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Guelph physiotherapist loses appeal of professional misconduct ruling

Court upholds three-month suspension and $30,000 fine issued by College of Physiotherapists of Ontario

A Guelph physiotherapist found guilty of professional misconduct has lost his appeal.

The incident involved an 18-year-old female patient three years ago.

Last spring, Neil Boon, who works at Central Health Care in Guelph, was suspended for three months and ordered to pay $30,000 in costs by the College of Physiotherapists of Ontario.

He appealed that decision.

That appeal was dismissed this month by the Superior Court of Justice, who upheld Boone’s three-month suspension. He must also pay $17,500 in costs.

The incident in question happened in 2015 when the patient identified as KV visited Boon, a physiotherapist with 17 years of experience, for treatment of a sprained ankle.

“Following the appointment, KV initiated a complaint with the police and then to the College.  KV alleged that Mr. Boon had inappropriately encroached on her personal space, and had inappropriately touched her back, thigh and under-arm area near her breast, and placed her foot in his crotch area over his genitals while performing a treatment modality (the ankle\calf or the “dorsiflexion stretch”),” says the written decision of the appeal.

Boone denied all allegations and provided several witnesses in support of his professionalism and character at the initial hearing.

After investigating the complaint, the college’s disciplinary committee ruled that there had been professional misconduct but that a professional charge of sexual misconduct was not substantiated.

The victim in the case provided a victim impact statement at the time of the main hearing.

“She outlined her resulting distrust of medical professionals, her sense of powerlessness and recurrent nightmares. She told the Panel that she prefers not to disclose what happened and found both the experience of being a witness at the hearing and the need to disclose to her university faculty in order to get the time to attend, to have been shameful, embarrassing and a loss of her privacy,” the initial ruling by the college stated.

“She expressed regret that Mr. Boon has never acknowledged and apologized for his actions and she shared that this incident, regardless of the passage of time, will be a part of her life going forward.”