CALGARY - A Calgary psychiatrist used as an expert by the courts expressed dismay when interviewed by police about sexual assault claims against him, but failed to address the allegations.
Dr. Aubrey Levin, 73, was charged after one of his patients came forward and provided officers with secret videos he recorded during his court-ordered sessions with the psychiatrist. The videos, shown in court last week, depict Levin undoing the man’s belt and jeans and fondling him.
"I only wish instead of being charged I could have crawled into a hole," Levin said in a four hour video interview with a Calgary police detective that was played Monday for the jury of seven men and five women.
"Whatever happens there will be mud on my face. I'm horrified also to the name and the reputation of psychiatry to have somebody charged."
But any questions about the complainant or the allegations were met with a pointed no comment.
"'I'm not talking about him," said Levin. "I've been advised not to."
Levin said he often used the reflex test to deal with patients that suffer from erectile dysfunction.
"If it's a quick response, it's fantastic. If there's not, then you carry on until you get a response, which can take any amount of time," said Levin.
"Normally these examinations are less than 15 minutes, whatever happens."
The patient, identified only as R.B. in court, was on probation at the time the videos were taken and had been ordered by a court 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.
After Levin was arrested, nearly two dozen other former patients came forward with abuse allegations. He is on trial for the alleged sexual assault of 10 male patients.
A urologist testified Monday that he doesn't believe the forensic psychiatrist was performing a medical procedure.
Dr. Ethan Grober of the University of Toronto said it appeared Levin was attempting to arouse the patient — something that would never be appropriate.
"It was almost as if the doctor was trying to elicit an orgasm."
Grober, who is an expert on male sexual reproduction, said he doesn't believe Levin was performing the reflex test normally used to determine the state of spinal cord injuries. He said the test is not used in resolving erectile dysfunction cases.
He said a patient's response to that test is almost instantaneous and would not require the 14 minutes shown on one of the videos.
"(It) is a very unusual test to perform," said Grober.
"It takes maybe a minute or two and that should be the end of it. It has never been described as a form of therapy."
He also rejected suggestions from Levin's lawyer that the technique was either an older procedure or something "cutting edge" that Grober was unfamiliar with.
"I don't believe that's possible," Grober replied.
He said the "manoeuvres" he witnessed in the videos went "well beyond" what is considered to be normal treatment. He said a psychiatrist's treatment of complaints of sexual problems is usually confined to counselling.
Levin, who said in the police interview that he had served as a psychiatrist in the South African military before immigrating to Canada 17 years ago, was frequently used by the courts to assess people and provide expert opinions at hearings. Most of his alleged victims were ordered to see him by a judge.
Levin served briefly as regional director for the federal Psychiatric Centre Saskatoon and was licensed in 1998 to practise psychiatry in Alberta.
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