When she heard that her doctor had been charged with sexually assaulting and secretly recording videos of patients, the woman could not believe it.
Until Ottawa police asked her to watch a video that Dr. Vincent Nadon had recorded of her medical examination at a University of Ottawa Health Services clinic.
“I felt like I lost a part of trust in humanity,” said the woman, capturing the sentiment of a dozen others who gave victim-impact statements when the Chelsea doctor pleaded guilty on Wednesday.
Nadon used an iPhone to record patients during doctor’s visits that included pap tests, breast exams and confidential conversations. Sometimes he moved their clothes around the exam room to make sure the women were in full view of the camera while they put their clothes back on.
The recordings also captured sexual assaults Nadon committed on some of the women, such as putting his ungloved finger into their vaginas during pap tests and groping their breasts.
Nadon’s crimes were uncovered in January 2018 when a patient noticed an iPhone partly hidden in a cupboard recording her. Police seized 42 videos on a computer hard-drive at Nadon’s home. They also retrieved a hard drive that Nadon had disposed of in a dumpster, but it had been smashed and nothing was recovered from it.
As the investigation widened, other victims came forward who had been sexually assaulted by the doctor.
Nadon was sentenced to eight years for his crimes against 49 women spanning 28 years.
The sentence for his victims continues as they cope with the betrayal by their trusted doctor and wonder whether there are videos out there somewhere of their most vulnerable moments.
Some of Nadon’s victims spoke out or had statements read on their behalf in court. These are some of their stories, in their own words:
‘I wanted to be sick’
Throughout all the years I had Dr. Nadon, I always felt I could trust him and that he was an exceptionally caring and sensitive doctor. I never once questioned his judgment, and I had a hard time believing it could be true. …
Then one day I received a call to come into the police station and I was shown a video, and I saw myself there naked and exposed. I knew by the way my body looked in the video that I was pregnant with my son. I wanted to be sick.
And since that day I could never be sure if these videos were ever shared or shown to anyone else. Since that day, I have not been able to return to a doctor’s office or had a doctor’s appointment with any other doctor.
Since that day I’ve not been able to comfortably get dressed and undressed in front of my own husband.
I hide in the closet and I don’t like the feeling of someone seeing me exposed without my permission. This isn’t how my relationship should be with my life partner, and it’s this part that I hate the most — that the comfort and safety I should feel in my own home with the person I love the most is (gone).
‘One word stands out: ashamed’
Powerless, emotional, embarrassed, betrayed, angry and violated. These are just a few words that first come to mind when I think about what has happened to me. But one word stands out above the rest, and that word is ashamed.
It’s a word that’s not fair or justified. It’s a word that Dr. Nadon has caused me to have to live with, to have to wonder what I did to deserve this and wonder how I could possibly know what was going on. It’s the word that pops into my mind when I try to talk about what has occurred to me and the same word that stops me from being able to deal with it.
As a doctor, you took an oath, an oath to maintain confidentiality, an oath to do no harm. You recklessly abused that oath and abused your position of power and trust, and selfishly took advantage of me in a place where privacy and discretion in my best interest were supposed to be my right. I’m now left scarred and skeptical of the system that was meant to protect me.
I haven’t been able to face going back to the doctor for anything, let alone a physical, since discovering that there are images of me naked and vulnerable out there. I no longer have faith my privacy will be respected, even though that’s my right.
I do not try on clothes in store change rooms for fear that there are hidden cameras and someone is watching me. I live in fear that someday someone I know will call or message me and tell me, “Hey, I saw a video that looked exactly like you on the Internet, naked.”
… In malls, I see you, Dr. Nadon, in every middle-aged man around your height with grey hair and my heart stops and my stomach plummets for those few seconds before my rational brain kicks in and tells me, “Its OK, it’s not you.”
You’ve turned things as simple as being in public and going to work into anxiety-ridden challenges.
‘My pregnancy was tainted by his actions’
I felt sick, violated and angry. Upon leaving the (police station after viewing the video) I began to question my whole health history. Did I even have a normal exam in the past or was this just an excuse to give me a physical?
I found out from my current doctor a few weeks ago that I did, in fact, receive a lot more physicals than I should have. I’ve had more psychological damage because I don’t even know if I had a cancer scare or if he just wanted to see me more often.
I keep thinking what has been uncovered is likely just the tip of the iceberg for this sick man.
I was two months pregnant when I last visited him. Upon hearing of his dismissal, I was not only left with no doctor, but I was also left with the stress of having his name associated with all my pregnancy appointments. Every time I (went) for blood work, it was sent to Dr. Nadon and I had to figure out a way to make sure somebody saw my file.
Pregnancy is supposed to be this beautiful time in your life, and mine was tainted by his actions.
I spent my pregnancy dealing with all these emotions and stress instead of being able to focus on what I should have, the baby.
I’ve been to several therapy sessions that continue until I can work through it. He’s made me feel anger, embarrassment, shame and betrayal. I trusted him. I trusted him for 15 years.
‘Ranting about men and the possibility of people filming everywhere’
As much as I would love to read this statement aloud in court today, I just can’t. I’m not strong enough and I’m too vulnerable. …
I remember (Nadon) commenting on my looks many times over the years, such as telling me I look like a model. I also remember leaving doctor’s appointments wondering why it felt sexual versus professional. I thought it was in my mind. Now I know my feelings are valid.
This is a form of mental abuse that could be very longstanding. I started seeing you at around 18 years old, this is all I pretty much knew of a doctor.
After finding out about what you had done, I began to realize this event has affected my ability to connect and trust in men. I used to be bubbly, relaxed, easy to connect with, and at ease with my contact with men. After, I would walk through my life feeling very suspicious and questioning the intent of men, where before I would assume things were fine.
For months, I would get angry with men who were looking at me, particularly for a few moments longer than I thought they should. I know not everyone is looking at me in that way. But it’s an emotional reaction that I cannot necessarily control.
I also find myself looking for cameras everywhere and am obsessed with locking my doors. When I’m in bathrooms and change rooms, I know something isn’t quite right with my line of thinking. I find myself ranting about men and the possibility of people filming everywhere.
I wish that I can forgive you soon, because I don’t have any other option but to move on with my life, knowing that I am now part of a statistic.
‘I trusted him with my kids’
He was my trusted doctor for 16 years. I held him in very high regard, was fond of him and trusted him with my kids. He is therefore entwined in 16 years of memories, some of my most important life experiences, due to the physical and emotional health challenges that came with them.
He videotaped me without my consent during a physical exam, one of the most emotional and physically exposed situations a person can be in. Not only that, while I was being videotaped, we were discussing a very personal and emotional health issue that I had come to him for help with. I could not have been more vulnerable.
To see that conversation, in that context, 10 years later, was a punch in the gut. A show of utter disrespect and disregard for me as a person, let alone as a patient.
(Now I have) a fear reaction every time I see someone roughly of his physical description out of the corner of my eye, adrenalin and pit of the stomach freezing, catching my breath.
(And) the stress and responsibility of having to protect my kids from this story, the real story about why Dr. Nadon is not our doctor anymore, so that they’re not afraid of doctors.”
All this to say, Dr. Nadon’s actions have caused me emotional harm, and some imprint of his actions will stay with me and my family forever.”
‘For months I’ve been struggling to sleep at night’
“I have suffered with mental health in the last couple of years … it has caused a huge setback in my mental health and the progress I was beginning to make.
For months now, I’ve been struggling to stay asleep at night. My mind begins to wander and I go over it all in my head, my visits with Dr. Nadon.
How did I not notice the camera? How did I not notice his odd behaviour? How did I let myself trust him so much? How did I not see the type of person he was?
Second-guessing a doctor was something I had never considered. I mean, if you can’t trust your doctor, then who can you trust?
Statements have been condensed for length
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