Beaverton optometrist has license suspended for four months after pleading guilty to misconduct

A Beaverton optometrist has lost his license to practice for four months after he was found guilty of misconduct, which included sexually abusing three patients who were also his employees.

Dr. Jon Barnes, who also runs a practice in Stouffville, admitted to a litany of the allegations against him, as the hearing commenced in Toronto on March 22.

As it resumed Thursday (April 19), the disciplinary panel of the College of Optometrists of Ontario ordered that his license be suspended and that he attend an ethics course. In addition, he must pay $48,000 for therapy and counselling for the three employees and $30,000 to the College for the investigation and legal costs.

One of the former employees – who spoke to The Brock Voice on the condition of anonymity – said that while she’s not exactly pleased with the ruling, she’s ready to move on.

“It’s been extremely tough since I filed the complaint. Many (people) didn’t believe it and were mean,” she said, noting that she’s lived in Beaverton for more than 30 years.

“My hope is once people hear the final decision, they will know that he did these horrible things and let me live my life. I did this to protect women from his comments as well as heal myself. It certainly hasn’t been easy.”

According to an agreed statement of facts filed in the case, Barnes drew obscene images on his office whiteboard, made sexually explicit remarks in the office and wrote similar comments in patients’ files.

He also admitted to having angry outbursts where he would raise his voice, bang the walls, use profanities and break furniture.

“In short, Dr. Barnes admitted to all of the allegations set out in the Notice of Hearing but did not admit to a couple of the particulars,” said Bonni Ellis, a lawyer retained by the College.

The incidents occurred between 2002 and 2016.

After receiving complaints, the College launched an investigation in November of 2016, the results of which were made public the following July.

The agreed statement of facts notes that Barnes tried to use white out to cover the sexual comments on patient files once he learned the investigation was underway.

The College of Optometrists of Ontario is a self-regulatory body responsible for registering and governing optometrists in the province.

“When you visit an optometrist, you have the right to expect safe, quality eye care. The College protects this right by setting the registration requirements that must be met to practice the profession in Ontario and by creating the programs that will ensure that optometrists keep their skills and knowledge up to date,” the organization’s website reads.

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