A veteran Toronto pediatrician faces charges of sexually assaulting a teenaged patient and police believe there may be more victims.
Dr. Arturo Sanchez, 78, was arrested and charged with sexual assault, sexual exploitation and sexual interference on Thursday.
“The suspect is a person who’s in a position of authority. It’s an extreme violation of … trust,” said Detective Jeff Bangild.
Det. Bangild said he is “very confident” there are more victims.
“This is just a plea for other individuals who have been affected by this, or other complainants, to please come forward and report this to the police,” he said.
Dr. Sanchez allegedly assaulted a female patient in her teens during an appointment last month at his clinic in Toronto’s Little Italy neighbourhood, Det. Bangild said. The girl’s mother was in the exam room at the time, but did not have a clear view of the alleged incident. The girl has been Dr. Sanchez’s patient since birth.
The family reported the alleged assault to Ontario’s College of Physicians and Surgeons as well as Toronto police.
College spokeswoman Prithi Yelaja said the regulatory body is “currently investigating this doctor” but would not provide additional details.
Det. Bangild said investigators are seeking court orders to obtain documents from the college.
Dr. Sanchez was arrested at his College Street office “without incident” on Thursday and police seized the girl’s medical records, Det. Bangild said. He is to appear in court on May 9.
Messages left at Dr. Sanchez’s office was not returned on Friday. The pediatrician also holds “courtesy privileges” at St. Joseph’s Health Centre and previously worked at the hospital’s pediatric walk-in clinic, Ted Rogovein, the hospital’s chief of staff, said in a statement, adding that he had not treated any patients at the hospital “in a number of years.”
“Dr. Sanchez will not be exercising any privileges at the Health Centre until the current issue is resolved. The Hospital will cooperate with the police investigation if requested to do so,” Dr. Rogovein said.
Dr. Sanchez’s profile on the College of Physicians and Surgeons’ website shows he graduated from the National University of Colombia in 1958. He qualified as a pediatrician in Canada in 1964 and was licensed to practice medicine in Ontario the following year.
Since news of Dr. Sanchez’s arrest broke late Thursday, several parents have posted notes in support of him on the website RateMDs.com , where he has a rating of 4.5 out of 5. “He is the best person, I support my dr,” one posting says.