In Toronto Canada, the former medical health officer in an area known as the York Region, dropped his head and gasped as he was found guilty yesterday of indecent sexual assaults on four young boys, on charges dating back to the 1950s.
The court found that the allegations against Doctor John O. Slingerland, age 90, were credible, and that the doctor’s defense arguments were not believable. The charges were made by four men who testified they were assaulted by him when he was their family doctor.
Slingerland, who lived and treated patients in the small community of Mount Albert for about 12 years beginning in 1960, was also a United Church elder and Cub Scout leader.
The indictment occurred in 2010 and he pleaded not guilty to indecent assault of four boys, who ranged in ages from five to 13.
During the trial, Slingerland admitted he performed medical examinations on children in the basement of his church, as opposed to his clinic, but said the exams were part of the merit badge program of the Cub Scouts. The victims described in detail incidences of masturbation performed on them by the doctor.
Assistant Crown Attorney Jennifer Gleitman asked the doctor if he would be surprised that no Cub Scout badges are given for medical examinations.
Slingerland bristled. “You would be wrong. There’s not nowadays, but there was at that time.”
Slingerland testified that he never touched any of the children in a sexual manner.
In the end, in the Newmarket district court, Justice Anne Mullins, who spent more than an hour reading the non-jury verdict said this:
“I do not accept the evidence of Owen Slingerland.”
The elderly physician leaned on his cane while listening to the verdict on a special hearing device provided by the court.
Slingerland, who retired in 1988, was not being held in custody during the trial and who is free on bail today, will return to court for Sentencing July 8.
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