A Toronto psychiatrist who believes homosexuality is a “sexual disorder” that can be overcome through therapy had his license temporarily suspended for allegedly engaging in sexual relations with two male patients.
Dr. Melvyn Iscove, 72, was forced to face the disciplinary committee of Ontario’s College of Physicians and Surgeons after the patients filed complaints against him. He’s been accused of engaging in mutual masturbation and oral sex with two male patients on multiple occasions, and had anal intercourse with one of them during a “therapy” session, reports Toronto’s The Star.
“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,” the disciplinary committee wrote in its decision.
“[Iscove] stated that these patients only became responsive to his therapy when they were ready to fight it (i.e., the homosexuality).”
The panel also stated that it believed the men’s claims. Both patients, now in their forties, testified that they did not know each other, and yet, described similar interactions with Iscove.
According to the report, Iscove’s first victim, Patient A, was referred to him in the 1990s for depression and anxiety “associated with fears he was gay.” The man, who looked to Iscove as a father figure, testified that the doctor would ask him about fantasies involving the two of them.
One day, Iscove escalated their relationship during a therapy session by embracing the man and telling him he could touch him if he wanted. Over a series of 10 to 20 sessions, Patient A then began a sexual relationship with Iscove, where the two would engage in mutual masturbation and occasional oral sex.
Patient B, meanwhile, began seeing Iscove in the late ’80s when he turned 18, also for depression and anxiety. Patient B testified that he was encouraged to read educational material on homosexuality and discuss dreams and fantasies related to his homosexual feelings. He continued to see Iscove through 2007, when the two began a covert sexual relationship. They engaged in mutual masturbation, oral sex, and, during one visit, anal sex with a condom.
Iscove has denied the allegations against him. But in accordance with Canadian law, he had his license to practice immediately suspended after being found guilty by the panel. He will next face a penalty hearing, where the board will determine whether his license to practice will be permanently revoked.
“We’re both very disappointed with the result, obviously,” Iscove’s lawyer, Alfred Kwinter, said. “Dr. Iscove has always denied the allegations, he continues to do so, and he’s seriously considering an appeal.”
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