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Paris social worker accused of sexual abuse

A woman writes on a notepad in this stock image. (SHVETS production/Pexels.com) A woman writes on a notepad in this stock image. (SHVETS production/Pexels.com)
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A Paris social worker has been accused of sexual abuse, boundary violations, and professional misconduct by the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers.

In a notice of hearing posted to the regulatory body’s website, Laura Dowler is accused of various offences involving at least three clients while she was working at Grand River Counselling.

One alleged incident involves a client Dowler was working with between June 2019 and September 2022. The notice of hearing claims she engaged in sexual touching and made inappropriate remarks of a sexual nature.

The notice also accuses Dowler of going to the client’s home and refusing to leave when asked.

The second alleged incident involves a client Dowler was working with between February 2020 and November of 2020. The notice claims she also engaged in sexual touching and behaviour with that client, and was involved in a sexual relationship with the client from the fall of 2020 until the winter of 2021.

In a third alleged incident involving another client, Dowler is accused of engaging in boundary violating behaviours including exchanging text messages and accepting gifts from a client she began counselling in 2019.

She is accused of:

  •  failing to ensure clients are protected from an abuse of power
  • engaging in a professional relationship that constitutes a conflict of interest
  • engaging in sexual relations with clients
  • failing to cooperate fully with all policies and procedures of the Complaints, Discipline and Fitness to Practise Committees
  • soliciting or using information from clients to acquire advantage or material benefits (directly or indirectly)
  • failing to ensure she did not use a position of authority to coerce, improperly influence, harass, abuse, or exploit a client
  • engaging in conduct that could reasonably be perceived as reflecting negatively on the profession of social work

The Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers received the allegations on April 20, 2024. A hearing date has not yet been set.

None of these claims have been tested or proven by the disciplinary committee. The upcoming hearing is not a criminal proceeding.

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