Halifax Regional Police have laid eight charges against a dentist who was accused of assaulting patients.
Police say a 78-year-old man was arrested on Tuesday, after a 15-month investigation.
“In November of 2020, Halifax Regional Police received numerous reports that a man who was working as a dentist had assaulted patients at numerous locations over a period of time from the 1970’s to 2020,” read the release.
“We thank all of the complainants for coming forward so these incidents could be fully investigated.”
The charges include eight counts of assault involving eight victims.
As first reported by Global News, the N.S. Public Prosecution Service has confirmed the man charged is Dr. Errol Gaum, a dentist whose licence was suspended in 2020 after allegations of misconduct.
According to the agency, the offence dates in the case range from Jan 1, 1971 to Jan. 1, 1990.
In November 2020, the Provincial Dental Board of Nova Scotia suspend Dr. Gaum’s licence indefinitely.
In December 2020, a Halifax law firm filed a proposed class action lawsuit against Gaum.
MacGillivray Injury and Insurance Law said at the time they filed a statement of claim with the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia alleging that Gaum “used substandard and aberrant methods of behavior management for his pediatric dental patients.”
More than 150 people were involved in this lawsuit at the time, according the firm.
The claim stated that Gaum’s practice was focused on treating young children. During his procedures, he would use cruel and traumatizing “behavior management techniques,” which the claim says included “slapping in the face, covering mouths with a towel, restraining arms and legs with leather straps, and pushing the needle onto the roof of the mouth.”
It accused him of assault, battery and professional negligence. The allegations have not been tested in Court.
However, Public Prosecution has confirmed to Global News that Gaum will be arraigned on April 26 in Halifax Provincial Court at 10:00 a.m.
In a Wednesday afternoon statement, the Provincial Dental Board said their investigation is ongoing.
“Formal investigations can take up to one year, while unusually complex cases, like Dr. Gaum’s, may take significantly longer,” the statement read.
“The Provincial Dental Board of Nova Scotia takes its role to protect the public in matters related to the delivery of dental care seriously, including its role in managing complaints and disciplinary actions.”
— With files from Aya Al-Hakim.