Tuesday saw Jeffrey Sloka, a previous neurologist hailing from Kitchener, commence responding to inquiries from the Crown, amid ongoing allegations of sexual assault. The former medical professional faces a daunting 50 charges of sexual assault, with incidents purportedly occurring at his private office within the Kaufman Building, adjacent to the Grand River Hospital. The timeline of supposed assaults span from January 2010 until July 2017.
Previous sessions of the trial delved into accusations of Sloka allegedly requesting various female patients, including minors, to disrobe for skin and physical examinations. Furthermore, accusations suggest inappropriate contact was made with these patients’ breasts and genitals.
Following a three-week period in which the defence were posed questions relating to every charge directed at Sloka, Crown attorney Sidney McLean embarked on the process of cross-examination on Tuesday. McLean initially questioned Sloka on the diagnostic procedure for Neurofibromatosis Type 1, a genetic disorder known to potentially cause seizures. The court was informed about a set of criteria essential for diagnosing a patient, indicating a need for the patient to exhibit at least two of those listed criteria for a potential diagnosis.
Amongst these criteria, as highlighted by Sloka, are a number of skin abnormalities which could be discovered via a skin examination. McLean broached the topic of a particular patient who alleged she was asked by Sloka to fully disrobe for a skin examination, both standing and lying down on a table. Sloka justified such examinations due to the higher frequency of “skin criteria” compared to other elements on the list.
McLean drew attention to former expert witness testimony stating genetic testing was a more accurate method for identifying this disorder. Responding, Sloka conceded his initial preference for clinical exams, including skin inspections, previously considered superior to genetic tests, had indeed altered towards the latter by 2015. “At some point, I moved to genetic testing rather than examining patients, but I’m not certain when I became clear on the accuracy of testing. However, this became my approach,” Sloka stated.
The Tuesday afternoon session saw McLean interrogate Sloka concerning his protocol for use of medical gowns during neurology examinations. Sloka was unable to recall specific instances of his patients wearing gowns, though he did concur with a previously heard expert testimony stipulating that for an initial assessment, a patient should strip to their underwear, donning a gown which opens at the back – prioritizing patient privacy and exam facilitation.
Upon being questioned if a front-opening gown would be inappropriate, Sloka agreed, but pointed out potential variations within practices by other doctors, especially during cardiac or breast examinations. “That’s just not the way I did it,” he affirmed. When pressed about the possible variety of gowns available at Grand River Hospital, Sloka unyieldingly recalled only a single style of gown – one which tied at the back.
Following a brief confusion around a projected image of a differently designed gown, Sloka addressed further queries concerning the removal of underwear during examinations. He stated that a full undressing was not required for a neurological examination unless under his direct instruction. When asked if it was feasible a patient may have chosen to remove their underwear, he reluctantly conceded the remote possibility.
The cross-examination is slated to resume on Wednesday.