Mr Harris’ misconduct... he breached the fundamental tenets of the nursing profession and therefore brought its reputation into disrepute."
'Patients were put at risk and were caused harm as a result of Mr Harris’ misconduct...'
A spokesman for East Kent Hospitals said: “The Trust took immediate action as soon as we were aware of the incidents, including immediately suspending the staff member and reporting them to the NMC and the police. The staff member was subsequently dismissed.”
Following his arrest in 2015, Mr Harris was charged with two counts of sexual activity with a person with a mental disorder.
He was cleared by a jury on both counts after a trial at Canterbury Crown Court in 2017.
He was living in Margate at the time.