Indo-Canadian Doctor Found Guilty Of Molesting 21 Women In Ontario

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Dr. George Doodnaught relied on his three decades of operating room experience toavoid detection as he kissed women, fondled their breasts and put his penis in theirmouth or hand, concealed from other medical staff only by a surgical drape, thejudge found. A date for sentencing arguments is to be set Dec. 13.

OTTAWA – An Indo- Canadian anesthesiologistwas found guilty of sexuallyassaulting 21 women while they werehelplessly under anesthesia but aware ofwhat was happening.Dr. George Doodnaught was accused ofkissing, fondling and forcing oral sex onthe patients at North York GeneralHospital in Toronto during a four-yearperiod that ended in 2010.The victims were aware of what was happeningbut could not move, the courtheard on Monday.The defense argued that the victims actuallyhad vivid sexual dreams caused bysedatives known to play tricks with memory,and that Doodnaught could not haveassaulted them undetected by others separatedonly by a surgical screen in theoperating room.A researcher confirmed at trial that thedrugs can cause hallucinations.But he added that it is unlikely that all ofthe women, who did not know eachother, would come forward separatelywith similar accusations against the samedoctor.The prosecution said Doodnaught wasan experienced doctor who knew theroutines of a busy operating room, andtimed the brief assaults to avoid detection.”He had control over their level of anaesthesiaand would have known that theycould not openly resist,” OntarioSuperior Court Judge David McCombssaid in his ruling.”He relied on the amnesiac effects of thedrugs to shield him from complaints.”Doodnaught was known as a “touchyfeely” doctor, often stroking a patient’scheek or hair to soothe them during surgery,so his physical proximity during surgerydidn’t arouse suspicion with otherstaff, the judge found, reported CP24.”He was familiar with the surgical proceduresand would know when it was safeto commit the relatively brief assaultswithout being seen,” Ontario SuperiorCourt Judge David McCombs ruled.”He had control over (his patients’) levelof anesthesia and would have known thatthey could not openly resist. He relied onthe amnesiac effects of the drugs toshield him from complaints.”By the time the first of the 21 womenwent to police after her surgery on Feb.11, 2010, North York General Hospitalhad, in fact, received three such complaintsbetween 2006 and 2008, but hadnot acted on them.The assaults rose “dramatically” in frequencyuntil that woman went to police,the judge said. The first six assaults werespread over 3 1/2 years, while in the lastsix months before he was stopped therewere 15, McCombs noted.The hospital told Doodnaught to take aleave of absence after the last woman heassaulted went to police. The hospitalsaid Tuesday the doctor would not bereturning there and the College ofPhysicians and Surgeons will now determinehis professional fate.The woman, who can’t be identified dueto a publication ban, said she was proudof the other women who came forwardafter Doodnaught was charged andpolice publicized his arrest, and she”finally” believes in the justice system.”It never mattered to me what peoplethought of me or what they thought ofany of the other victims,” the womansaid. “It mattered to me what I knew hadhappened. I was awake. I knew it happened.”Several of Doodnaught’s victims were incourt as the verdict was read, and somepeople in the packed, standing room onlycourtroom could be heard sighing withrelief or whispering “Yes.”All but one of the assaults happened duringsurgeries at North York GeneralHospital, where the CEO said Tuesdaythat such crimes were previously unheardof and he isn’t aware of another case likethis anywhere. “The sacred bond of caring and trust wasbroken by a doctor who worked here,”Tim Rutledge said. “That he did this in anoperating room, a place of ultimate trust,is difficult to understand and franklyshocking.” Rutledge apologized on behalfof the hospital to all of the victims for the”profound impact” Doodnaught’s crimeshave had on their lives. The hospital hassince made changes to how it addressesand tracks patient complaints, he said.The judge rejected the evidence ofdefence experts who suggested patientsunder conscious sedation could have hallucinatedthe sexual assaults. He saidCrown evidence that such hallucinationsare “virtually unheard of” is entitled toconsiderable weight. Crown attorneyDavid Wright said in a brief statementafter the verdict that “justice has beenserved, 21 times.” Doodnaught’s lawyerBrian Greenspan said his client is “verydisappointed” by the verdict and maydecide to appeal. Doodnaught’s wife, whowas also in court for the verdict, refusedto stand for the judge when he walkedback into the courtroom after a shortbreak to discuss dates for sentencing argumentswith lawyers. Doodnaught, whoremains free on bail until sentencing, didnot comment when he left the courthouse.A date for sentencing arguments isto be set Dec. 13.