By Clayton Levine
A Toronto-area doctor who was at the centre of a growing criminal case involving patients he treated over a long period of time and a series of episodes of assaults has been arrested, police announced Saturday afternoon.
William Buckingham, 73, has been arrested and charged with 19 offences, including sexual assault, choking and forcible confinement.
Police say the investigation began last September, when a 40-year-old woman reported that she was the victim of a sexual assault while at Buckingham’s residence. It is alleged that the attack took place during the summer of 2017.
Investigators say they were able to identify a number of other victims who reported being victims of assault at Buckingham’s home, most of whom were between 14 and 20 years old at the time of the assaults.
In December, a man who appeared to be Buckingham stepped forward at a news conference to say he was gay, and that the assaults had been committed against a 15-year-old boy. The man said he was joining the criminal case but declined to say what he knew about Buckingham’s past.
It was during that January news conference that another man spoke, appearing to confirm that he had been assaulted. Police at the time described the man as a close friend of Buckingham’s, who was away on vacation when the alleged assaults occurred.
In another development this week, police said that a woman had been sexually assaulted while at Buckingham’s home. They said they were awaiting forensic results from test kits.
That woman told reporters at the time that she went with the teenager to Buckingham’s home to talk with him. She said they began the session by spending time together, but that he pulled her into a bedroom and pinned her down.
“He pressed down on my neck so I couldn’t breathe,” she said. “He made me lie down on the floor and he continued to sexually assault me.”
The teen was not identified by police. Buckingham has not been charged in that case.
Toronto police have identified 20 other alleged victims, most of whom were students of Buckingham’s, who were between 14 and 20 years old at the time of the assaults.
The allegations against Buckingham remain under investigation. At the request of Buckingham’s lawyer, police have declined to comment.
Buckingham has been an associate physician at Kennedy’s Clinic in Elgin, where he worked since 2002.