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Former Hay River doctor denied peace bond in aftermath of 2016 affair

A judge denied a peace bond application on Monday to a well-known doctor from Hay River who was born and raised in the community, but has since moved south.

'I'm afraid of her, afraid of the threats she's made. Afraid for my family and myself,' says doctor

Hay River's hospital. The court heard that Crook 'improperly accessed' McGonigle's health records in 2016. McGonigle was the mother of one of his patients. (Kirsten Murphy/CBC)
  • EDITOR'S NOTE: A photo in this story was removed on April 27, 2020, to reflect both parties fairly. 

A judge denied a peace bond application on Monday to a well-known doctor from Hay River who was born and raised in the community, but has since moved south.

Dr. Lance Crook, 43, appeared by video conference in a Hay River court room yesterday. He moved to rural Manitoba in 2017 with his wife and four children, after resigning one year into his three-year contract as a family physician with the Hay River Health and Social Services Authority. 

Crook was in court seeking a protection order, also known as a peace bond, against Angela McGonigle, 44, who he admitted to having a four-month affair with in 2016.

Crook said McGonigle repeatedly harassed him after he ended the relationship.

"I'm afraid of her, afraid of the threats she's made. Afraid for my family and myself," he told the court.

How they met

Under cross examination, the court heard Crook "improperly accessed" McGonigle's health records in order to contact her in June 2016. McGonigle was the mother of one of his patients. When asked to define his relationship with McGonigle, Crook said it was "purely sexual and always consensual." 

Upon terminating the relationship, he alleged McGonigle repeatedly vandalized his vehicle with substances such as eggs and porridge, and sent threatening texts to Crook and a family member.

On March 1, 2017, McGonigle filed a complaint with the Hay River Health Authority, alleging several examples of physician misconduct.

I feel relieved. A weight has been lifted.- Angela McGonigle

The health authority investigated and determined McGonigle's complaint "was substantiated." The results of the investigation were not presented in court. The letter, dated March 1, 2018 and obtained by CBC last year, did not specify if one or all of the concerns had been substantiated. 

By then, Crook had moved to Hogdson, Man. to work at the Percy E. Moore Hospital.

"I was not asked to resign. I resigned on my own," he said of leaving Hay River in 2017. 

Crook said McGonigle contacted his employer in Manitoba in 2018 to say Crook was "a bad man" and that he should not be working there.

He told the court he's concerned the harassment could resume at any time. He did not disclose his current location.

Abbie Crook-Burger, Crook's mother, said in court that the affair has been devastating.

"My son had to leave the community and leave me. I love my grandchildren and they had to leave the community.That took a lot from my family."

Fear should have 'dissipated'

Crook-Burger, who still lives in Hay River, testified she received messages from McGonigle's cell number as recently as March 2018. She was a co-applicant for the protection order.

Judge James R. McIntosh denied granting the protection orders, saying enough time had passed since McGonigle had last tried to make contact with either Crook or his mother.

"Any fear, reasonable or not, should have dissipated over time," McIntosh said.

McGonigle was pleased with the judge's decision.

"I feel relieved. A weight has been lifted. [Crook] knows what he did wrong. He can live with that," she said.

Crook-Burger at first declined to comment on the decision, but said: "It is what it is. There has been enough turmoil and hopefully we can all get on with our lives."  

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