Trial for pediatrician charged with sex assault begins in Lethbridge

Editor’s note: This story originally stated Kumar negotiated with the college to have his practice permit reinstated. However, the practice permit was reinstated after a Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta justice stayed the college’s decision to suspend Kumar’s practice permit. The story has been updated to reflect the correct information. We regret the error. 

A pediatrician who was practicing in St. Albert is on trial in Lethbridge after a young girl came forward alleging she was assaulted by Dr. Ramneek Kumar. The child was not a patient and the alleged assault happened while visiting Waterton Lakes National Park.

During day one of the trial, court heard from the young girl making the allegation, who was nine years old at the time.

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Court heard Kumar had been a family friend. While the alleged assault happened in August of 2015, he was charged in 2019.

The girl, now 14 years old, testified while on vacation the accused came up behind her in the pool area of where they were staying and began chatting with her. She said he then started massaging her shoulders, then touching her breasts, and that it lasted a few seconds.

She testified to a number other incidents where he touched her inappropriately during the trip, including in a pool change room where he allegedly watched her change and touched her hair, back and chest. She said at the time he told her not to tell anyone, and that she didn’t until weeks later when she told her parents she didn’t want to be around Kumar anymore because he had touched her.

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After Kumar was charged by the RCMP, the college asked Kumar to withdraw from practice. However, the CPSA said he did not accept that request.

“Our next step was to have him agree to a condition to his practice. So, every patient he sees, he must have a chaperone in the room for every interaction with a patient,” college spokesperson Jessica McPhee said in April 2019.

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In May 2019, the CPSA said it suspended Kumar’s practice permit.

However, in July 2019, the CPSA said a Court of Queen’s Bench justice stayed the college’s decision to suspend Kumar’s practice permit.

As a result, Kumar was once again allowed to practise medicine. However, he was required to have a chaperone present at every visit and he was mandated to post a sign in his clinic office that stated visits needed to be conducted with a chaperone.

A group called People vs. Predators is protesting the release of anyone accused or convicted of sexual assault against children and feel bail is granted too easily, including the release of Kumar.

“We are here protesting the release of many individuals who have these child sexual crimes on them — and we hope to have them put back in jail, get them applied as dangerous offenders, and if we can, get their bail revoked,” said member Zack Gladue.

Kumar’s trial is set to run in Lethbridge for three days.

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