Halifax police rule out charges after probe of doctor who examined RCMP recruits
The RCMP logo is seen outside Royal Canadian Mounted Police "E" Division Headquarters, in Surrey, B.C., on Friday April 13, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Halifax police say no charges will be laid following an investigation into allegations of sexual assault against a doctor who examined RCMP recruits over a period spanning several decades.
A news release issued Tuesday says police have ended the investigation "into reports of historic sexual assaults against RCMP employees" by a doctor who had worked at the health services offices of the police force's Atlantic office.
It says that after "thoroughly investigating each report," investigators determined that the evidence did not support the laying of charges.
Halifax police confirmed this was the same high-profile case that emerged last year when police said more than 60 people had alleged abuse by a physician.
The force's release says it recognizes the difficulty many had "sharing very personal experiences" and thanked the complainants for their patience during the 14-month investigation.
The RCMP said in an email that the "outcome is undoubtedly disappointing and frustrating for survivors and our role, as an organization, as leaders and as colleagues, is to offer support while respecting privacy and confidentiality."
It added that "various steps have been taken since to ensure survivors, both those who have come forward and those who have not, are aware of services and supports available to them."
The case gained national prominence last winter after women gave public accounts of what they described as inappropriate rectal and vaginal examinations.
Last February, one of the complainants spoke to The Canadian Press on the condition of anonymity and said she went to a medical office in Halifax in the late 1980s for a required physical exam as part of her application process.
She said the doctor -- an RCMP employee -- told her to lay down on the examination table and he inserted his fingers into her vagina. She alleged he then put his fingers into her rectum after asking her to lay on her side.
The doctor, who has denied the allegations, wasn't named by police. He had said previously that he was working as a doctor for the RCMP at the time and handled some administrative tasks as well.
The RCMP has said the physical exams -- known as occupational health evaluations -- are done to ensure recruits are able to work as police officers and "safely undertake the physical and psychological demands of training."
It included a clinical history, physical exam and testing of any medical conditions and corresponding limitations and restrictions.
The physical exam includes checks on vital signs, head, ears, nose and throat, along with the respiratory, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal and central nervous systems, among other things.
The Mounties had said rectal examination as well as breast and gynecological/Pap test examinations weren't routinely performed.
The RCMP has said the alleged victims were either applicants looking to join the force or serving members who were receiving treatment by the physician between 1981 and 2003.