Optician, 64, thought customer doing yoga moves was inviting him to have sex

An optician has been suspended for six months after claiming he mistook a female customer practicing some yoga moves for flirting.

While trying on a pair of glasses, the woman tilted her head down and bent forward to make sure they would stay on.

But John Snelgrove, 64, thought she was simulating a move called the ‘dirty dog’ and wiggling her bottom in a ‘provocative’ way to get his attention.

He even got the impression she was practicing ‘oral sex’ as she bent over with her mouth open, and that her skirt rode up leaving ‘little to the imagination’.

That evening, Snelgrove, based in St Albans, Hertfordshire, texted her asking if she was ‘interested in taking it further’.

His text read: ‘Forgive me for asking, I don’t want to embarrass me or you at our next meeting when you collect your specs.

‘If your interested I am also would you like to take this further. Regards John Snelgrove.’ (sic)

The shocked woman replied ‘no thank you’, to which Snelgrove said: ‘Ok thanks… I hope you don’t mind me asking.’

Two days later the woman, named only as Patient A, had to return to his shop, Enhanced Optical Services, to collect her glasses.

She complained but Snelgrove did not apologise, later saying he ‘realised that he had mistakenly taken Patient A’s behaviour as an invitation for him to approach her’.

A tribunal heard she was ‘quite shocked by what had happened and uncomfortable that her personal data had been used for non-business purposes’.

At the follow-up appointment, she said ‘I tried not to make eye contact or have any further discussion on this topic’.

Snelgrove, who called the woman’s behaviour ‘totally outrageous’, and something he had never seen ‘in all his years’, said he took a course to learn about professional boundaries.

He said it made him ‘more aware of the potential to overstep the mark in this day and age’.

However, the tribunal ruled his thinking remained ‘distorted’ as he still believes her behaviour ‘contributed to what happened’.

Tribunal chair Sara Fenoughty said: ‘He was an experienced professional and should have been well aware that what he was doing was an unacceptable breach of professional boundaries.

‘He continued to hold Patient A in some way responsible for his own misconduct.

‘He failed to show any meaningful understanding of how distressing and unnerving his actions would have been for Patient A.’

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