Depression, anxiety and distrust in the medical system are some of the life-changing affects described by sexual assault victims of a retired Calgary neurologist at his sentencing hearing.

Keith Hoyte, 72, pleaded guilty in January to assaulting 28 female patients over three decades and was sentenced to three years in federal penitentiary.

“This old man used me for his own sexual gratification then billed the province for it,” one victim said.

Court heard impact statements from 20 of the women. All of the victim’s identities are protected by a publication ban.

According to an agreed statement of facts, patients seeking treatment for issues such as migraines were asked to remove clothing, then Hoyte fondled their breasts and pricked them with pins.

Crown prosecutor Rose Greenwood and Defence Alain Hepner provided a joint sentence recommendation of three years. Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Jim Eamon eventually decided to accept the joint submission.

Undermining psychological well-being

Justice Eamon outlined how Hoyte is responsible for undermining and destroying the psychological well-being of 28 women as well as their trust in medical professionals.

“You took trust, self-respect and confidence away from me,” said one victim.

Many of the victims said fear and anxiety due to the sexual assaults led them to avoid or cancel other appointments important to their health.

“I have no trust in medical people (who) I need in my life,” said one woman.

“A hospital should be a safe place,” said another.

Several victims said Hoyte does not deserve the title doctor since he broke the Hippocratic oath by choosing to do patients harm, and using his position and his victims’ vulnerability to do so.

“You wore the armour of ‘the specialist’ you knew how much power you had and what you could get away with,” said one victim.

Several women described fear that it was a doctor’s word against theirs and shame which kept them silent for years.

Hoyte was first accused in the 1990s. It wasn’t until two others came forward that he was eventually charged following an investigation in 2018. Media reports led to dozens of other women also coming forward.

“You do feel empowered when you speak out about it,” said one victim outside court.

She said she will be focussing on her own future rather than the sentence.

“I’m just more concerned with my mental health and moving forward from it.”

Hoyte addressed his victims saying he is sorry and wishes he has the power to heal their pain.