Toronto police say they are investigating sexual assault allegations against a doctor who used to practise in the RCMP’s Ontario division.
Police say they were notified by RCMP in the last week of what they describe as historical abuse allegations.
Police spokeswoman Meaghan Gray says no charges have been laid so far and investigators don’t believe there is a threat to public safety.
Neither police nor RCMP have identified the doctor.
RCMP say they encourage anyone with information to come forward and note that support is available to any employees who need it.
The investigation comes on the heels of a similar probe in Halifax involving a doctor accused of sexually assaulting RCMP recruits and members.
Police spokeswoman Const. Carol McIsaac said more than 20 people had come forward as of Wednesday morning to say they’d been sexually assaulted by the RCMP doctor between 1981 and 2003.
“We wouldn’t speak to specific numbers, but we have in excess of 20 complainants and they’re coming from both men and women,” she said. “All the complaints are of sexual assault.”
The RCMP has said the complainants were either applicants looking to join the force or serving members who were receiving treatment at the clinic.
The force’s commanding officer in Nova Scotia, Assistant Commissioner Brian Brennan, has said he expects “many more” people to come forward as the investigation unfolds.
McIsaac said complaints started coming into police on the weekend and described the situation “as very fluid,” with the number of complainants changing on a daily basis.
“We are getting daily reports,” McIsaac said. “It’s in its early stages and it will be a lengthy and complex investigation and I would not expect they (investigators) will be forthcoming with charges any time in the near future.”
Brennan has said it is disheartening that an employee of the police force allegedly abused their position of power.
Police have said the physician is now retired.
Lawyer David Klein, whose firm is one of two that represented female RCMP employees in a sexual harassment class action, said several of his clients had informed him the physician was nicknamed “Dr. Fingers.”
Klein said in an interview this week that several clients told him the doctor gave them unneeded rectal exams, inserted his fingers into their vaginas without good reason and spent unusually long periods rubbing their breasts with his hands.
The lawyer said more women were contacting his office to tell their stories, but they were not necessarily bringing their reports forward to police.
Assistant Commissioner Stephen White, the force’s acting chief human resources officer, said in an email to members that the allegations involved a doctor who conducted recruitment medical examinations and periodic health assessments on members.
Meanwhile, Brennan said the RCMP has received its information from sources other than the recently settled class action involving over 1,000 female RCMP employees who alleged they suffered sexual abuse and harassment.
He also said the potential scope of the investigation is very large because hundreds of women applied for the police force over the 23-year period in question and received medical exams from the doctor.
Yet, he said it has only recently come to light to senior management.