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Anesthetist who sexually assaulted sedated patients loses appeal

Anesthetist who sexually assaulted sedated patients loses appeal
From CTV - October 13, 2017

TORONTO -- A "touchy-feely" anesthesiologist handed a 10-year sentence for sexually assaulting 21 sedated women during surgery has failed to have his conviction overturned.

In a decision Friday, Ontario's top court ruled that the judge who convicted Dr. George Doodnaught after a 76-day trial was bang on.

"The grounds of appeal advanced track closely the submissions made to, and rejected by, the trial judge," the Court of Appeal said. "They are the subject of lengthy and detailed reasons which describe the findings of fact essential to proof of guilt and the evidentiary stuff of which those findings were made."

WARNING: Graphic details follow.

Doodnaught, who is in his late 60s, was convicted in November 2013 on all counts for assaulting women, who ranged from 25 to 75 years old, while they were semi-conscious at the North York General Hospital. Among other things, Doodnaught inserted his penis into women's mouths, used some for masturbation, and sexually fondled others over a four-year period.

The defence never argued the women fabricated their complaints or colluded with one another, but at trial and on appeal suggested the complainants may have been hallucinating while under anesthetic. Doodnaught's lawyers further argued that the assaults, in the confined space of an operating theatre close to others in the surgical team, could not have happened.

Superior Court Justice David McCombs rejected the defence arguments, siding with the prosecution that Doodnaught had the opportunity to commit the assaults from behind a screen and that the women's accounts of what happened were honest and realistic.

McCombs found Doodnaught's closeness to patients during surgery did not draw suspicion because he was known as a "touchy-feely" doctor who stroked a patient's cheek or hair to soothe her during procedures. The judge also lambasted him for compounding his victims' distress by trying to make them believe they were somehow responsible for what happened.

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