A DENTIST who pranced around his surgery in a leopard-print thong during an affair with a teenage dental nurse has asked to practice again.
Anthony Barton, 41, insists he had “grown up a lot” since subjecting three nurses to a campaign of indecent conduct, the General Dental Council heard.
I think I was very immature. I was very young at the time when certain aspects of the behaviour beganAnthony Barton
He was banned from the job after groping the women’s bottoms and trying to undo their bras during nearly eight years of “sexually-motivated behaviour”.
His relationship with one 19-year-old trainee led to sex in the toilets at the Red Rose Dental Group surgery in Wigan.
The dentist, who resigned from the practice after the allegations emerged, was found guilty of “unprofessional, inappropriate and indecent” sexual conduct towards three women between 2000 and 2008.
Twice-married Barton was found guilty of “unprofessional and inappropriate conduct” towards a fourth young dental nurse and was struck off for “a serious breach of trust of several vulnerable employees”.
Yesterday a contrite Barton told the London hearing: “I have come to understand where my conduct fell short of what was to be expected.
“It is quite clear to me now looking back that a lot of my actions were completely inappropriate and had no place in practice at all.
“I have grown up a lot.
“I think I was very immature. I was very young at the time when certain aspects of the behaviour began.
“It seems like a different person and I can’t believe a lot of the behaviour which happened.”
Barton told the panel he was now working as a manager at a Smiles Dental practice in Anglesey, Wales, and has to endure a 180-mile commute every day.
“The main role is running the business side of dentistry, so ensuring that the process runs smoothly on a day-to-day basis,” he said.
The company has now been bought by the large dental care provider Oasis, Barton said, adding he had been elected “staff representative” during the acquisition.
He said he would regularly chat with practitioners on “all matters dental” and now had a “far wider” knowledge of dentistry.
“There are so many things I know now that I never knew as a dentist,” he said.
Barton said he was trusted to be around lone females at the surgery and there had been “no complaints at all”.
“Often, there may just be myself and another member of staff,” he said.
His employers have even offered to give Barton a supervised and mentored role if the GDC allows him to re-register.
Barton also discussed taking practical and online courses to keep his knowledge of dentistry up to scratch, including tutorial sessions on professionalism and ethics.
He has taken “90 or 100 hours” of instruction and has even practised on dummy heads, since he is not allowed to work with real patients.
“After an hour or two of doing it, it started to feel very natural,” he said.
Gabriel Beeby, for the GDC, had introduced the case, saying Barton “had been unprofessional, inappropriate and participated in sexualised conduct towards four dental nurses with whom he worked.”
The 2009 tribunal was told how Barton pranced around his surgery in a thong during a six-month affair with 19-year-old known only as Ms B.
The pair would perform lewd acts on each other in his office and sneak down to the surgery toilet for sex when other staff had gone home.
Barton also asked another dental nurse, who was in her teens when she started working for him, if she could wear a thong to work.
During his five-day misconduct hearing, he was found guilty of 17 charges relating to his treatment of these women.
One victim, known only as Ms D, told the hearing of her disgust when his sexual innuendos took a physical twist and he began to “gratuitously grope” her bottom in the office.
She told the hearing: “I remember my trousers fell down a bit so I pulled them up myself. Mr Barton was standing behind me and thought that was a good opportunity to feel my bottom.”
Ms D was forced to call in sick in tears the next day and bosses finally investigated complaints from several of the nurses.
Barton, of Warrington, admitted having a six-month affair with dental nurse Ms B and was found guilty of having sex with her during surgery hours.
He was found guilty of multiple allegations of touching Ms A, Ms C and Ms D, and that his behaviour was unprofessional, inappropriate and indecent.
The hearing to determine his restoration application continues.