TORONTO – A doctor identified as the father of late TV star Alan Thicke is not challenging allegations that he engaged in professional misconduct towards more than a dozen women over several decades.
Dr. Brian Christopher Thicke has pleaded no contest before a disciplinary committee of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario to two breaches of the Medical Act.
The 90-year-old is not disputing that he engaged in an act or omission relevant to the practice of medicine that would be considered disgraceful, dishonourable or unprofessional.
He’s also pleaded no contest to another, historical version of the same charge.
Thicke had initially faced allegations of sexual abuse and sexual impropriety, but those were withdrawn at today’s hearing.
An uncontested statement of facts presented at the hearing lays out incidents involving 14 patients and one colleague, some of them dating back to the 1970s.
Many of the patients were undergoing medical exams to obtain pilot’s licences or jobs as flight attendants, while a few others were teenagers who attended Thicke’s family practice, the committee heard.
The statement said Thicke conducted breast exams on several patients without obtaining informed consent or explaining why the exams were necessary, and at times without giving them privacy to change clothes or a gown to cover themselves.
At times he also made inappropriate comments, the statement said: referring to his patients’ breasts as “boobs” or “boobies,” commenting on their appearances and at one point telling a teen who requested a prescription for birth control it was not a licence for promiscuity.
The statement also said that while working in a hospital in 1977, Thicke approached a coworker who was bottle-feeding a baby, slid his hand into her uniform and squeezed her breast.
Lawyer Elisabeth Widner, who represents the college, described it as “one of the most egregious forms of sexual harassment in the workplace.”
The college first received a complaint about Thicke in 2015 in connection with a pilot’s medical exam he conducted in the 1990s, but the regulatory body chose not to refer that complaint to its discipline committee.
Lisa Fruitman, who has agreed to be identified, appealed to the Health Professions Appeal and Review Board, which ordered the college to reconsider.
Allegations from other complainants, all but three of whom cannot be identified due to a publication ban, were added to the case later.
Restrictions were placed on Thicke’s practice in early 2018 and he allowed his medical registration to lapse several months later.
Thicke has agreed not to reapply to practise medicine in any jurisdiction, the committee heard Tuesday.
© 2019 The Canadian Press