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Gay 'cure' therapist had sex with male patients in his office

Toronto psychologist Dr. Melvyn Iscove preyed on patients struggling with their sexuality.

2018-03-12

A Toronto-based psychiatrist who practised gay 'cure' therapy has had his license suspended after being found guilty of having sex with male patients.

Dr. Melvyn Iscove, 72, was described as having as "special interest" in 'treating' gay patients during the invesitgation by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario’s discipline committee, The Star reports.

The medical regulator found that that doctor engaged in mutual masturbation and oral sex with two male patients during therapy sessions and once had anal sex with one of them in his office.

Both former patients, now in their 40s, came forward alleging that their relationship with Dr. Iscover had become sexual after they began seeing him for problems relating to depression and anxiety.

Patient A began seeing the psychiatrist in his early 20s over depression and anxiety “associated with fears he was gay,” when he was in his twenties. 

The anonymous patient testified that the doctor once embraced him and asked: “What are you thinking you want to do?” before adding “You may touch me if you like.”

“The sexual activity subsequently progressed to Dr. Iscove removing his penis from his trousers, then Patient A doing the same,” the five-member panel wrote in their decision.

“This progressed on later occasions to mutual masturbation and oral sex. Patient A estimated that such activity occurred on between 10 and 20 occasions with oral sex occurring on one-third of the episodes.”

Patient B was a long-time patient who had begun seeing Dr. Iscover in the late '80s at the age of 18. The pair's relationship turned sexual in 2007, with the pair engaging mutual masturbation and oral sex on a number of occasions, as well as having penetrative sex.

The report stated: “Neither complainant described any emotional or romantic aspects of the sexual activity with Dr. Iscove, and both said that at some point, they thought that the sexual activity was part of the therapy and an attempt to cure them of homosexuality by engaging in the acts, rather than fantasizing about them.”

Dr. Iscove denied the allegations of sexual misconduct, which mostly date back to the 1990s and 2000s. His licence has been suspended pending a penalty hearing, where it is expected his license will be revoked.

A lawyer acting on Dr Iscover's behalf said the psychiatrist is "seriously considering" an appeal. He is also facing a separate charge of “improper conduct in a public men’s washroom.”