KITCHENER -- Jeffrey Sloka, the former neurologist who is facing 69 sexual assault charges, was granted bail last Friday.

The release order states a number of restrictions he must follow, including the requirement that he remain at his residence.

Sloka must also return to court at the beginning of June.

Sara Casselman, who works at the Sexual Assault Support Centre of Waterloo Region, was stunned by the decision.

“Finding out he was released was shocking because we know there are 69 charges involving 69 women in our community, and there’s another 22 investigations underway.”

Sloka’s charges stem from a time when he worked as a neurologist in Kitchener.

So far none of the allegations against him have been proven in court though he has already lost his licence to practice as a doctor after a hearing was held by the Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons

Sloka has previously been denied bail.

Criminal Defence Lawyer Ari Goldkind, who is not involved in the case, says a number of lawyers are now holding emergency bail hearings.

“Crown attorneys, judges, justices of the peace and defence lawyers are working very hard to try and sort of cull the number of people in the jails who could be exposed to COVID-19.”

Casselman says she has concerns.

“This is one of the largest sexual assault investigations in Canadian history. I know they are looking to release non-violent offenders and it’s very concerning to me if those charged with sexual assault are considered non-violent.”

“He’s not a risk to the public,” says Goldkind. “Not matter what anybody says, the allegations took place while he was a doctor. He no longer is so there can be no realistic suggestion there is the potential for a new victim now.”

Casselman says anyone who is struggling with the news should seek help.

“Our 24 hour support line is there in the middle of the night if someone needs support.”

The Sexual Assault Support Centre of Waterloo Region is also offering remote video counselling services and online groups.