Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Letters shed light on ex-chiropractor's past

Female patients accused man of exploiting them

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A Manitoba man facing fraud charges for pretending to be a medical doctor was the subject of complaints during his former career as a chiropractor, the Free Press has learned.

Leslie Henry Colmer came under scrutiny from the Manitoba Chiropractors Association (MCA) in the late 1990s through the early 2000s after two female patients formally complained he'd initiated sexual relationships and took financial advantage of them.

Chiropractor convicted of crimes

A former Winnipeg chiropractor was sent to prison Tuesday after being convicted of sexually assaulting a former girlfriend.

Court of Queen's Bench Justice Colleen Suche handed Marlin Vandermeulen a 3-1/2 year sentence for several offences, including sexual assault causing bodily harm and multiple counts of assault.

"The events underlying the convictions demonstrate that within an intimate relationship, Mr. Vandermeulen was controlling, sexually demeaning and easily moved to rage," Suche said.

Arguably the most serious crime Vandermeulen committed was a brutal sexual assault on the victim at her home on July 30, 2009.

The Crown sought a six-year sentence in total. Suche ruled Vandermeulen has already faced punishment by seeing his successful chiropractic career decimated by the convictions.

 

-- Turner

The women's complaints and efforts by the MCA to probe Colmer's professional conduct are outlined in archived Court of Queen's Bench records that became available Tuesday.

Colmer, 66, remains in custody after his arrest by Steinbach RCMP earlier this month.

He's facing 20 fraud counts and one of assault in connection to incidents Mounties believe happened between January 2003 and June 3, 2014, in Winnipeg, Steinbach, the RM of Rockwood and the town of Mitchell.

'Dr. Colmer had me doing countless errands for him, saying there is no need for payment as we are getting married' -- accusations from former female patient

RCMP allege Colmer fraudulently acted as a medical doctor, making house calls and prescribing medications, when he had no licence to do so.

The assault charge stems from a June 3 medical examination of a woman in Winnipeg, records show. He ran a pseudo-clinic out of a Winnipeg home, RCMP have said.

Colmer is presumed innocent. A bail hearing is set for June 16 in provincial court.

Colmer, first licensed as a chiropractor in Manitoba in 1975, found himself in hot water with the MCA in December 1999 after two women separately sent complaint letters to the regulator. His practice was based in Selkirk at the time.

One woman said she became Colmer's patient in September 1996 and was initially impressed with his diligent care. One month later, she alleged, they began having sexual relations at his clinic and elsewhere.

"The sexual encounters continued, in the office, while patients waited in the waiting room, over the course of three years," she stated in her letter to the MCA complaints investigator.

The woman further alleged she loaned Colmer more than $86,000 but he refused to repay it. The other complainant told the MCA she and Colmer began a sexual relationship in 1985, about two years after she became his patient. She said their relationship continued until she ended it 14 years later on Nov. 19, 1999. He "manipulated" nearly $100,000 from her over the years, she alleged.

Some of the money was used to pay his legal fees in connection to a Manitoba Public Insurance-related prosecution Colmer was facing, the woman told MCA investigators.

"Dr. Colmer had me doing countless errands for him, saying there is no need for payment as we are getting married," her letter to the MCA said. "I feel that Dr. Colmer has (violated) me as a patient and has not acted professional in his conduct."

Both women also alleged he kept or brought guns to his office and may have been under the influence of substances.

Colmer responded to their allegations in letters to the MCA on June 15, 2001. He denied any wrongdoing. In one case, he said he and the patient had a strictly platonic relationship, that she offered to help him financially and "at no time did I refuse repayment."

"I absolutely deny using any illegal drugs," he stated.

The MCA responded by ordering a professional misconduct inquiry into Colmer's conduct in April 2, 2002. A few weeks before that, the MCA moved to suspend his licence pending the results of that process. Colmer fought the suspension in court.

Ultimately, a judge ruled Colmer could continue to practise under certain conditions, including that he hire a female attendant to monitor his treatments at all times.

The Free Press reported in 2004 Colmer had his licence revoked for two years for professional misconduct. MCA president Dr. Bill Mulhall said last week Colmer has not been licensed in Manitoba since he was suspended from practice in 2003.

james.turner@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 11, 2014 A5

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