Less then a week out for the local elections, Morgan Francis Fahey should have been feeling optimistic. He was a pillar of the community, an international expert in trauma medicine and over many years he had done a large amount of voluntary work. The silver haired, 68-year-old stood for public safety, more police resources and to maintain Christchurch reputation as the “safest city”. The local doctor was becoming somewhat of a celebrity. But as the nation settled down to watch TV3’s 20/20 current affairs programme, Morgan Fahey’s reputation as protector changed to predator.
Almost 30 year before this, a young woman waited to be seen by Dr Fahey for pregnancy care. Single and new to the area, she had only had a couple of appointments with the doctor, who had been recommended by her flatmate. She entered Fahey’s office and they discussed pain relief options and in particular hypnotic methods. Before long the conversation had turned to a much more sexual nature. Although she felt uncomfortable, the seven-month pregnant woman trusted the man, as he was a health professional. As he violated her with a vibrator then raped her on his exam table it was clear that the trust was misplaced and he neither cared for her health nor was he in anyway professional.
Ten years on a mother of two sat in Dr Fahey’s office, when he asked her to undress and put on a gown she did so. As he talked about ways of enhancing her sex life with her husband, he touched her then proceeded to masturbate. The woman in her early twenty’s was horrified and shocked. She left and vowed never to return. Upon getting extremely sick her husband called Dr Fahey and asked him to visit her at home. The doctor sat on the bed and proceeded to touch her under the covers, she screamed to her husband to remove the man. Unbelievably Doctor Fahey visited her again this time without any request and asked if she was lonely and needed company. So horrified were the couple that they immigrated to Australia.
These are just a couple of the stories that came to light about Dr Fahey and there is no doubt Christchurch residents watched in horror and disbelief as 20/20 unfolded the real story of Morgan Fahey and his darker side. The broadcast included allegations of professional and sexual misconduct from 3 former patients. This was to be followed with another programme in which a former patient confronted Fahey at his office in Shirley Medical Centre. However Fahey obtained an injunction against the story and it was not aired until the court of appeal overturned it in December.
By this time the police had 11 complainants and a statement from another and a video in which the former Christchurch deputy major had said “sorry if this happened. I can’t recall” when questioned by the former patient
Morgan Francis Fahey was finally jailed on 01 June 2000 for rape, sexual violation and indent assault. He pleaded guilty in the High Court at Christchurch to 13 charges of sexually abusing 11 female patients over 30 years. Among the charges he admitted to raping the seven-month pregnant patient on his exam table, using a vibrator on another and fondling the breasts of a prospective Ansett NZ flight attendant during medical examination. (Fahey had become known as “Fingers” within the airline). He received four years for the rape charge, two more years on sexual violation count, One year jail on using a vibrator and six months jail on three charges involving Ansett flight attendants (served concurrently)
During the trail 68-year-old Fahey was said to have showed a lack of insight and remorse, leading Prime Minister Helen Clark to ask the queen to strip his OBE that was received in 1977 for services to the community. This was removed in August 2000, as the queen accepted Fahey’s resignation via mail. Then in October 2000, he was struck off the register and forced to pay 75% of his prosecution costs by the Medical Practitioners' Disciplinary Tribunal.
In an appeal brought about by the Solicitor General, the high court failed to increase Fahey’s sentence to 10 years as requested, leaving the sentence at 6.
Disgraced Fahey appeared in the media again in November 2001, when a cell search uncovered medical notes from former patients, cash and pornography. Legally Fahey is able to retain any patients’ notes. An internal inquiry on how Fahey had managed to obtain the documents and pornography was launched with in the correction department soon after.