A Story Can Look Very Different When You Add in Some More Facts

Karin Kerfoot
6 min readFeb 1, 2020

I am a physician, specifically a psychiatrist. I’m also a woman, mother, wife, and friend. I say this to remind you that I am a real, complete person and not just a cautionary byline, nor a character in someone else’s narrative. I have good reason to fear that some may have lost sight of this because, this week, I made the news when the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario revoked my medical license because they accused me of sexually abusing a patient.

For reasons that I will explain in another post, I made the very difficult decision not to defend myself against the College’s accusations at a formal hearing. This was a heart-wrenching decision to make and I hope that you will take the time to read about why I felt I had no real choice but to give up. In this post, though, I want to tell you the facts of my case that you didn’t hear from the College or their lawyer. I suspect that this new information will change what you think happened in my story.

On the day that my license was revoked, the College’s lawyer read out a Statement of Uncontested Facts. Yet the only facts recited by their lawyer were those that could be used to support the College’s very specific and misleading narrative. Many indisputable facts found in medical records, court records, and their own investigation were left out. Given little to work with, you were left to invent some storyline to make sense of the facts presented. Maybe you accepted their innuendo that I pursued a vulnerable patient for my own purposes. Perhaps you thought it more likely that we simply had an inappropriate affair. There were certainly no clues that could lead you to suspect that the true story is very different; that the patient was the abuser and I the victim.

While nothing in the Statement of Uncontested Facts was false in the strictest sense, it didn’t come anywhere close to telling the whole truth. If all you know about my case is what came from the College’s lawyer, there is no way you can know what really happened.

Here are some critical details that were left out:

The College’s lawyer stated that the man who accused me of having an inappropriate relationship with him was my patient and that this relationship was especially “abhorrent” because of his medical history.

While I will not comment on this man’s medical history for reasons of patient confidentiality, I will say that while it is true that he started out as my patient, the whole truth is that he became my abuser, tormentor, and rapist. He is a serial predator whose method is to target vulnerable teenagers and women, and unfortunately I was in a very vulnerable place in my life at the time that I met him. He entrapped me in a year-long nightmare of threats, extortion, physical violence, and rape. He claimed to be a member of the Hell’s Angels and threatened violent retribution against me and my family if I didn’t meet all his demands.

Facts excluded by the College and their lawyer:

· This man has a lengthy criminal record, including convictions for violent and weapons-related crimes.

· He was recently declared a registered sex offender for life after being convicted of sexual crimes against a teenage girl.

· After spending a year and a half in jail (this occurred during the College’s investigation of me), he was released under maximum probation conditions intended to protect the public from his further predation.

· Female psychiatric patients have described the abuse they suffered at his hands, including coercion, theft of their money and jewellery, threats towards them and their loved ones, being forced into selling drugs, physical violence, and rape.

The College’s lawyer stated that we had a “sexual relationship”.

While this is technically true, the whole truth is that at no time was it consensual. I never wanted to be in a relationship with that man. I did make the unprofessional decision to agree to meet him and a group of others for an evening out. This was at a time in my life that my own mental health wasn’t good, and I wasn’t taking sufficient care of myself. He had spent months grooming and baiting me before I fell for his trap. That night, when I arrived expecting to find a group, it was only him. He became controlling and, once I was cornered, I was too scared to try to leave. Out of fear for my safety, I did everything he wanted. For the following year that I spent under his control, all sexual acts occurred in a context of fear, coercion, and physical threats.

Facts excluded by the College and their lawyer:

· My experiences with this man — that I detailed to both the police and in multiple letters to the College — are very similar to those of multiple other women who have described their own experiences with him to health professionals and the police.

The College’s lawyer stated that he and I exchanged inappropriate electronic communications, including texts/messages and pictures.

While this is true, the whole truth is that those texts and messages were one of his main weapons of control. When not in his presence, I was expected to be constantly available, agreeable, and affectionate through text and a messaging app. He would send instructions that I was meant to obey, usually accompanied by implied threats. I lived in terror of my phone, never knowing what he would demand next. I deleted each of his texts and messages immediately after responding to them.

Facts excluded by the College and their lawyer:

· In his phone, he assigned me the name “Clairesse S” in reference to the young woman FBI agent in Silence of the Lambs that Hannibal Lecter terrorized and ultimately controlled.

· Despite claiming that he would provide all the texts and messages between he and I to the College, he only provided messages from the last three weeks of our communication. During this time, I was trying to keep him especially content while I secretly planned my escape from him.

· The messages that he provided excluded anything that would incriminate him or demonstrate his demands and fear-inducing tactics. The College was unable to recover any other messages or texts exchanged between us from his phone.

The College’s lawyer stated that I was “dishonest with the College and with the hospital.”

While this is true, the whole truth is that I initially denied his allegations (that we had a consensual affair) for several reasons. Like many trauma victims, I felt deeply ashamed that I had been abused and raped. I also felt very afraid, because he had threatened to do even more terrible things to me if I ever told someone the truth about what he had done. I didn’t trust anyone — especially not the College — to protect me. One of the things he had threatened to do was to destroy me by exposing me, and I interpreted the College’s accusations as another one of his attacks. I had finally decided to stand up for myself and not let him abuse me anymore, and I denied his accusations as a way to defend myself from this attack.

Facts excluded by the College and their lawyer:

· While I did initially deny a relationship with him, when I did disclose what I experienced to the College, I described how I had been manipulated, threatened, extorted, hit, raped, and terrorized.

· The College responded to this disclosure by repeatedly calling me “deceptive” and effectively dismissed my account of what happened to me.

The College’s lawyer stated that I “betrayed the profession, members of the public, and [my] patient” and that “the emotional distress of the patient was entirely foreseeable.”

While I was trapped in that abusive relationship, my tormentor repeatedly threatened to destroy me if I ever “betrayed” him by escaping from his control. I guess in a way the College’s lawyer was right — I did betray him. I stood up to him to protect another woman, as well as (finally) myself. Our abuser was indeed angry and distressed to lose two of his victims.

The profession of evidence-based medicine calls for all relevant facts to be considered when deciding the appropriate way to treat a person. The College is the licensing body for medicine in Ontario. Now that you have some more facts to fill in the rest of the story, you can decide for yourself where the rest of the betrayals lie.

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Karin Kerfoot

Psychiatrist turned yogini, writer & educator. Survivor of sexual violence & systemic injustice. I write about gender-based violence & medical regulation.