Edmonton pediatrician charged with child pornography offences
Ghassan Al-Naami, 47, arrested Sunday at Edmonton International Airport
UPDATE: On Friday, Aug. 16, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta issued a news release saying that Dr. Ghassan Al-Naami has voluntarily withdrawn from practice.
An Edmonton pediatrician has been charged with child pornography offences and ordered not to have contact with anyone under the age of 16, following an investigation by the Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams (ALERT).
Ghassan Al-Naami, 47, was arrested Sunday at the Edmonton International Airport.
He has been charged with possession and transmission of child pornography, ALERT said in a news release.
Al-Naami has been released from custody on court-ordered release conditions, including that he not have contact with anyone under the age of 16 and that he "not continue employment that involves being in a position of trust or authority towards persons under the age of 16," ALERT said.
The charges stem from an April 2019 incident involving child pornography being allegedly uploaded to the internet.
ALERT's Internet Child Exploitation (ICE) Unit was notified about the images by the RCMP's National Child Exploitation Coordination Centre in July.
There is no indication that any offences were committed against children in Al-Naami's care, the news release said.
ICE is continuing to conduct a forensic analysis of computers and electronic devices seized from Al-Naami, and is encouraging anyone with information to come forward.
Al-Naami has been asked to withdraw from his Edmonton practice by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta (CPSA), spokesperson Jessica McPhee said.
"While it's not CPSA's role to presume guilt before the criminal investigation has taken place, it's our top priority to protect the public," McPhee said at a joint press conference with ALERT Wednesday.
If Al-Naami were to refuse to withdraw from practice, the CPSA could impose a chaperone restriction for every patient that the doctor potentially sees, she said.
The College also has the authority to suspend Al-Naami's licence under the Health Professions Act if there is sufficient evidence to suggest there's a risk to public safety.
"As far as we are aware at this point, the patients had no involvement in those allegations," McPhee said.
The College will conduct its own investigation into Al-Naami's actions once the police investigation is concluded.
Al-Naami is listed on the University of Alberta's website as a clinical lecturer in the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry.
He practised as a pediatrician in Fort McMurray from 2012 until early 2017, when he expressed concerns about the lack of a full-time emergency room pediatrician in the city. As one of Fort McMurray's four pediatricians, Al-Naami would be on-call for emergencies for one week each month.
He is also listed as the only physician staff member at the Bright Futures Clinic at 113th Avenue and 95th Street in Edmonton.