Sudbury court: Psychiatrist with no licence admits to sexually assaulting patient
By Harold Carmichael
February 18, 2020
A Sudbury man who was practising psychiatry even though he was not registered to do so pleaded guilty to sexual assault following a relationship with a female patient.
Allan Seltzer, 69, was scheduled to start a four-day Superior Court of Justice trial Tuesday on one sexual assault and three fraud charges arising from incidents in 2016.
Instead, he pleaded guilty to the sexual assault charge.
Since the court ordered a pre-sentence report, Seltzer, who acted as his own lawyer, will be sentenced April 9. He is out on bail.
The court heard Seltzer developed an inappropriate relationship with a female patient that became sexual and resulted in sexual touching and fellatio in two separate incidents in his office.
In July of 2016, Seltzer pleaded guilty to fraud under $5,000 and dispensing a controlled substance contrary to the Regulated Health Professionals Act of Ontario.
In addition to a $1,000 fine, he was put on one year of probation.
Court heard Seltzer was not registered with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario to practise psychiatry.
Seltzer’s probation order had three conditions: that he does not present himself in any way as a registered psychiatrist unless authorized by the Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons; that he not provide any type of service, therapy or counseling to anyone for money; and that he not dispense medication.
The Crown and defence lawyer Stephanie Baker suggested the penalties.
As a result of the two guilty pleas, the Crown dropped other charges against Seltzer. Seltzer had no prior record.
The court heard Seltzer was offering counselling and psychiatric sessions out of his Greater Sudbury apartment, charging patients about $100 for 90 minutes of his time. He was also prescribing medication. Both were things he was not allowed to do after not re-registering with the college after being out of Canada for some time.
Greater Sudbury Drug Enforcement Unit and Tactical Unit members executed a search warrant at Seltzer’s apartment in early 2016, seizing a variety of materials including two envelopes containing cash, patient records and receipts.
Seltzer was charged with fraud under $5,000, possessing property obtained by crime, drug trafficking and not being authorized to call himself a registered psychiatrist.
The court heard that in November, Greater Sudbury Police became aware Seltzer was representing himself as a general psychiatrist with 38 years of experience, marketing his services through a website, and charging $80-$100 for a 90-minute appointment.
The college was contacted and it determined Seltzer was not licensed nor authorized to provide medication in the province, although he had been licensed at one time.
The college then hired a female investigator who, in an undercover capacity, booked an appointment with Seltzer as a patient.
The investigator met with Seltzer Jan. 19, was charged $100 for her 90-minute appointment, and was also given 12.5-milligram tablets of a drug used to treat anxiety and sleep issues.
“He represented himself as a fully practising psychiatrist,” said assistant Crown attorney Ivana Denisov. “By using this guise to attract patients and charge them for services, he was clearly committing the crime of fraud under ($5,000).”
When Greater Sudbury Police officers executed the search warrant at Seltzer’s apartment, Seltzer was taken to Health Sciences North out of a concern for his mental health. He was later charged and got bail.
Baker told the court Seltzer had been a licensed psychiatrist in Canada for a long time, left the country to work in other jurisdictions, but did not re-register with the college when he came back to Ontario.
Seltzer has worked in the Northwest Territories, Saskatchewan, Quebec and Ontario, central Kansas, and in northern Belize.