Max challenges sexual harassment claimComment on this story
Cape Town - Former community Safety MEC Lennit Max has pulled out all the stops in his bid to clear his name.
He lodged a court application for access to confidential psychiatric records of the woman who accused him of sexual harassment, and hired a clinical sexologist to prove his genitals did not match the graphic description she gave.
Max wants to use the medical records and sexologist’s report in a R700 000 defamation action he lodged against the tabloid newspaper, Die Son.
But the woman refuses to hand them over, saying she is “disgusted” at his actions.
The case stems from sexual harassment allegations the newspaper published in February 2010, made by former police clerk Belinda Petersen.
Max said he intended to prove the allegations were not true, adding that he believed that, at the time, Petersen was mentally unstable and had been treated by psychiatrist Segeree Chetty.
It was for this reason he had asked the Western Cape High Court to compel Chetty to hand over clinical notes and Petersen’s original file, so they can be examined by an expert.
“Against the above background, the mental health of Petersen is an important issue in determining whether the allegations of my alleged sexual impropriety are true or not. The medical file and clinical notes held by Dr Chetty are of vital importance to establish what the state of Petersen’s mental health is,” he said.
However, according to the papers, Chetty said she was precluded from producing the file by the Ethical Rules of Conduct for Practitioners registered under the Health Professions Act.
Max approached Petersen herself for consent, but did not receive a response, he said in the affidavit.
“I respectfully submit that Petersen should not be permitted to make false allegations as a consequence of her impaired mental health, and at the same time be allowed to conceal her medical file and clinical notes of her own psychiatrist, which documents will probably prove that the allegations that Petersen had made about me are false,” he added.
Max also commissioned clinical sexologist Marlene Wasserman to compile a sexual health report on an assessment she performed on him in January last year.
In the report, she concluded that Petersen’s description of the penis of the person who allegedly sexually harassed her did not match Max’s.
In addition, she said her examinations were not consistent with the woman’s claims that she was injured as a result of the size of Max’s penis.
Petersen told Weekend Argus she was shocked at the request for medical records. She could not afford a lawyer to assist her, but said she would go to court to speak for herself and “look him in the eyes”.
She was “sick and tired of being a victim”, regarding herself rather as a survivor.
The application is expected to go to court next month.