John Watson was very used to seeing Lestrade and Donovan on a regular basis, but he didn't expect both of them to stride into St. Bart's without either Sherlock racing ahead or trailing behind them or that look on both of their faces that indicated they had to drag him out of work for some case. Donovan gestured to him to come forward, and when he raised an eyebrow she shook her head. "No, this isn't about the Freak this time. It's a bit different."
"What's the problem?" he asked as he stepped forward to meet them. If it didn't involve a case he couldn't imagine why they would be consulting him.
"It is a case," Lestrade told him, and when John looked at him with surprise he added "Not one we're involving Sherlock in, at least not yet. Sensitive subject matter."
"What do you need me for, then?"
Donovan took a deep breath and swallowed. Whatever it is, it must be awful to disturb a member of the police, he thought to himself before she began to speak. "Last night there was an admission from A&E. A nine year old girl was brought in by her father after he found her knickers stained with blood in the clothes hamper. An internal exam was done and there was damage to the genitals consistent with long-term sexual abuse. She claims nothing happened and no one's hurt her."
"Why do you need me, then? And why are you investigating this in the first place?" Child abuse was one of those things John never wanted to see, but he also knew it was disturbingly common. Why were the Yarders involved?
She swallowed again. "Because in the past ten years there have been almost thirty cases in the same area. Every time it's the same - the child says nothing happened. All of them were brought to the attention of the police by medical staff who documented their injuries. There's no pattern to the children other than them being all from the same area and persistent denial. However, the case that was called to our attention before this, a month or so ago, mentioned that he'd heard he was 'one of a hundred' and they were all in the same neighborhood. He clammed up right after that, but now the investigation is in place on the presumption that it's the same person in all the cases."
John felt his stomach turn to ice. "Has anyone gotten any DNA?" he managed to make himself ask.
"If you're talking about semen, no. Whoever he is isn't having full intercourse with them; there's only signs of digital penetration. Possibly oral sex, but no one's said anything about that." Lestrade sighed. "Of course anyone who's been doing this for that long is careful, or he'd have been caught by now. We've looked amongst past sexual offenders in the area, and most of them have been ruled out for one reason or another. I suspect he's not living nearby."
"Why do you need me?" he asked again.
"You're good with your patients," Lestrade said. "We'd like to take you to the ward and talk to the girl. If she talks it would be a big help. And you're the only doctor on the staff we've worked with in a criminal context."
"I'll see what I can do," John replied.
At this point Sarah poked her head into the room and asked "Is there a problem?"
"We need to borrow Dr. Watson for a while," Donovan told her. "There's a sensitive matter he might be able to help us with."
If Sarah was annoyed at not being given all the details, she didn't show it. "It's not very busy, so I can let him go for the rest of today. I hope you can get to the bottom of whatever this is." She ducked out of the room and the Yarders and John left the clinic and headed up to the wards above.