Ottawa police charge family doctor with sexual assault

Ottawa police charged a family doctor with sexual assault after investigating complaints from three of his patients.

Reported incidents date back to 2012, police say

Ottawa police charged a family doctor with sexual assault after investigating complaints from three of his patients.

Walid Al-Houssan, 56, is facing three counts of sexual assault, one count of sexual interference involving a girl under 16, and one count of sexual exploitation of a person with a disability.

The Ottawa Police sexual assault and child abuse unit began the investigation in 2016 and said some reported incidents date back to 2012. They have identified three female complainants and investigators are concerned there may be more.

Police say the accused worked at a clinic in the city's west end.

The Sunrise Medical Centre in Nepean was closed on May 18, 2017. Dr. Walid Al-Houssan practised medicine at the clinic, and Ottawa police have charged him with sexual assault — and are concerned there may be more victims. (Omar Dabaghi-Pacheco/CBC)

The website for the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO) says Al-Houssan's primary practice is at the Sunrise Medical Centre in Nepean. He also has secondary practices in Kemptville and Maniwaki.

A sign at the Sunrise Medical Centre said it was closed Thursday and won't reopen until May 23.

Patients disturbed, shocked

Shawna Riedlinger said she visited Al-Houssan about five times at his Nepean walk-in clinic and discussed a "personal intimate issue" with him.

"I'm a little disturbed based on the things I've gone there to visit for," she said. 

Riedlinger said, in her experience, Al-Houssan brought a female nurse into the room, so it wasn't just the two of them. Now, she said, she will be visiting her family doctor more, rather than going to the walk in clinic.

Tara Regan and Shawna Riedlinger were both patients of Dr. Walid Al-Houssan at his walk-in clinic in Nepean. They were surprised to hear about the charges laid against him- (Omar Dabaghi-Pacheco/CBC)

Tara Regan also visited Al-Houssan's clinic a handful of times and said she's shocked at the news.

"I've always found him very nice, very courteous. I always felt very comfortable around him. So, I'm so surprised," she said.

Professional investigation underway

The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, which regulates the medical profession in the province, confirmed that Al-Houssan is currently the subject of an investigation and that he does not have any prior disciplinary history.

A spokesperson said the college does not grant interviews about ongoing investigations.

Al-Houssan was scheduled to appear in court Thursday.

Anyone with information regarding this investigation is asked to call police at 613-236-1222 ext. 5944. Anonymous tips can be submitted by calling Crime Stoppers toll-free at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS).