Pakistan-born Psychiatrist in Canada Charged
with Sexual Misconduct
A P Kamath in Cambridge
A 61-year-old doctor, who is the only full-time psychiatrist in Cambridge, a town near Ontario, and who worked at the Cambridge Memorial Hospital, has been charged with four counts of sexual assault, five counts of sexual exploitation, and one count each of sexual interference and invitation to sexual touching.
The police said the charges relate to incidents that allegedly happened at the CMH.
The criminal trial will begin on September 16. If found guilty, the psychiatrist faces over 10 years in prison
Pakistan-born Dr Allan Umran-Khitab, who worked in the Indian and Pakistani communities in Scotland before migrating to Canada nearly 18 years ago, declined to comment on the charges. "I think it would be best to talk to my lawyers," he told reporters after being set free on $ 25,000 bail. "I'm sure you can appreciate my position."
Meanwhile, The Daily Record in Glasgow and several Canadian newspapers revealed that Dr Khitab was acquitted of 23 charges of indecently assaulting 23 inmates at two separate detention centres for young offenders in Scotland in the late 1970s and early 1980s. There were no indications if any of the victims were from the Indian subcontinent.
Dr Khitab was cleared because of "lack of evidence" during court proceedings in 1981, the newspapers said.
The police said the five alleged victims in Cambridge, who cannot be named because of their age and the nature of the complaint, ranged in age from 12 to 16 at the time of the incidents, which reportedly occurred between 1989 and 1994.
The police action came when some of the boys who had suppressed their memories of forced sexual acts contacted the law, at the encouragement of their therapists. Some of them are reportedly planning to sue the CMH.
Dr Khitab's arrest has raised questions about checking the credentials of foreign doctors. The CMH has been doing a lot of talking, insisting that it checked the psychiatrist's credentials thoroughly. But there have been no answers to the question whether it had heard about his trial in Scotland.
Mary Margaret Laing, chairperson of the CMH, said yesterday that the hiring process the hospital followed to bring Dr Khitab on staff was "forthright, diligent and rigorous". Every reference that appeared on the doctor's resume was checked. And "we had written assurances from every college where [Dr Khitab] came from which showed he was a member in good standing."
The licensing officials in Ontario also said that to migrate from Scotland to Canada, Dr Khitab would have needed a certificate of good standing from the General Medical Council, the licensing body in Great Britain.
The Cambridge hospital has temporarily suspended Dr Khitab, but a hearing is scheduled soon to decide if it should be made permanent. The procedural rules require that a suspended doctor be given a chance to defend himself before hospital board members.
Though there has been media coverage of the Khitab case on a daily basis for more than a week, hospital authorities assured that board members would not be "prejudiced".
Previous: Cops Suspend Voting in Vancouver Gurdwara
Next: Vilayat Khan to present opening concert of World Music Institute season
Tell us what you think of this report