Beaverton optometrist issues apology to his patients after being found guilty of misconduct

A Beaverton optometrist has published an apology to his patients after being 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 during disciplinary hearings before the College of Optometrists of Ontario on March 22 and April 19.

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.

The incidents occurred between 2002 and 2016.

Following the hearing in April, his license to practice was suspended for four months and he was ordered to attend an ethics course. In addition, he must pay $48,000 for therapy and counselling for the three employees (which will be held by the College) and $30,000 for the investigation and legal costs.

The apology from Dr. Barnes was released by the College on Thursday (May 10).

“There has been recent press in respect of allegations made regarding my conduct as an optometrist. These allegations were the subject of a hearing recently before the Discipline Committee of the College of Optometrists of Ontario, the results of which are posted on the College’s website,” it reads.

“I admitted to the vast majority of these allegations and the conduct that gave rise to them and have embarked upon a series of remedial steps in recognition that I engaged in behaviour that was unprofessional and that my behaviour crossed professional boundaries, including with some members of my staff, who were also my patients.”

Dr. Barnes noted that he is “embarrassed” by his conduct and sincerely apologized for his actions.

“In the course of this disciplinary process, I voluntarily undertook to apologize to my valued patients, the public and my noble profession of optometry for my actions, which I sincerely regret. I realize that my conduct has caused harm to my profession and patients. I want to sincerely apologize to my patients and the profession of optometry as a whole,” the apology reads.

“I am embarrassed and truly sorry for any and all of the hurt my behavior may have caused to members of my staff and offer my sincerest apology. I value the optometry profession and my patient population, which I have served for the past 28 years of my practice. It is my intention to treat my patients with professionalism, respect and exemplary care. It is also my intention to ensure that I treat my staff members in the same professional manner, which they deserve.”

To read the apology in full, click HERE.