The London Free Press
Former doctor Stanley Dobrowolski, sentenced for sex crimes, denied parole because he’s too great a public risk
By Jane Sims
July 23, 2016
The 69-year-old former London psychiatrist, serving a four-year sentence for sex crimes, has been denied parole after he was deemed too much of a public risk and showed too little insight into his sex crimes.
A longtime former staff psychiatrist for students at Western University, Dobrowolski was sentenced in 2014 after pleading guilty to 18 charges — 16 counts of sexual assault, one of voyeurism and one of disobeying a court order — covering repeated sexual assaults of women patients in his private practice.
For decades, he told the women who came to him for psychiatric help that he needed to check their breasts and vaginas for cancer.
Some were secretly photographed and videotaped in the office he kept in his Old North home in London.
Judging from the four-page decision this month of the National Parole Board, and despite his participation in some jail treatment programs, it appears Dobrowolski has a lot to learn.
His case management team wasn’t supportive of his release plan and “believes you (Dobrowolski) need to gain increased insight into your offence cycle and grooming behaviour, reflect on minimizing and justifying your offending and gain further victim empathy.”
Red-flagged by the board was an incident involving an institutional parole officer.
“Of concern, of course, is the information provided by your (officer) in that you clearly had crossed a significant boundary by asking her when her last breast exam was,” the board reported.
Dobrowolski was also “inappropriately aggressive” in discussing his case and her reasons for not supporting his release.
“It is also alarming to the board that you would raise your voice or become verbally aggressive (or rude and challenging) when you knew you were having a parole hearing.”
The report said Dobrowolski “minimized his behaviour” when asked at his hearing to address the board’s concerns.
The former psychiatrist has a history of dodging responsibility for his abuses over a long career until his convictions in 2014.
The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, which polices the province’s doctors, finally yanked Dobrowolski’s medical licence last fall, 23 years after his first victim made a first complaint to the regulatory college of inappropriate touching when he was a staff psychiatrist at Western’s student health services, a job he held for a decade until he left in 1995.
The college sanctioned Dobrowolski in 1995, 1999 and 2004. He had his medical licence temporarily suspended and was under orders not to perform physical exams of patients.
Once the police investigation started after complaints of unnecessary physical exams, 10,000 secret photos were discovered of patients in various stages of undress.
In January, a woman launched a lawsuit for abuse she said she endured as a Western student in 1986.
Then, in March, for the first time, Western apologized for any trauma caused by Dobrowolski when he worked there.
The parole board said Dobrowolski has been behaving with prison staff and hasn’t been charged with anything while behind bars. He’s been working on an inmate committee and has volunteered in the Alternatives to Violence, Love and Respect Boundaries and Toastmasters programs.
He’s also completed a sex offender program and took full responsibility for his actions by the end of the sessions.
Still, “the board does not believe that your risk of reoffending was mitigated in any substantial way.”
“You still struggle with acknowledging the sexual aspects of your offending or the pleasure you derived,” the report said. “Instead, you tended to minimize your actions as ‘transgressions’ or simply as violations of trust or professional boundary issues.”
The parole board said despite Dobrowolski’s “previous role as a psychiatrist,” he didn’t understand the harm he caused his victims. It noted that while half his patients were male, he never asked them if he could check their moles or private parts for cancer, putting to rest “any speculation on your part that your offending was done out of concern for the health and welfare of your patients.”
Dobrowolski, the report said, believes he’s a low risk to reoffend and preferred full parole over day parole to move home with his wife.
Because he can’t practise medicine anymore, the board said, his plan was to fill his time “with hobbies.”
One of Dobrowolski’s victims spoke at the parole hearing and the board recognized that Dobrowolski’s abuse left lifelong scars.
“This was clear today following the victim’s statement,” the board said.
It added that despite Dobrowolski’s view that the abuses coincided with the period after the death of his son, the board knew there were earlier victims.
“Your risk . . . has not been mitigated as you have failed to fully grasp or explain your behaviour to the board’s satisfaction,” the board said.