BY KEITH LACEY
A Sudbury physician found guilty of molesting female patients while performing internal examinations, the first dating back almost 30 years, was handed down a two-year penitentiary term Wednesday.
Dr. Richard Nanka-Bruce, 62, was found guilty earlier this year of two counts of sexual assault and two counts of indecent assault following a lengthy trial last year.
Justice Ian Gordon of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice said the breach of trust in this case was immense and cried out for severe punishment.
"As a person there are so many mitigating factors...with these offences there are no mitigating factors," said the veteran judge.
The Ontario Court of Appeal has made it clear people in a position of trust who abuse that trust, especially for sexual gratification, will be dealt with severely and won't be granted conditional sentences to be served in the community even as first-time offenders, said Gordon.
Nanka-Bruce was originally charged with sexually or indecently assaulting nine complainants dating back to the middle to late 1970s.
Some charges were dropped and he was acquitted on several other charges following the trial.
When asked by Gordon if he had anything to say to the court before sentence was imposed, Nanka-Bruce graciously denied.
With his wife and many supporters in the courtroom to support him, Nanka-Bruce was quickly led away by court security to begin serving his sentence after Gordon announced his decision.
Defence counsel David Humphrey told reporters after the sentencing hearing considering all the circumstances, he's "not surprised" at the penalty handed down.
Humphrey had asked the court to impose a provincial reformatory sentence in the range of 18 months to two years less a day, while assistant Crown attorney Diana Fuller had asked the court to impose a sentence between three and four years in a federal penitentiary.
Nanka-Bruce will be sent to Millhaven Penitentiary in Kingston, but won't be placed in the general population there until he's classified and as a first-time offender, will likely be sent to a minimum or medium security federal prison in Ontario to serve his sentence, said Humphrey.
As a first-time offender with a long record of community and professional service, Nanka-Bruce will be eligible for full parole after serving one-third of his sentence. He can apply for daytime release, where he'd live most of the time in a halfway house, after serving four months or one-sixth of his sentence.
Despite being convicted of these crimes, Nanka-Bruce had a remarkable career where he helped thousands of patients over more than 30 years in practice, said Humphrey.
Three of the Nanka-Bruce's victims were in court for his sentencing hearing Wednesday, but would not comment as all have filed civil lawsuits against him.