Toronto dentist charged with sexual assault of patients allowed to keep practising with conditions

August 27, 2020
Toronto dentist charged with sexually assaulting patients, sexual interference with minors still practising 

More than two months after a Toronto dentist was charged with multiple counts of sexual assault allegedly involving patients and children among the victims, Ontario’s dental regulator has imposed conditions on him.

But the college is allowing Dr. Amir Haydarian to continue practising.

Under conditions imposed Thursday by the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario, Haydarian, who works in Davisville Village in Midtown Toronto, cannot treat any clients under the age of 18.

He can only interact with adults in the presence of an independent monitor educated in the prevention of sexual abuse of patients. The college is requiring that Haydarian pay for that monitor.

However, the conditions do not require that Haydarian disclose the existence or nature of the charges to clients, only that a sign be prominently posted in his office to note that he is required to have a monitor when practising.

The college has also ordered him to attend an anger management course within three months and warns that any violation of the conditions could lead to an immediate licence suspension.

Haydarian is not required to disclose the existence or nature of the charges to clients, but a sign must be prominently posted in his office to note that he is required to have a monitor when practising. (Amir Haydarian/Facebook)

If the monitor, who must never have worked for Haydarian, is not a dentist, then the college is also requiring an accredited dentist review his work at least once a week.

Haydarian’s lawyer, Joseph Neuberger, said his client intends to plead not guilty to all charges and “has had an unblemished career as a dentist.”

“These allegations are shocking to Dr. Haydarian,” Neuberger said.

Haydarian was charged on June 26 with five counts of assault; one count of uttering a death threat; four counts of sexual assault; and four counts of sexual interference (a charge that applies in cases where the victim is under the age of 16).

He was subsequently charged with an additional count of sexual assault on July 21 and is out on bail.

None of the allegations has been tested in court. Haydarian’s next appearance in Ontario Court of Justice is expected in early September.

The charges relate to offences that allegedly occurred between November 2019 and April 2020.

The Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario, located in Toronto. Neither the police nor the courts are required to notify the regulatory body of criminal charges against dental professionals. (Michael Aitkens/CBC)

The Toronto Police Service and its Child and Youth Advocacy Centre as well as Durham Regional Police Service have been involved in investigating the allegations. (Haydarian owns the building in which his office is located and co-owns two residential properties in Toronto and a farm in Clarington, Ont., in Durham Region east of Toronto.)

The identities of the alleged victims and the specifics of the accusations are covered by a publication ban.

CBC News has confirmed that the alleged victims include children under the age of 16 and that some of the alleged victims were Haydarian’s patients.

Police, courts not required to notify college

Under rules established by the college, a dentist facing criminal charges is required to notify the college. But in Haydarian’s case, the college learned of the charges from an alleged victim.

Neither the police nor the courts are required to notify the college of criminal charges against members of the professional organization, which serves as the regulatory body for dentistry in the province.

University of Toronto bioethicist Kerry Bowman said that needs to change.

“Trust is the foundation of the entire system … and if you don’t have trust, the entire thing falls apart,” he said. “People have got to feel completely safe in medical and dental environments.”

An investigator from the college formally interviewed the alleged victim who notified the college of the charges on July 6. But the college only confirmed that criminal charges had been laid on July 22.

On Aug. 7, more than a month after a complaint was initially raised, the college held an initial hearing into Haydarian’s case.

But following that hearing and through much of August, Haydarian has been able to see patients without notifying them of the allegations.

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