A carer who climbed into the bed of a vulnerable teenage service user claimed he may have been “sleepwalking”.
The Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) said the 17-year-old girl returned to a housing support service under the influence of alcohol and went to bed. She then woke up and was “shocked” to find Danny Ryder beside her.
Support worker Ryder had been lone working on a sleepover shift.
He was unable to explain how he came to be in the bed and that “it may have been as a result of sleepwalking”.
The care watchdog reported that the teenager thereafter felt unsafe in the service and did not wish to stay there anymore.
The SSSC – which redacted the date of the incident and Scottish region where it occurred – concluded that the behaviour caused the service user “emotional harm”.
Ryder has now been banned from working in the care industry following the incident.
Finding Ryder’s fitness to practise impaired, the SSSC stated: “The behaviour was serious and demonstrated a significant breach of professional boundaries.
“Your actions amounted to a serious exploitation of the position of trust you were in and raise concerns as to your values.
“Such behaviour is fundamentally incompatible with professional registration and calls into question your suitability to work as part of a caring and responsible profession.”
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Ryder was said to have worked in the social services sector for two years at the time of the incident.
Since the misconduct, he has failed to demonstrate insight into his behaviour.
The SSSC said: “You have stated that you cannot explain how you came you be in [the service user’s] bed and that it may have been as a result of sleepwalking.
“However, you have not engaged with the SSSC investigation, so we have been unable to investigate this claim any further.
“It should also be noted that while we found that your behaviour was entirely inappropriate, we found no information that it was sexually motivated.”
In conclusion, the watchdog said a removal order was the “most appropriate sanction” to maintain the “continuing trust and confidence in the social service profession and the SSSC as the regulator of the profession”.
The removal order came into effect on Friday.