Toronto patient surgeon’s arrest follows alleged picture crime

Image copyright Oliver Aucoin Image caption Police identified a suspect who gave his name as Keith Vazzano A former Toronto patient and surgeon, who helped bring free breast reconstruction surgery to the city, has…

Toronto patient surgeon's arrest follows alleged picture crime

Image copyright Oliver Aucoin Image caption Police identified a suspect who gave his name as Keith Vazzano

A former Toronto patient and surgeon, who helped bring free breast reconstruction surgery to the city, has been arrested in connection with an investigation into sexual assault.

Dr Alexander Muszynski and others are accused of taking photos of patients without their knowledge and making them available online.

Police believe that the pictures might have been distributed internationally.

Dr Muszynski, 62, has been released from custody, and an appeal is being made for anyone with information to come forward.

Dr Muszynski was arrested late on Monday and was due to appear at the Old City Hall courthouse in Toronto on Tuesday afternoon, police said.

‘Very troubled’

Dr Muszynski, who specialises in breast reconstruction and plastic surgery, is the owner of the Toronto Centre for Breast Reconstruction.

More than 30,000 women have had breast implants in his centre, some of which were donated by women.

He was pictured in the Toronto Star newspaper last year standing next to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and in early 2014 was photographed at Toronto’s Maple Leaf Hockey Club.

In the video Dr Muszynski recorded to herald the early days of free breast reconstruction, he listed their mission as “saving lives”.

“What I’m doing is fixing people’s lives,” he said.

Acting Police Chief Peter Yuen said police were focusing their investigation in Toronto but it did not affect women across the country.

Chief Yuen described the case as a “very troubling set of charges”.

Police have identified Dr Muszynski’s alleged accomplices – a woman and a man – as Keith Vazzano and Matthew Levin, but they have not been charged.

Levin lives in Jerusalem. The woman – who was said to be working for Dr Muszynski at the time of the alleged offences – does not appear to be in the United States.

Police said they believe all three were present at a breast reconstruction centre where patients gave consent to have their images taken.

They add that the women were also subsequently invited to a private address in the City of Toronto to view and take photos of their reconstructed breasts.

Those pictures were, said police, then taken by Dr Muszynski and posted on his various websites and social media pages.

In its statement on Tuesday, Dr Muszynski’s centre said he was “deeply troubled” by the allegations.

“As an ER physician for many years, Dr Muszynski has and will continue to practice as a physician,” it said.

“Beyond that, he will focus on an internal investigation and defence of these claims.”

Image copyright Oliver Aucoin Image caption Police want anyone with information to contact the non-emergency number 416-808-5368

More charges

Earlier, police confirmed that three more charges have been brought against the trio, including making the images available online.

The possibility of a wider investigation into other breast reconstruction centres was raised.

“Certainly if other people are in a similar situation then we are certainly going to work with the police to identify those people and put those people before the courts,” York Regional Police chief Bryce Evans told reporters.

“All those who are being alleged to have taken these pictures, if they are in fact in a position of trust, they can step forward.”

The three men arrested in connection with the case appeared briefly in a Toronto court on Tuesday.

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