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Youth
 
Nova Scotia Judge Says 'Medical' Masturbation of Teens Not Sexual Assault
Preliminary hearing dismisses charges against family physician
ONLINE:   MONDAY MARCH 6, 3:43 PM EST (GMT-5).

A Nova Scotia doctor has had charges of sexual assault dismissed in a situation which the judge viewed as simply 'misguided', the Canadian Press reported today.

Dr. William H. Michael Christie, a family physician in rural Sheet Harbour, Nova Scotia, had been charged in connection with repeated incidents where two teenage boys were brought to orgasm by the doctor during after-hours appointments in 1997 and 1998.

The boys testified during the preliminary hearing on February 22nd in Halifax that they had thought it was part of their medical treatment.

Although a physician for the Crown told the court that masturbation in a doctor's presence is not an accepted medical procedure, as did the head of family medicine at Dalhousie University in Halifax, the judge ruled that the absence of intent on the part of the doctor, who did not deny the incidents, precluded criminal charges.

"If Dr. Christie conducted this examination for medical purposes, regardless of whether it conformed in every respect with the procedures and protocol, then it is not an assault and it is certainly not a sexual assault," Provincial Court Judge John MacDougall reportedly said.

The Nova Scotia College of Physicians and Surgeons is now conducting its own investigation.  Dr. Christie has agreed to not see any patients under the age of 19 without a chaperone present until that self-regulating medical body completes its investigation.

The Crown Attorney was reported as saying he will review the ruling and consider an application to have it quashed.