On Friday, NSW District Court Judge Leonie Flannery said the acts committed by Khorami against the women, aged between 16 and 29, included touching their bodies, touching one woman’s breasts and genitals over her underwear, and placing his penis on their hands and feet for minutes at a time.
Judge Flannery said each of the women went to the clinic seeking a solution to their sleep difficulties, but instead of getting the data for their problems to be diagnosed “they were indecently assaulted or drugged”.
“It is troubling that he continues to maintain he was engaging in legitimate medical practice when he committed the offences and some of the victims consented,” Judge Flannery said.
“He will almost certainly never practise medicine in this country again.”
She jailed Khorami for a maximum of 6 years, with a non-parole period of 3 years and 9 months, to allow for a lengthy period of supervision when he is released.
Khorami, who has no prior criminal record, was found guilty by a jury earlier this year of administering an intoxicating substance with intent to commit aggravated indecent assault, 19 charges of indecent assault, and two counts of committing an act of indecency.
Giving evidence during the trial, Khorami claimed cameras in the patients’ rooms captured him engaging in sacred and non-sexual penis rubbing, which was “different from masturbation”.
He said the human body has seven chakras, six of which can have energy transferred to them using someone’s hand. However, the remaining “sacral chakra”, located in the genitals, has energy transferred “with penis of healer”.
“[If] patient is male and healer is female, female healer should transfer with hand to patient’s penis,” he said.
He also claimed he did not mention tantric healing in an extensive police interview in 2018 because he believed the information could be sent back to the conservative government in his native Iran and they could send an assassin to kill him.
Khorami watched on from custody wearing prison greens as his sentence was handed down on Friday. The court was packed with the women he assaulted, their supporters, and police who investigated the case.
Judge Flannery said the assaults were carried out over four weeks, with each offence lasting for hours at a time as Khorami repeatedly entered the patients’ rooms. She said she has no doubt the women had been traumatised by Khorami’s behaviour.
In a statement, the Woolcock Clinic said when Khorami’s behaviour was discovered “we immediately established a number of additional patient security measures” including installing further surveillance and ensuring a sleep technician is accompanied by a colleague each time they enter a patient’s room.
“As soon as we became aware of the allegations regarding the former employee, he was suspended and subsequently dismissed,” a spokesperson said.
“The Woolcock Clinic assisted NSW Police at all stages of its investigation and throughout the court process. We acknowledge this has been a distressing time for all involved.”
Khorami will be eligible for parole in June 2024.
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Georgina Mitchell is a court reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald.