SARNIA – A Sarnia dentist who could be heading to prison next month for repeatedly stabbing a former patient in his driveway amid accusations of infidelity is now fighting a long list of allegations laid by Ontario’s dentistry regulator.
Kevin Bacchus, awaiting his criminal sentencing for aggravated assault, faces 18 allegations laid by the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario’s discipline committee linked to five separate investigations including disgraceful, dishonourable, unprofessional or unethical conduct, treatment without consent, and sexual abuse of a patient.
The allegations claim Bacchus had sexual relationships with two patients in 2002 or 2003 and 2017. They also claim he failed to maintain professional boundaries by giving an employee a massage in 2013.
All but one of the dozens of complainants linked to the allegations are former patients, a college spokesperson said. The complainants’ names are redacted, listed by their initials or are called Patient A and Patient B in the five notices of hearing posted to the college’s website.
The five investigations, featuring between one and nine allegations each, are being heard together by the discipline committee in an ongoing hearing process that started last fall and is continuing this week with three more sessions. Bacchus’s lawyer, Jasmine Ghosn, pointed out Monday in front of the committee the complaints were all filed after his criminal charges surfaced in the fall of 2019.
“It simply does not add up that, all of a sudden, because of an incident, that a flood of allegations and complaints come forward,” she said.
Bacchus, a second-generation Sarnia dentist who practised in the border city and the Chatham-Kent community of Wallaceburg, was charged in October 2019 with aggravated assault and assault with a weapon. He was convicted of both charges last fall following a five-day trial and is expected to be sentenced in April.
Complaints tied to the college’s allegations started coming in in November 2019 and continued until May 2021. Following five investigations, 18 allegations were made:
- Four counts of disgraceful, dishonourable, unprofessional or unethical conduct.
- Two counts of signing a certificate, report or similar document that contained a false, misleading or improper statement.
- Two counts of submitting a false or misleading account or charge.
- Two counts of abuse of a patient.
- Two counts of sexual abuse of a patient.
- Charging excessive or unreasonable fees.
- Contravening a standard of practice or failed to maintain the standards of practice of the profession.
- Failing to keep records as required by the regulations.
- Prescribing, dispensing or selling a drug for an improper purpose, or inappropriately used authority to prescribe.
- Recommending or providing an unnecessary dental service.
- Treating without consent.
The college’s prosecutor called its evidence last fall and earlier this year and on Monday it was Ghosn’s turn. During her opening remarks, she called into question the credibility of the college’s witnesses and the allegations linked to sexual abuse.
“Dr. Bacchus has serious concerns that the college has failed to prove, based on clear cogent evidence, that he sexually abused patients,” she said.
But as Bacchus, a 51-year-old Western University grad, began testifying, they focused for several hours on a case from November 2019, with allegations he signed a certificate, report or similar document that contained a false, misleading or improper statement, and submitted a false or misleading account or charge. They’re linked to a claim for service for a patient in 2016 and 2017.
Ghosn asked him directly if he committed those allegations.
“No,” he responded flatly. “I did not.”
The investigation alleges he made claims for a procedure, including three root canals, in January 2017, when records show they actually were done in September 2016. It also alleges he claimed another dentist did the procedure to mislead the insurance provider.
Bacchus initially said he did the root canal, but when further questioned by a member of the discipline committee he said he couldn’t remember doing it, but pointed out that patient only saw him.
“I’m assuming that I did the root canal,” he said.
But he added it did take place in September 2016 based on the x-rays.
Later Monday they shifted to the case linked to the massage. The allegation claims Bacchus massaged an employee’s neck in the lunchroom twice in 2013.
“That’s false,” he said. “It never happened. This is all just made up.”
Near the end of the day, Ghosn asked him a series of questions about an alleged affair he had with a different employee, which was also at the centre of his criminal trial. He was asked if he had any sexual relationship with the woman.
“No. I did not,” he responded.
The hearing will continue Tuesday and Wednesday before being paused until March 23.
A college spokesperson said Bacchus does not have restrictions on his practice while the allegations still are outstanding. The penalties available to the discipline committee after finding a dentist guilty include remediation, restrictions, suspensions, revoking licenses, fines up to $35,000, or any combination of those punishments.
Bacchus’s criminal lawyer told the judge last month his client recently sold his practices and will no longer be working as a full-time dentist as of May due in part to hiring issues and blowback on colleagues, although he still hopes to perform certain procedures occasionally and wants to keep his licence.
Bacchus previously was found guilty in late 2013 by the college’s discipline committee on charges he contravened a standard of practice or failed to maintain the standards of practice of the profession, and recommended or provided an unnecessary dental service. He was fined $5,000, suspended six months, reprimanded, had to take courses and had his practice monitored for two years.
Despite the various allegations by the college, a Sarnia police spokesperson said Monday they have no ongoing investigations involving Bacchus.