Toronto doctor who sexually abused females patients appeals court ruling

Court of Appeal for Ontario. File / Global News

TORONTO – A Toronto doctor who sexually abused female patients is fighting a court order that would require the Ontario medical regulator’s discipline committee to impose a tougher penalty for his offences.

Dr. Javad Peirovy filed an appeal after a divisional court sided with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, which had appealed its own discipline committee’s ruling in the case.

The discipline committee – which makes decisions independently from the college – found in 2015 that Peirovy sexually abused four female patients and engaged in disgraceful conduct with a fifth. The incidents took place in 2009 and 2010. Peirovy also has a criminal conviction for assault related to two of those patients.

The committee handed Peirovy a six-month suspension and imposed restrictions on his practice for 12 months. It also ordered him to take training and pay $64,000 for therapy for the victims.

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The college felt the punishment was too lenient, and the court agreed. The court quashed the penalty and sent it back to the discipline committee.

In his appeal, which is being heard Monday, Peirovy argues the court overstepped its jurisdiction by declaring that previous penalties which informed the committee’s decision were inappropriate.

“It was an error of law for the divisional court to declare unfit the prior jurisprudence of the discipline committee, when those decisions were not before it, and to use that declaration as a basis upon which to find the penalty imposed against Dr. Peirovy to be ‘clearly unfit,”‘ his lawyers argue in court filings.

“The divisional court’s judgment fundamentally undermines the authority and discretion of the discipline committee and other specialized administrative tribunals to determine and impose appropriate penalties for misconduct within their area of expertise.”

The college, meanwhile, says the court was right to find that the committee’s ruling was “significantly out of step with community values regarding physician-patient sexual abuse.”

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“A six-month suspension is wholly inadequate to address the Appellant’s repeated sexual abuse of patients under the guise of a medical examination,” it says in court documents, noting provincial legislation passed this spring requires that doctors who engage in sexual touching of their patients have their licence revoked.

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“The fact that prior penalty decisions, described by the court as unfit, had not been appealed is irrelevant. The divisional court did not ‘overturn’ prior decisions. Rather, the court held that the penalty in this case was clearly unfit and that earlier decisions did not fulfil the public protection mandate of the college and should not be relied on in this case.”

Penalties for physicians who sexually abuse patients should reflect a zero-tolerance policy, the college argues.”The penalty imposed in this case does not reflect zero tolerance. It does not protect the public. It undermines public confidence in the ability of the profession and the regulator to eradicate sexual abuse of patients by physicians,” it says.

One teenage patient went to Peirovy in 2009 with a sore throat, according to the divisional court ruling. During the examination, he placed a hand holding a stethoscope under her clothes and touched her breasts, and later placed his stethoscope directly on her nipples, the ruling said.

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A woman in her twenties came to Peirovy with a sinus infection and lifted her clothes at his suggestion when he examined her chest. The doctor placed his stethoscope on several parts of both her breasts, including directly on top of her nipples, and cupped her breasts with his hand while instructing the woman to breathe in and out, the ruling said.

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A different patient went to see the doctor in 2010 for a cold and he slid his hands under her clothes and touched her nipples with his fingers while listening to her chest, the ruling said.

A fourth patient, in her twenties, went to Peirovy in 2010 about her sinuses and ears. Peirovy placed his hand under her bra, cupped her breasts, and grasped her nipples, which she described as “tweaking,” the ruling said.

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With the fifth patient, also in her twenties, who went to see Peirovy because of heart palpitations, the doctor asked her to undo her bra and lift her clothes. He touched her left breast, cupping and pushing it, and then asked her out on a date after the examination, the ruling said.

Peirovy told the discipline committee the examinations at the core of the case were done for a legitimate medical purpose. He denied cupping breasts and tweaking nipples.

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