|Suganthan Kayilasanathan and Amitabh Chauhan. (Dave Abel, QMI Agency file photos)
TORONTO - They are innocent until proven guilty. And yet ...
Two doctors have been charged with the serious sexual assault of one woman and Toronto Police say at least two more complainants have now come forward.
Yet the two men are out on bail and free to practise medicine as before, without any restrictions on their interactions with female patients.
And that just doesn't seem right.
Dr. Amitabh Chauhan and Dr. Suganthan Kayilasanathan, both 32, have been accused of gang sexual assault, as well as administering a noxious substance.
So who is protecting their patients at the moment? Absolutely nobody.
A 23-year-old woman told police she met the two doctors for career advice at a downtown Toronto hotel bar on Feb. 12 and then went with them to another bar early that Sunday. She alleges they slipped a date-rape drug into her drink and then took her to a hotel where both assaulted her.
Since the doctors' arrest last week, Toronto Police have cast a net from Panama to Saskatchewan, as well as gone on YouTube, in a very public hunt for what they believe are more victims.
"I'm anticipating there may be more (charges) and we will try and lay them all at one time," said Det. Dan Luff Thursday.
The police certainly don't seem to believe this is an isolated accusation. Yet the Crown didn't oppose bail for the men nor were there any conditions imposed on the doctors that would keep them away from female patients or necessitate any supervision. "The victims were not patients that I'm aware of," explains the detective.
If I were one of their patients, that would hardly comfort me.
Kayilasanathan works as a family physician at Clinicare medical clinic on Markham Rd., while Chauhan, a naval reservist with the Canadian Forces, is doing postgraduate work in plastic surgery at Hamilton's McMaster University.
At the clinic where Kayilasanathan has worked since August and is expected to return, the staff were instructed not to comment.
"They're still innocent until proven otherwise," insists Chris Eby, their spokesman from Navigator Ltd., the public relations firm they've hired to salvage the reputations of the two doctors whose next court date is March 14. "They continue on with their lives."
Which is all well and good for them. But what about their patients? The criminal justice system isn't too worried and it seems the doctors' regulatory body isn't, either.
The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario has launched its own investigation but in the meantime, can't do anything to monitor or restrict their practice, says spokesman Kathryn Clarke.
By law, the college isn't allowed to impose any limitations on their licences unless three conditions are met: Their own investigation is done -- which can take from three to 10 months to complete, the matter has been referred to the discipline committee and they also receive information that patients are at risk.
Otherwise, the two doctors can practise as if they were not charged with a heinous sexual crime.
Their process is so slow that the college has still done nothing to restrict the practice of Dr. George Doodnaught, the anesthetist charged last September with sexually assaulting 26 more female patients in addition to the three he'd already been charged with months earlier.
At least the criminal system was more diligent.
His original bail conditions prevented him dealing with patients at all.
In January, Doodnaught won a variance that now allows him to perform medical procedures in clinics as long as he only interacts with male patients and is under direct medical supervision.
Not our two boyhood chums, though. They are free and clear.
True, their alleged victim wasn't a patient. But they occupy an intimate position of trust that brings them in contact with many vulnerable women.
So should their licences be yanked? Of course not. They haven't been convicted of any crime. They have every right to earn their living.
But when a cop is charged with a gun crime, they put him behind a desk.
A teacher accused of sex assault is taken out of the classroom. Just to be safe, until the matter is dealt with.
Yet why are two doctors facing serious sex assault charges still being allowed to treat female patients without any restrictions whatsoever?