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Abuse experts reprimanded over exam!!

Date: Mon, 18 Sep 1995 09:58:14 -0500
From: Jeff Kuchta (jkuchta@MINET.GOV.MB.CA)
Subject: Abuse experts reprimanded over exam!!

Abuse experts reprimanded over exam!!

The following incredible newspaper articles appeared in the Winnipeg Free Press on September 15, 1995. Winnipeg is the capital city of Manitoba, Canada and has a population of over 600 000. I have been in contact with the man who fought this. He has dedicated his life to helping others. It is lengthy but VERY important not only for him but of course as a precedence.

Child-abuse expert reprimanded over exam

The licensing agency for Manitoba doctors has written a stern letter to the province's foremost child-abuse expert saying he mishandled an examination that has kept a Winnipeg man from seeing his daughter for three years.

Dr. Charles Ferguson's methods for examining the four year-year-old girl "were below an acceptable standard," says a letter by Dr. Claude Murphy, the investigative chairman for the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Manitoba.

The reprimand was revealed Wednesday in a letter to the father. The man, who cannot be named in order to protect the child's identity, had appealed a decision of the college's complaints committee.

The committee originally sided with Ferguson, who is director of the Child Protection Centre.

Child and Family Services refers most children alleged to have been sexually abused to the CPC for medical examinations.

In the letter, Murphy said Ferguson should "review his criteria for performing an examination on a child in this situation."

Murphy added that the letter of criticism will be kept on file.

Ferguson said he stands behind his examination of the girl and is seeking legal counsel concerning ramifications of the letter.

"I'm not going to slit my wrists."

Child and Family Services Chief executive officer Keith Cooper said the case will be reviewed in light of the college's new findings.

But he said CFS has of no intention of severing its ties with the centre.

The girl's mother made allegations of physical and sexual abuse during a bitter custody fight in 1992. Police investigated but charges were never laid.

In a report to Child and Family Services, Ferguson reported the girl's hymen was broken "compatible with digital penetration."

The little girl said the father poked her with pins and stuck a knife in her buttocks.

But two other physicians who examined the girl 13 months later at the Child Protection Centre disagreed. they said the hymen had not been broken, nor had abuse taken place. The second examination was conducted after persistent complaints by the father.

The father also volunteered for two psychiatric assessments to determine whether he has pedophilic or aberrant tendencies.

"There is nothing in the history or the examination to indicate the presence of a sexual or paraphilis disorder," wrote Dr. Stanley Yaren, the province's chief forensic psychiatrist, after interviewing the father.

"He seemed to understand the appropriate boundaries," said psychiatrist Dr. Gail Robertson.

Parents group vindicated after MD's rebuke

The Parents helping Parents group said yesterday it feels vindicated after the head of the Child Protection Centre was disciplined by the licensing body for Manitoba doctors.

The group had helped a Winnipeg father press for an inquiry into a CPC assessment that his four-year-old daughter showed evidence of sexual abuse.

"Now that this case recognizes the flawed process of sexual abuse investigations at CPC, I believe this will be a gateway for other parents to bring their cases forward as showing significant problems," group president Louise Malenfant said yesterday.

She was referring to a letter from the college to Dr. Charles Ferguson, the head of the centre.

The letter said his examination of the child had been "below an acceptable standard."

Earlier, the college's complaints committee had rejected the complaint against Ferguson.

Dr. William Pope, the college's assistant registrar, said the committee's original assessment of the case was bases on information available to it at the time.

Other material has since been brought forward, leading the college,s investigation chairman, Dr. Claude Murphy to reverse that assessment, Pope said.

He refused the contents of the material, citing confidentiality under the Medical Act.

"The committee does what it can do under the circumstances," said Pope, adding he sees no reason to change the process.

The father, who swears he was falsely accused, said he will also use the college's letter to sue Ferguson for negligence, a suit that could be launched as early as today.

The father's lawyer, Victor Bargen, said they plan to sue Ferguson for damages, including monetary compensation.

"There's incredible damage done to a child by a misdiagnosis like this," Bargen said.

The girl has been receiving sexual abuse therapy from child and family services, he said.

"It's been an absolute nightmare," said the father, who can't be identified in order to protect the child's identity. "There is not an aspect of my life that hasn't been absolutely shattered.

"I don't know who my friends are. I don't know who believes me and who doesn't believe me."

He hopes the college's criticism of Ferguson's assessment will help him obtain visitation rights. He hasn't seen his four-year-old daughter in three years.

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Posted 2001 02 13

Parents Helping Parents

Louise Malenfant

malenfant.jpg (2818 bytes)

Family Advocate, Parents Helping Parents

Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Louise Malenfant passed away in 2006.  She is being missed.


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