Acupuncturist sentenced for sexually assaulting patient during treatment

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Dr Musa Andkhoie will serve his one-year sentence in the community due to his age and multiple chronic health conditions, the judge said.

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A Saskatoon acupuncturist convicted of sexually assaulting a patient during acupressure treatment will serve his one-year sentence in the community and then spend another year on probation.

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Judge Vanessa Monar Enweani agreed with the defense that a conditional sentence – imprisonment served under conditions in the community – can satisfy the principles of denunciation and deterrence, given the health risks to Dr Musa Andkhoie if we were to be imprisoned.

Andkhoie, 80, was convicted after a trial in provincial court in 2021.

The victim testified that Andkhoie applied appropriate pressure during an initial treatment, but touched her genital area, both under and over her clothing, without consent during a second treatment a few days later in September 2019.

Acupressure uses fingers to apply pressure to parts of the body while acupuncture uses needles.

Only the victim and Andkhoie were in the room during the assault, the court heard. The victim immediately contacted family members and the police.

At trial, Andkhoie said the patient was lying and consented to any touching he did, which he allegedly documented in his file.

Monar Enweani found the victim credible and reliable based on her detailed recollections, anatomical description and clear timeline of the assault and surrounding events, Crown Attorney Aaron Martens said.

“In contrast, the judge found that the defendant had minimal independent recollection of the event beyond his notes to a file, and those notes did not imply inappropriate touching. Overall, his lack of detail and the evidence as a whole was found to be less reliable and did not raise a reasonable doubt in the mind of the judge,” Martens said.

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He argued for a custodial sentence of four to six months, followed by 18 months probation, given the breach of trust and the need to deter others from doing the same.

The victim described an overall loss of confidence in health care and anxiety throughout the lengthy court process, Monar Enweani said. She also noted the doctor’s lack of remorse and refusal to accept responsibility, as evidenced by his pre-sentence report.

Defense attorney Lisa Watson argued for a suspended sentence of between nine and 12 months, due to her client’s age, lack of criminal record and multiple chronic health conditions, including hypertension, diabetes, coronary heart disease, kidney stones, hydronephrosis and depression.

Watson provided scientific evidence, backed by the federal government, which she said “shows that he is at risk of developing serious illness if he contracts COVID-19 in custody.”

She added that “the psychological impact of prison during the pandemic on a vulnerable offender like Dr Andkhoie would result in an unfit sentence”.

Due to the current health crisis, prisons have become more challenging environments, either due to the risk of infection or due to excessive confinements to prevent the risk of infection, Monar Enweani said, citing case law when speaking. his oral decision.

She noted that Andkhoie is considered low risk for reoffending and has strong family support.

He earned his doctorate in anesthesia and received training in acupuncture and acupressure before coming to Canada in 2003 after fleeing Afghanistan to India, the court heard. He began practicing in Saskatoon in 2004 and retired in 2021.

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His conditions, both during his community prison sentence and his probation, include lack of any form of health care, participation in sex offender treatment as directed by his supervisors, and no contact with his victim. .

He will be subject to a 24-hour curfew during his suspended sentence, but not during his probation.

Martens said only the unique factors of Andkhoie’s age and health issues kept him from going to jail.

“Instead, it is subject to very strict conditions to protect the public and prevent it from re-offending. All patients have the right to say no to any caregiver who does not respect their limits or who does not obtain their consent to have contact, and this case reflects that.

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