Toronto surgeon who allegedly groped patients in surgery charged with sex assaults

A well-known doctor in Toronto faces several sexual assault charges after he was arrested on Wednesday. Malcolm Smith is accused of six separate sexual assaults on three separate female patients, Canada’s Sûreté du Québec…

Toronto surgeon who allegedly groped patients in surgery charged with sex assaults

A well-known doctor in Toronto faces several sexual assault charges after he was arrested on Wednesday.

Malcolm Smith is accused of six separate sexual assaults on three separate female patients, Canada’s Sûreté du Québec said. The charges are reported to span the period from 2002 to 2014.

During the charges announcement, Smith was seen on video covered in handcuffs by a uniformed officer standing outside of a federal courthouse.

Smith, 57, was a partner and chief of surgery at Toronto’s Lennox and Addington Hospital in Toronto and had also worked in British Columbia and Vermont. He did not open a new practice in 2016 and does not have a New York state license.

The serial sexual assault victims all reported that he had touched them inappropriately while performing surgery on them, investigators said. One alleged victim said that Smith had used “gestational fluids, changed a birth control prescription and defibrillator” while operating on her.

According to a statement released by the Sûreté du Québec, Smith was first arrested in October of 2018, and on Wednesday was taken into custody during a scheduled appearance in a Toronto court.

In an arrest warrant affidavit seen by the Canadian media, one of the alleged victims testified to a Toronto police detective that she was performing an appendectomy on Smith on 24 September, when he groped her abdomen. The affidavit states that she took offense, but found it inappropriate, and tried to stop him.

After her surgery, she reported the incident to the hospital. In her affidavit, she said: “When I told him that he had inappropriately touched me he replied that he was the best surgeon in Canada and that this is not the first time that it had happened to him. He said that he has asked his wife if it was a ‘good idea’ to become a doctor.”

Smith was initially suspended without pay. Police announced he had been charged with sexual assault on Friday.

He appeared in court on Friday and was released on a promise to appear in court on 6 May. He did not have to enter a plea and a report was not filed.

The accused’s next court appearance is May 6.

The hospital suspended Smith’s privileges on 12 March and announced an investigation into his care had begun. A hospital spokesman said that the alleged incidents happened outside of operating theatres.

“This type of behavior does not reflect our commitment to patient safety and patient confidentiality, and we are taking this matter very seriously,” read a statement by the hospital’s president on 3 March.

SQ spokeswoman Johanne Gauthier said police received a tip in April 2018 that Smith had “engaged in an inappropriate relationship” with one of his patients, but investigators did not consider the incident to be a potential sexual assault. He was eventually arrested on Thursday.

According to the SQ statement, his first court appearance will be on 19 May.

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