Saint John physiotherapist's licence revoked, must pay $54K after relationship with client
Complaint filed in 2021, details will not be made public, college says
A Saint John physiotherapist has had his licence revoked and been ordered to pay $54,600 after a disciplinary hearing related to sexual contact with a client.
The College of Physiotherapists of New Brunswick found that Robert Landers "engaged in an intimate relationship with the complainant while she was a client," and is guilty of professional misconduct under both the Physiotherapy Act and the industry's code of conduct.
"Mr. Landers' professional misconduct includes sexual abuse … on multiple occasions through sexual relations, touching of a sexual nature, and his behaviour or remarks of a sexual nature towards his client," says a notice on the college's website.
Under the provincial Physiotherapy Act, "sexual abuse" is defined as any sexual contact with a client, and does not address issues of consent or legality.
The notice also says Landers failed to maintain professional boundaries with the complainant, failed to conduct himself in an ethical manner, and failed to "end the therapeutic relationship when appropriate boundaries could not be maintained."
According to the college's website, Landers is registered as the owner of Any Body Consulting & Physiotherapy on Saint John's west side.
In a voicemail greeting on the company's phone line, Landers said the office is closed "indefinitely," and directs customers to the website. He has not returned CBC's request for comment.
Ellen Snider, the college's registrar, said the exact details of the complaint will not be made public to protect the identity of the complainant. The misconduct dates back to at least 2018, Snider said, and the complaint was filed in 2021.
"It's quite a lengthy process," she said.
Any complaint first goes to the complaints committee, which deliberates and gathers more information if needed, Snider said. In this case, the committee found enough evidence to refer the complaint to the discipline committee.
That committee reviews the information again and listens to both sides. There are usually lawyers and further investigation involved as well.
In this case, the committee came to its decision in early April, and ordered the registrar to revoke Landers's certificate of registration. He is not allowed to apply for reinstatement of his licence until five years from the date of the decision. He's also ordered to pay the college $54,600 for its legal costs and the cost of investigating the complaint.
The committee chose to not fine Landers because of the high amount he's ordered to pay in costs and the "seriousness" of licence revocation.