CALGARY - A psychiatrist convicted of sexually assaulting his court-appointed patients was depicted Wednesday as both a frail senior who would suffer in prison and a sexual predator who must be punished.
Dr. Aubrey Levin's three victims also had a chance to face their attacker.
"Dr. Levin, I'm looking right at you. I want this day to be the beginning of the end," said one of the victims in a statement to the court.
"I hope you get what you deserve. I hope you suffer as much as I and everyone else has."
The judge sentence Levin on Thursday morning.
Levin's defence lawyer said his 74-year-old client would be at high risk in jail because he is frail and in ill health. Chris Archer told a sentencing hearing that Levin should serve a sentence of between 60 and 90 days on weekends.
Levin was found guilty on Monday of sexually assaulting three patients who had been ordered to see him by the courts.
Archer, who said the sexual assaults were only "minor" in nature, read a letter from Levin's rabbi that said Levin is still respected and loved in the Jewish community.
"His humble manner and complete lack of arrogance endeared him to everyone," read the letter from Rabbi Yisroel Miller.
"The bad does not erase all the good. I know all the goodness within him still remains. A prison term would be a death sentence for him."
Archer said Levin's greatest crime was breach of trust.
But that broken trust is what aggravates the severity of the offences, said prosecutor Dallas Sopko, who called for six to eight years behind bars.
Sopko pointed out that more than 20 assaults occurred. He argued there are no mitigating factors.
"It's the most serious that one can imagine as far as trust goes," said Sopko.
"The offender clearly acted without regard for the emotional and mental well-being of the victims. This was a serious sexual assault repeated over a number of years," he added.
"This case is more aggravating because of the elevated position of trust with a psychiatrist."
Levin initially faced charges involving nine different men, but was found guilty on three counts and acquitted on two others. The jury could not reach a verdict on four of the charges.
The patients had been assigned to Levin between 1999 and 2010.
The allegations against him came to light in 2010 after one of his patients came forward with secret videos he had recorded during court-ordered sessions with the psychiatrist.
The videos, played in court last fall, show Levin undoing the man's belt and jeans and appearing to fondle him.
The patient, identified only as R.B. in court, was on probation at the time the videos were taken and had been ordered to see Levin twice a month.
The man said he had told authorities about previous assaults and no one believed him, so he bought a spy camera and brought it to his appointments.
R.B., who is in custody, sat shackled in the prisoner's box so he could watch the proceedings. He broke down when delivering his victim impact statement.
"You took my life like I was nothing," he said. "I was destroyed."
"I believe I've lost several years I can never get back...memories I can never get back."
The third victim was crying before he began addressing the court.
"I find it hard to trust anyone anymore," the young man said. "I cry myself to sleep at night."
"I wash myself constantly down there because I feel disgusting and dirty."
Levin, who immigrated to Canada from South Africa, was frequently used by the courts to assess people and provide expert opinions at hearings.Justice Shelley asked Levin if he wanted to make a statement, but he declined.
He served briefly as regional director for the Regional Psychiatric Centre in Saskatoon and was licensed in 1998 to practise psychiatry in Alberta.
MYTH: Therapy Is Like Having A Paid Friend
<strong>FACT: </strong> There is huge difference between a therapist and your best friend. "There's a myth that you pay someone to be nice to you and care for you -- what I tell my clients is that you pay for time and expertise and the caring is free," says Noah Rubinstein, founder and CEO of therapist directory GoodTherapy.org. Rubinstein adds, therapists are trained to avoid dual relationships and can't see their clients outside of the office.
MYTH: Therapy Means You're 'Crazy'
<strong>FACT: </strong> Most people are raised to be independent and solve problems on their own. "Seeking help is not a sign of weakness and the truth is, we all suffer and getting help doesn't mean you're 'crazy,'" Rubinstein says. He also adds that people at some point in time will go through periods of depression, hurt or feeling worried and mainstream media often has misconceptions of what a patient or client looks like. "Most people who go to therapists are ordinary everyday people. They don't have manic episodes or are hospitalized -- and I wouldn't call this 'crazy' either," he says.
MYTH: Therapy Is Endless
<strong>FACT:</strong> No, therapy isn't a never-ending session that will take over your life. "A lot of people are afraid that if they go to therapy it will go on and on," Rubinstein says. Depending on the type of therapist you see, therapists are trained to create a target plan of treatment. "Some people may never heal in this lifetime but for most people, the average therapy course is three or four months," he says.
MYTH: Therapy Will Cost A Fortune
<strong>FACT: </strong>Yes, seeing a therapist often can get expensive. Rubinstein suggests looking at your insurance providers to see if you can get benefits -- relying solely on paying out of your own pocket can get costly. But he also advises a holistic view. "When you think about price, what's the cost of not doing therapy? Your job performance?" he says. Think about how your distress many conflict with your work or relationship and then make a decision about pricing.
MYTH: Therapists Will Blame You And Shame You
<strong>FACT: </strong> "This is something that comes directly out of Dr. Phil. Therapists are portrayed like Dr. Phil and he blames, shames and confronts his clients -- this is not how therapy works," Rubinstein says. Good therapy is about compassion, he adds, and is intended to let the client experience their own emotional breakthroughs at their own pace.
MYTH: Medication Is Just As Effective As Therapy
<strong>FACT: </strong> Rubinstein says that not all problems can be fixed with medication. "The medical model assumes that most psychological problems are caused by biochemistry, rather than viewing biochemical changes as a symptom, and can overlook the experience of losing jobs, divorce, deaths in the family etc.," he says. Emotional stress, he notes, cannot be solved with just medication, and people relying solely on pills should look at their options for one-on-one therapy.
MYTH: Therapy Is Passive
<strong>FACT: </strong> Rubinstein says many people also think therapy is passive. Just think about all the scenes in movies or television shows where a therapist does nothing but nod his or her head. "Therapists are taught active listening skills and are trained to understand the client's struggles," he says.
MYTH: Therapy Is All Happy Thoughts
<strong>FACT: </strong> 'Think happy thoughts...think happy thoughts.' Yes, but not always. "Many new clients expect their therapist to change their perspective and convince them they should be happy. But therapy doesn't work by thinking happy thoughts, In order to become happy, a person needs to face the parts of them that aren't," he says. Working with a client one-on-one, therapists are able to go through a person's painful past and give them hope for a peaceful future.
MYTH: There's Nothing You Can Do About The Past
<strong>FACT: </strong> There's always an assumption that therapy is about moving forward and never looking back. "When we do this, our past still haunts us. Good therapy allows people to go to those places where they have been wounded and burned and resolve these feelings," he says.
MYTH: Therapy Will Make Your Painful Problems Worse
<strong>FACT: </strong> Yes, you will go back into the past and yes, it may bring up some bad memories. But don't be afraid. "Good therapists guide their clients through painful experiences, but in a way that is safe and not overwhelming."