Acupuncturist accused of sexually assaulting 25 patients
Ryan Flanagan, CTV Kitchener
Published Thursday, April 12, 2018 8:43AM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, April 12, 2018 6:01PM EDT
A longtime practitioner of acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine in the Guelph area is accused of sexually assaulting more than two dozen of his patients.
Sherman Lai, 58, was first arrested last October. Since then, Guelph police say they’ve been steadily hearing from more people who believe they were sexually assaulted by Lai.
Police believe they’ve identified a total of 25 victims. Four more were added to the list this week. While most of the charges Lai is facing relate to sexual assault, he is also accused of assault with a weapon and uttering death threats in some of the cases.
“It is alleged that these victims are all former patients of the accused,” Const. Chris Probst said Thursday.
“We’re asking anybody that knows about this type of incident … to come forward so we can get a total picture of what exactly has been going on.”
According to police, Lai practiced out of the Centre of Integrative Natural Medicine in Morriston. The clinic moved there from Guelph in 2012, and police say Lai worked at the Guelph location for about 20 years. The clinic remains open without Lai.
Lai’s industry is regulated in Ontario by the College of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture. According to the college’s website, Lai was suspended from practicing last December.
Probst says some of Lai’s alleged victims have been hesitant to speak up because they believe they were attacked long enough ago that they have run up against the statute of limitations. Those concerns are unfounded, as the statute of limitations is an American concept which does not apply in Canada.
With reporting by Nicole Lampa