Testimony continues from former doctor accused of sexual assault
WARNING: Coverage of this trial contains details of sexual assault allegations.
Sylvester Ukabam, a former Regina doctor accused of sexually assaulting five female patients, addressed some of the allegations against him from the witness stand on Tuesday.
Ukabam practiced as a gastroenterology specialist in Regina prior to giving up his medical license in 2018. He pleaded not guilty to seven counts of sexual assault levelled against him by five former female patients, who accused him of inappropriate actions during physical examinations between 2010 and 2018.
On Tuesday morning at Court of Queen’s Bench, defence lawyer Aaron Fox asked Ukabam about another one of the five patients who filed a complaint against him.
Her complaints stem from three separate incidents in which she accused Ukabam of touching or inserting a finger into her vagina during rectal exams.
The first alleged incident happened at Ukabam’s downtown office in May 2012.
Referring to his medical notes, Ukabam said on that occasion he conducted a full physical examination on the patient which included chest, abdomen and rectal exams.
Ukabam said he did not remember the specific procedure, but said normal practice would be for her to wear a medical gown for the examination with her underwear and bra still on. He said when it was time to perform the rectal exam, he would have asked her to pull her underwear down towards her ankles.
He said he would verbalize when the rectal exam was about to begin, before lubricating a gloved finger and inserting it into her anus.
Fox asked, “Did you ever, while conducting a rectal examination of [victim’s name], intentionally touch her vagina?”
“No,” Ukabam responded.
The former doctor said during the chest and abdomen examinations, he would not have worn gloves. He said he has no recollection of ever conducting a rectal exam on the patient without gloves on.
Ukabam explained the patient continued to suffer from symptoms associated with her stomach illness over the next couple of years. According to his medical records read in court, the patient went through many procedures and treatments. Ukabam wasn’t directly involved in all of her treatments, but said he was kept updated because he was the attending physician on her case.
Ukabam went over the patient’s medical records throughout those years, listing different medications and the side effects she experienced. Some side effects included skin rashes and hair loss.
The third alleged incident reported by the patient took place at the Regina General Hospital Endoscopy Unit in 2014. She alleged Ukabam told her to bend over and pull down her underwear for a rectal exam. She said he inserted his finger into her vagina during that exam.
Ukabam said he never conducted an examination in that unit office because there are large, open windows and people come and go frequently.
During questioning from Fox, Ukabam said he did not instruct the victim to bend over, pull down her pants and then conduct any sort of exam on her.
Ukabam said he never touched or inserted any fingers into the patient’s vagina during that appointment.
The former doctor said to his knowledge, at no point during his several years of treating the patient did she ever raise concerns about his examination process, until 2015, when she requested a second opinion.
To wrap up questioning regarding the second complainant, Fox asked Ukabam if he ever did anything inappropriate to the patient during his interactions with her, if he ever did anything that she did not consent to, if he ever inserted a finger into her vagina before starting a rectal exam, or if he ever ran his hand over her buttocks before a rectal exam.
Ukabam firmly responded “no” to all of the questions.
Late in the afternoon, the defence moved on to the allegations from the third complainant who has accused Ukabam of assaulting her during an exam.
The complainant was a long-time patient of Ukabam. She alleged that in April 2017, he conducted a physical exam on her, during which he put his finger in her vagina.
According to medical records presented in court, Ukabam first treated the patient in 2004.
The rest of the afternoon was spent going over their appointments and interactions between 2004 and 2017.
Ukabam told the court he never conducted a physical exam or rectal exam on the third complainant without her consent.
A previous version of this story stated the third complainant alleged that Ukabam inappropriately touched her breasts during an examination. The third complainant did not make this allegation. CTV News regrets this error.
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