On Wednesday, November 4, 2015 the Toronto Police made it public that three more sexual assault charges have been laid against naturopath and chiropractor Dr. Allan Bortnick. The news release states that “the sexual assaults occurred during the following time periods: Monday, October 6, 2003; between January and December 2008; and Thursday, March 31, 2011.” The police still believe there may be more victims.
In total, Dr. Allan Bortnick has been charged with sexually assaulting five separate patients with the allegations spanning over a decade, and yet he is still allowed to practice.
The College of Chiropractors of Ontario (CCO) has been timely and transparent in regards to posting public notices on their website; the CCO updated their website by attaching a new notification in the appropriate place the same day they were contacted by the Toronto police about the three additional sexual assault charges. As of November 13th, 2015 the College of Naturopaths of Ontario has done nothing to update the public.
Further, the College of Naturopaths has still not responded to my earlier request to update their website to reflect the fact that Dr. Allan Bortnick had been facing two sexual assault charges, not one. The College has also not moved the information to the appropriate place on their website, as requested, leaving me to question their efforts for transparency. The chiropractor board has Dr. Allan Bortnick’s “status” listed as “terms, conditions, and limitations” whereas the naturopath board still has his “status” listed as “in good standing.”
Now, I am again requesting that the College of Naturopaths update their website to reflect the fact that Dr. Allan Bortnick is facing FIVE charges of sexual assault by FIVE different women, not one. For example, on the CCO’s website it now communicates to the public: “Please be advised that the Toronto Police Service has charged Dr. BORTNICK on Tuesday, November 03, 2015, with three new Sexual Assault charges following complaints received from three separate female patients.” I am also requesting again that the College of Naturopaths move the information into the Terms, Conditions and Limitations section of their website in order to make the information more easily accessible for the public.
Although the CCO is being timely and transparent, I am deeply disturbed that five separate charges of sexually assaulting patients is not enough to prevent Dr. Allan Bortnick from continuing to work with patients. At what point do we recognize that this individual is likely a threat to society, particularly a threat to women? Why are Dr. Allan Bortnick’s rights more important than our rights, more than women’s rights?
I am left with so many questions that go beyond asking why Dr. Allan Bortnick’s governing boards won’t suspend him after five independent charges. I am left asking why hasn’t Dr. Allan Bortnick’s bail conditions changed to restrict him from continuing to treat patients (based on the assumption that the information listed on the CCO website is up to date regarding his conditions)?
Why was he let out again, presumably on bail? From my understanding, in cases of assaults and threatening charges, bail can be denied in order to protect the public. At the very least, why does it appear that the bail conditions do not include a suspension from working with patients? Why is our society continuing to trivialize the sexual assault of women? Why is our society not doing more to communicate that the sexual assault of women will not be tolerated?
Governing boards and a legal system that allows Dr. Allan Bortnick to continue to practice and treat patients is sending out an unacceptable and disturbing message to women and to perpetrators. I recognize that Dr. Allan Bortnick is deemed innocent until proven guilty, but why can’t more be done to protect women in the many months between charges pressed and trial/settlement? Remember, Dr. Allan Bortnick was charged for a sexual assault that was alleged to occur while on bail for the first sexual assault charge laid against him.