Regina doctor accused of sexual assault denies allegations in court
Former gastroenterology specialist is accused of assaulting five patients between 2010 and 2017
WARNING: This article contains graphic content and may affect those who have experienced sexual violence or know someone affected by it.
A former Regina gastroenterology specialist who is accused of sexually assaulting five of his patients denied the allegations against him in court Wednesday.
Sylvester Ukabam, 76, faces seven counts of sexual assault. He worked in a downtown Regina medical office until December 2018, when he relinquished his medical licence. The incidents are alleged to have occurred between December 2010 and April 2017.
Ukabam's alleged victims — all of whom are women and cannot be named due to a publication ban — testified earlier this month in Regina Court of Queen's Bench that he touched and groped their genitals and breasts without their consent. He is also accused of making sexually suggestive comments and asking patients to remove their underwear before entering the exam room.
Under examination from his lawyer, Aaron Fox, for the second day, Ukabam said he believed all interactions were consensual and did not think he acted inappropriately.
Fox asked him about one complainant, who told court that Ukabam insisted he examine her, despite her having no medical issues that day.
She says he lubricated his glove and asked if he could examine her genitals, to which she said no. She said Ukabam grabbed a chair, propped it against the door handle then stuck his finger in her vagina with a lubricated glove.
Ukabam said he did not barricade the door, and lubricated his finger so he could perform a rectal exam. He said the patient had Crohn's disease and he needed to check her rectum for fissures.
Ukabam said again Wednesday that he was surprised by the complaints.
"I was very much shocked," he said, when asked by Fox how he reacted when he saw one of the complaints was from a patient he knew well.
Much of the day in court was spent reviewing medical records that included appointment details, procedures and medication of the complainants. Technical issues with the judge's computer software forced the trial to adjourn earlier than planned.
The defence is expected to wrap its examination Thursday, with the crown beginning cross-examination at that point. Both the Crown and defence believe the trial will continue into next week.
Support is available for anyone who has been sexually assaulted. You can access crisis lines and local support services through this Government of Canada website or the Ending Violence Association of Canada database. If you're in immediate danger or fear for your safety or that of others around you, please call 911.
With files from Laura Sciarpelletti