Sex as­sault charges stayed

Lo­cal doc­tor ac­cused of in­de­cent act with de­vel­op­men­tally dis­abled pa­tient is­sued stay of charges af­ter com­plainant tes­ti­mony

Medicine Hat News - - HOMETOWN NEWS - JEREMY APPEL jap­[email protected]­hat­ Twit­ter: MHNJere­myAp­pel

Charges against a lo­cal doc­tor ac­cused of mo­lest­ing a de­vel­op­men­tally dis­abled pa­tient were stayed Thurs­day af­ter court heard con­tra­dic­tory tes­ti­mony from the com­plainant.

Dr. Ian Geb­hardt faced charges of sex­ual as­sault and sex­ual ex­ploita­tion in re­la­tion to a June 6, 2017 ap­point­ment, where the com­plainant al­leged the doc­tor forced him to per­form a sex act.

The com­plainant, who can­not be iden­ti­fied due to a court-or­dered pub­li­ca­tion ban, tes­ti­fied at Medicine Hat Pro­vin­cial Court from be­hind a screen that blocked the ac­cused from his view, with Mul­der, vic­tim ser­vices’ sup­port dog, at his side.

The com­plainant tes­ti­fied that af­ter con­duct­ing a rou­tine phys­i­cal, Geb­hardt zipped down his pants and asked the com­plainant to per­form the act.

He al­leged the doc­tor told him “to keep a se­cret,” which he tes­ti­fied was a ref­er­ence to what al­legedly took place in the of­fice.

How­ever, the com­plainant told po­lice he couldn’t re­call what the se­cret was.

De­fence lawyer Robert Robben­haar asked him why he can now re­mem­ber some­thing 18 months af­ter he said he couldn’t re­call.

“I don’t know,” the com­plainant said.

Although he ini­tially tes­ti­fied that the day in ques­tion was his first time see­ing Geb­hardt, the com­plainant agreed un­der cross-ex­am­i­na­tion that he had been a pa­tient for six years.

He also ad­mit­ted un­der cross-ex­am­i­na­tion that he was taken to Geb­hardt be­cause he had lost 30 pounds af­ter ceas­ing to take his anti-psy­chotic med­i­ca­tion.

Robben­haar said the side ef­fects of ces­sa­tion in­clude con­fu­sion.

“Is it pos­si­ble you’re con­fus­ing the doc­tor with some­body else?” Robben­haar asked.

The com­plainant re­sponded af­fir­ma­tively.

In his po­lice state­ment, the com­plainant said Geb­hardt felt his tes­ti­cles, which Robben­haar said his client did to search for lumps, be­fore Geb­hardt al­legedly un­zipped his pants.

He didn’t tell po­lice that Geb­hardt di­rected the com­plainant’s hand to his pe­nis, as he tes­ti­fied.

“The rea­son you have two dif­fer­ent ver­sions is be­cause you can’t re­mem­ber cor­rectly,” said Robben­haar. “Your me­mories are all bun­gled.”

Af­ter an ad­journ­ment for lunch, Crown pros­e­cu­tor Con­nor Doyle asked that the charges be stayed, which is dif­fer­ent from a with­drawal in that the charges can be brought back within a year.

Geb­hardt must ap­pear be­fore the Al­berta Col­lege of Physi­cians to get back his med­i­cal li­cence, which was sus­pended af­ter his ar­rest in Au­gust 2017.

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