An Ontario doctor identified as the father of the late TV star Alan Thicke will face a disciplinary hearing on allegations that he sexually abused a patient who came to him for a pilot's medical exam more than two decades ago.
The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario says Dr. Brian Christopher Thicke will appear before its discipline committee to face allegations that he touched a patient's breasts in a sexual manner and/or conducted an inappropriate or unnecessary breast exam in 1993 and 1995.
A spokeswoman for the college says a date for the hearing has not yet been set because the matter was referred to the committee recently.
The college had previously decided not to refer the case to its discipline committee but was ordered to reconsider last year after the complainant, Lisa Fruitman — who is not named in documents but has agreed to be identified — appealed to a medical regulator.
...it's taken a ridiculous amount of time to even get it to this point.Lisa Fruitman
At the time, the Health Professions Appeal and Review Board said it found the college's decision to be "unreasonable."
The allegations have not been proven and Thicke's lawyer did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Fruitman, who brought her complaint to the college in 2015, said she is relieved to finally have the allegations taken seriously and hopes the case will lift some of the secrecy surrounding complaints made to the college.
"I reported this three years ago," before the recent wave of sex assault allegations brought the issue into the spotlight, she said. "But it's taken a ridiculous amount of time to even get it to this point."
Felt like Thicke 'was playing with her breasts': complainant
Though the review board did not name the physician in its ruling, Fruitman identified him as Thicke, a Brampton, Ont., doctor and the father of Alan Thicke and grandfather of musician Robin Thicke.
In its ruling, the board — which doesn't determine guilt but regulates the health-care profession's self-governing bodies — said the allegations date back to when Fruitman sought a civil aviation medical examination.
Fruitman recalled that it felt like Thicke was "playing with her breasts," the document said. "She recalled that it felt wrong, like there was no need for the breast examination. The examination felt more like a massage."
She also said she wasn't offered a chaperone and Thicke didn't leave the room when she was undressing for the exam, the document reads.
I didn't want it and was told he needed to do it if I wanted him to sign my licence.
The decision said Fruitman later contacted Transport Canada to check if a breast exam is part of an aviation medical Class 3 examination and was told it isn't.
"I didn't want it and was told he needed to do it if I wanted him to sign my licence," she told The Canadian Press on Monday.
The document said Thicke's lawyer argued that a full physical exam was the standard at the time, even though a breast exam was not explicitly required.
The board found the college's Inquiries, Complaints and Reports Committee accepted that argument but didn't offer up any evidence. It also said there were other ways in which the committee's decision not to refer the matter to the discipline committee wasn't supported by the records.
Had been investigated on previous occasions
The board further said the committee gave no reasons for why it didn't give more weight to Thicke's conduct history, noting that he had been investigated by the college on previous occasions.
In a 1994 case, the document said, another woman reported Thicke to police after receiving her pilot's medical exam from him, alleging she had received an inappropriate breast exam.
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She alleged the doctor said, "Now we are going to look at your boobies," and lifted her shirt and bra before squeezing her breasts, the board document said.
Thicke was taken into police custody but released without charges or conditions, and the complaints committee did not pursue further investigation, it reads.
In a separate matter, the doctor was required to meet with a senior college staff member in connection with a complaint that he told a patient to remove her top and pull her underwear partway down before assessing her lumbar range of motion and "slapped her on the buttocks," the document said.
The decision said Thicke acknowledged that was his usual practice but noted that he had no gowns in the office at the time and has since rectified the issue.
According to the College of Physicians and Surgeons he's been a registered doctor in Ontario since 1956.
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