Manitoba doctor who sexually assaulted patients could face lengthy prison term

A Crown attorney is asking for an 18-year prison sentence for a Manitoba doctor who sexually assaulted seven female patients.

Prosecutor Renee Lagimodiere says Arcel Bissonnette breached his position of trust in egregious ways.

Bissonnette was convicted last year of sexually assaulting five patients and pleaded guilty earlier this year to the sex assaults of two others.

Court heard the assaults happened during physical exams Bissonnette conducted over a 20-year period in a region southeast of Winnipeg.

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The defence is seeking a nine-year sentence, saying Bissonnette has lost his medical licence, has abided by bail conditions and has good prospects for rehabilitation.

Some victims, whose names are protected under a publication ban, told the sentencing hearing the assaults left them with long-term anxiety and fear.

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“How can I ever trust another doctor again?” one woman said in her victim impact statement.

“I should have felt respected, but I felt violated,” said another woman, adding she froze in a panic when she later came across Bissonnette while shopping.

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