An anesthesiologist who sexually assaulted 21 sedated women during their surgeries shows little insight into the trauma he inflicted on them, the Parole Board of Canada said in denying his bid for early release.
In written reasons released this week, the board repeatedly noted that Dr. George Doodnaught showed little insight into his crimes committed at a north Toronto hospital.
“You deny committing the offences and blamed the anesthetics for the patients’ belief that they had been assaulted,” the parole board said. “In some cases, you manipulated the victims into believing that they had initiated the sexual contact or that they had engaged you in explicit sexual conversation.”
Doodnaught, 70, was arrested in March 2010 and given a 10-year sentence in 2013 for sexually assaulting women 25 to 75 years old over a four-year period. Evidence at trial was that the upper bodies of his semi-conscious victims were shielded by draping, allowing him to sexually assault them in various ways unseen by the rest of the surgical team. His appeal of conviction and sentence was dismissed.
In support of his parole bid, Doodnaught admitted to having a “touchy-feely” approach. He said he had pioneered a technique of pinching the abdomens and breasts of female patients to gauge the degree of sedation.
The board called the explanation an attempt at justifying his crimes and said it demonstrated his “well documented arrogance” and lack of insight.
“Your explanations were not credible,” the decision states.
At a hearing April 10 in Gravenhurst, Ont., where he sought day and full parole, Doodnaught claimed “profound empathy” for his victims He offered supportive letters, while some observers were on hand to show support for his release. He said he planned to spend retirement puttering around the house or volunteering.
Doodnaught, a full-time unit cleaner in prison, did face a minor and later withdrawn in-custody charge for breaching the rules by having a tube of black hair dye but correctional authorities recommended granting him day parole. The two-member panel also noted he had spent almost 3 1/2 years on pre-trial bail without issue.
The board also heard from two victims, who described the ongoing serious psychological trauma his acts inflicted on them, and pressed him to account for his behaviour.
Doodnaught admitted to using “impression management” to get what he wanted, a trait he had exhibited for years, the board said. For that reason, the panel found his written statements not credible and denounced his arrogance and desire for power and control as risk factors.
The Scottish-educated thrice-married father of five worked for 34 years as an anesthesiologist until his arrest. The board noted an escalation in his offending in the weeks leading up to his apprehension. Overall, the board said it placed significant weight on his lack of insight.
The prisoner, the board said, demonstrated a “demeaning attitude” toward women.
“Your suggested issues around power and control, as they relate to sexual deviancy, remain unexplained by you even though you have identified them as contributing to your actions,” the panel said. “The board is therefore extremely concerned about your risk to reoffend given your lack of insight.”