A second doctor who worked for the RCMP is facing allegations of sexual assault during medical examinations.
Toronto police confirmed on Wednesday that its sex-crimes unit is investigating historic allegations of sexual assault in the national force. News of the Ontario investigation comes as police in Halifax are looking into allegations against a doctor who worked for the RCMP in Nova Scotia.
"New allegations of sexual assault during recruitment medical examinations have arisen regarding the conduct of a different doctor in 'O' Division," Assistant Commissioner Stephen White, the acting chief human resources officer, said in an internal RCMP memo on Wednesday. "O" division conducts RCMP operations in Ontario.
Assistant Commissioner White said in the memo that the new allegations, which concern the period between the mid-1980s and the early 1990s, came to light after he detailed the allegations against the Nova Scotia doctor in an e-mail to staff last week. The Globe and Mail reported on the initial case on Tuesday.
Halifax police spokeswoman Constable Carol McIsaac said more than 20 people say they were sexually assaulted during examinations at the force's health-services office in the Halifax suburb of Bedford between 1981 and 2003.
She said the complaints come from both men and women, and the RCMP has said they were applicants looking to join the force or serving members receiving treatment at the Bedford clinic. Nearly 1,000 women have filed claims in a class-action lawsuit, settled in 2016, that required the Mounties to compensate current and former female employees who were sexually assaulted, harassed or discriminated against after the force began to recruit women in September, 1974.
Many hundreds more claims are expected to be filed before the deadline of Feb. 8.
Among them are claims from women who allege they were assaulted by the unnamed doctor, who worked at the Bedford clinic between October, 1981, and July, 2003. The doctor is now retired.
David Klein of Klein Lawyers in Vancouver, whose firm was one of two that negotiated the class-action settlement, said at least four of his clients say the Toronto physician treated them inappropriately.
"This doctor had a thing for fondling women's nipples," Mr. Klein said.
He previously told The Globe that eight of the hundreds of women who have come to his office asking for help in filing their claims say they were assaulted by a physician at the Bedford clinic, whom recruits nicknamed "Dr. Fingers."
Mr. Klein said those women say the doctor gave them unnecessary rectal examinations, inserted his fingers into their vaginas for no apparent reason and spent unusually lengthy periods of time rubbing his hands on their breasts.
The RCMP memo gave members a phone number to call to report any allegations in the Ontario case to the Toronto investigators.
"Toronto Police Service, as the police of jurisdiction, have been notified," it said. "If you are a victim or anyone wishing to pass along information regarding these or any other related matters in the Toronto area, please contact the Toronto Police Sex Crimes Unit … and advise that you are an RCMP employee."
Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said he is troubled by the recent allegations and encouraged victims to come forward.
"This is an extremely devastating time for all those involved," he said in a statement.
"As the minister responsible for Canada's national police force, sexual assault is an issue that I take very seriously. All RCMP members and employees should feel safe and respected amongst their colleagues and superiors. Canadians expect professional and exemplary conduct from their national police service."
Assistant Commissioner White said the force encourages victims of similar experiences in other locations to report it to police, a supervisor or anyone they trust.
"I thank the employees who have taken the difficult step of coming forward, and commend them on their courage," he said in the memo. "While it is very upsetting to hear of more victims, these disclosures are a necessary and positive step in building a better organization and maintaining a safe and healthy workplace.
"We can expect that other victims will come forward, and when this happens, we need to support them and address the allegations."
With a report from The Canadian Press