Al Jazeera: Family dentist to reopen after three-week delay

A family dentist who is accused of sexually abusing patients in a remote rural community in Alberta says he will reopen after his three-year-long suspension has expired.

The family dentist, who is not identified in the media, is accused by the RCMP of sexually assaulting four patients in the town of Estero in Alberta’s northernmost province.

He is also accused of molesting a third patient and sexually assaulting a fourth.

The allegations stem from a complaint lodged with the Alberta Health Services, which has since been closed, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley said on Tuesday.

“It was my understanding from the outset that the charges had been laid and that the investigation had been concluded,” she told reporters.

“But as I read the news on Tuesday, I thought it was time to look at the charges and look at what the charges actually are and to see if the allegations are true.”

Notley said she was aware of the allegations, but did not want to comment on the specifics of the case until the charges were officially laid.

“What I would say is that it’s an allegation that we all have to take seriously, but I want to make it absolutely clear that this investigation was conducted appropriately,” she said.

“We have to ensure that this kind of behaviour does not happen again.”

The province’s health minister, Shannon Phillips, has also told reporters that the ministry has completed its investigation.

The case against the dentist was laid in August last year and was closed by the Crown in February.

The Crown dropped the charges last month, after the RCMP and the Alberta Attorney General’s Office opened their own investigations.

Alberta’s Health Services said in a statement that the decision to close the case was taken because of the “substantial risk to public safety and the public’s trust”.

“As a result of the investigation, we have closed the case,” it said.