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Canadian Ex-Gay “Shock Doc” Therapist Sentenced To Prison For Sexually Assaulting Patients

Jim Burroway

February 5th, 2013
Aubrey Levin being taken into police custody

Aubrey Levin being taken into police custody, 2010.

Aubry Levin, 74, a South African national who relocated to Calgary, Canada in order to resume his ex-gay therapy in the post-Appartheid era, has been sentenced to five years in prison for fondling his male patients. His wife, Erica, was also charged with “defeating the ends of justice” for trying to bribe a juror in her husband’s case.

“Your patients came to you for help. Instead, you were responsible for creating more problems. This was a horrible violation of trust,” court of queen’s bench Justice Donna Shelley told Levin during sentencing.

Levin was found guilty on three of nine charges against him. His Canadian offences came to light in March 2010 when the original complainant showed two videos, taken on a spy camera, which showed Levin fondling his genitals.

Longtime BTB readers may recall that when Levin was first arrested in 2010, his work for the South African military during the apartheid era drew considerable attention. In the 1980s, electric shock therapies had mostly come to an end throughout the world, but it was still employed in apartheid South Africa right up until the fall of the regime. Levin was one of the more notorious practitioners in South Africa , so much so that he was known as “Dr. Shock”:

Among the allegations levelled at Levin was that he used severe electric shocks as part of “aversion therapy” that was supposed to “cure” homosexuals. “Political deviants” who refused to bear arms in the apartheid forces were also referred to Levin, who commanded the major psychiatric wing of the military hospital at Voortrekkerhoogte in Pretoria and rose to become the apartheid government’s head of mental health.

Levin fled South Africa just before its transition to democracy, and settled in Calgary where he became a Canadian citizen. He refused to testify before South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, where it was alleged he had been guilty of gross human rights abuses. According to South Africa’s The Daily Maverick:

Ward 22 of 1 Military Hospital at Voortrekkerhoogte, near Pretoria, was where he operated. That’s where suspected gays in the army were sent to Dr Aubrey Levin for “treatment”. Levin was positively evangelical about curing homosexuality: in 1968 he wrote to Parliament asking to address its members on potential changes to the laws on homosexuality, noting that he had “treated many homosexuals and lesbians and enjoyed some measure of success in therapy.”

This “therapy” took the form of drugs, electro-shock therapy and hormone treatment. For those who didn’t show signs of responding, it is claimed that chemical castrations or sex-change operations were in store. Most of Levin’s patients were young, white and male, and they were referred to him by military officers, chaplains and doctors.

Once settled in Canada, Levin became an expert witness, performing court-ordered psychiatric assessments of convicted offenders awaiting sentence.

According to press reports at the time of Levin’s arrest, a 36-year-old former patient had been accusing Levin of sexually abusing him, but he couldn’t get authorities to believe him. The break came when the patient went to an appointment with a hidden camera in order to obtain evidence. The videos, which were played in court during the trial, showed Levin undoing the man’s belt and jeans and appearing to fondle him. The patient, identified only as R.B. in court, was on probation and had been ordered to see Levin twice a month. Two other accusers were also patients of Levin’s while under court order.

A support group of former patients has been established online.



February 6th, 2013 | LINK

These instances of “professionals” who claim to cure the gay who have same sex sexual contact must be so unremarkable that nobody even commented. Same old same old?

February 6th, 2013 | LINK

No, Levin seems uniquely awful and horrible. He almost seems like a Dr. Mengele figure or something along those lines… a person who, for whatever quirk of history, was given absolute power to do whatever came into his twisted and sadistic mind, against a defenseless and vulnerable population. “Gross human rights abuses” maybe starts to cover it.

They say that the closet is a dangerous place, and boy does this guy prove it in spades.

February 6th, 2013 | LINK

You know…I’m now starting to think that there’s a similar pathology for all molesters, regardless of the age of their victims.

I’m certainly not a professional in the Psychology/Psychiatry fields, but I’d propose that instead of always labeling these guys mere “closet cases,” we start looking at the power structure. Yes, his victims were all adults, but they did not necessarily have “free will”. Neither do many of those forced by their parents to go to “ex-gay” therapy. It’s shooting fish in a barrel.

I honestly don’t know that–in a better, more enlightened world–these molesters would be well-adjusted gay men. I think they would be the same sociopaths inflicting harm on victims, but the context would change.

I really do not see this man as any different from a pedophile–it’s STILL not about sexual orientation, it’s about power.

Maybe–just maybe–in a “perfect” world they’d just settle happily into the (gay) BDSM community to be able to play their power games, but I have my doubts. I think they crave the “thrill” of being beyond the law too much. A safe word would take away all the “fun.”

Any professionals out there to comment on this?

February 6th, 2013 | LINK

I’d just add that even someone “voluntarily” walking in off the street to go through SOCE is under pressure–even self-inflicted–to change and is willing to submit themselves to WHATEVER their Svengali tells them.

Frankly, that goes as much for these quacks as it does for all of those who say they hold the ear of/hear directly from God.

Timothy Kincaid
February 7th, 2013 | LINK

Matt, your comment about there being parallels between molesting a child and taking advantage of one’s power in a therapy session is interesting. I too wonder what professionals think about that.

Priya Lynn
February 7th, 2013 | LINK

I know a lot, perhaps most, homophobes are suppressing their own same sex attractions but this sort of thing still comes as a bit of a shock to me – How can someone who knows he has same sex attractions and who acts on them lie to himself and work towards, and claim its good, to oppress gayness?

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