Aubrey Levin

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Aubrey Levin (born December 18, 1938)[1] is a convicted sex offender and was a professor of clinical psychiatry at the University of Calgary until March 2010, when his license was suspended by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta.[2] He was a key figure in The Aversion Project during the Apartheid era in South Africa.

Life and career[edit]

Levin was first licensed as a psychiatrist in South Africa in 1969. He was a Colonel in the South African Defence Force (SADF), as well as the chief psychiatrist at the Voortrekkerhoogte military hospital during the 1970s, during which time he was the attending psychiatrist at Greefswald, an isolated detention barracks where harsh conditions were supposed to "cure" conscripts of supposed vices and conscientious objections. Among his patients was Gordon Torr who wrote about his experience in the book, Kill Yourself and Count to 10 (2014). Levin later served at Addington Hospital in Durban (1975-1981) and at Fort England Psychiatric Hospital in Grahamstown.[3]

Aversion Project[edit]

He rose to notoriety for his work on an aversion therapy medical program which attempted to cure gay men and lesbian women of homosexuality.[4] Between 1971 and 1989, many victims were submitted to chemical castrations and electric shock treatment, meant to cure them of their homosexual “condition.” As many as 900 homosexuals, mostly 16–24 years old who had been drafted and had not voluntarily joined the military, were subjected to forced “sexual reassignment” surgeries. Men were surgically turned into women against their will, then cast out into the world, the gender reassignment often incomplete, and without the means to pay for expensive hormones to maintain their new sexual identities.[5] After the end of apartheid in 1994, South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) heard testimony regarding the controversial nature of The Aversion Project Levin ran while in the SADF, details of which were published in 1999.[6] Though Levin was not named in the TRC report, it did appear elsewhere, including in a 2001 published a paper called "The Aversion Project: Psychiatric Abuses in the South African Defence Force During the Apartheid Era".[7]

Relocation to Canada[edit]

Meanwhile, in 1995, Levin and his wife left South Africa and he became licensed by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Saskatchewan, Canada and later by Alberta's college in 1998.[8] In March 2010 the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta suspended Levin's license[9] over accusations of abuse after a male patient secretly filmed the psychiatrist allegedly making sexual advances.[6]

Trial and conviction[edit]

A pre-trial hearing determined that Levin was fit to stand trial although in the early stages of dementia.[10] July 2010, police announced that 20 other men had come forward, claiming they were assaulted by Levin during counseling sessions. On October 11, 2012 Levin went to trial at the Court of Queen’s Bench in Calgary. The Crown decided to go ahead with nine of the original 21 cases. During the trial, a jury was shown the graphic video of Levin touching a patient, which had been secretly recorded on the patient's [camera wristwatch]. On January 28, 2013, a jury found Dr. Levin guilty of three charges of sexual assault against male patients, not guilty of two other charges of sexual assault, while a mistrial was declared in reference to a further four counts.[10][11][12] February 7, 2013 police arrested Dr. Levin’s wife Erica Levin, then aged 69, and charged her with obstruction of justice for alleging attempting to bribe a juror. The juror said she was approached on a train platform in January and offered $1000 or $10,000 in a white envelope, to bring in a not-guilty verdict. The juror informed police and was subsequently dismissed.

Despite a 5-year prison sentence Levin was released on $15,000 bail on February 13, 2013. The judge said that, since his license to practice medicine has been suspended, he is “not a danger to the public.”. Levin awaits an appeal (Sept.2013).[13]

On 23 April 2014 the Alberta Court of Appeal, in a unanimous decision, upheld the 2013 conviction. Dr. Levin was ordered to report, within 48 hours, to begin a five-year sentence at an unnamed institution.[3]


  1. ^ Birthdate according to his statement to Calgary police
  2. ^ "Calgary psychiatrist Levin charged in sex assault". CBC News. 
  3. ^ a b Richard Poplak,"Dr. Shock", The Walrus, September 2015.
  4. ^ "Africa | Apartheid Military Forced Gay Troops Into Sex-Change Operations". The Gully. 2000-08-25. Retrieved 2013-02-04. 
  5. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  6. ^ a b Chris McGreal in Washington (2010-03-28). "'Doctor Shock' charged with sexually abusing male patient | World news". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2013-02-04. 
  7. ^ Robert Kaplan, "The Aversion Project Psychiatric Abuses in the South African Defense Force During the Apartheid Era", SAMJ Forum, March 2001.
  8. ^ Tetley, Deborah (2010-03-24). "Prominent Calgary psychiatrist facing sex assault charge". Archived from the original on 2010-04-12. Retrieved 2013-02-04. 
  9. ^ "Courtroom psychiatrist charged in sex assault | Elder Advocates Of Alberta Society". 2010-03-24. Retrieved 2013-02-04. 
  10. ^ a b Daryl Slade, Calgary Herald : (2012-10-04). "Global Calgary | Psychiatrist charged with sexual assault mentally unfit to stand trial, court hears". Retrieved 2013-02-04. 
  11. ^ Jan 28, 2013 12:27 PM MT (2013-01-29). "Calgary ex-psychiatrist found guilty of sexual assault - Calgary - CBC News". Retrieved 2013-02-04. 
  12. ^ Chris McGreal in Portland (2012-10-10). "Canadian psychiatrist 'Dr Shock' stands trial on sexual abuse charges | World news |". London: Guardian. Retrieved 2013-02-04. 
  13. ^

11. C.J.A. C.A. Fraser, J.A. C.M. Conrad, J.A. J.D.B. McDonald In the Court of Appeal of Alberta Citation: R v Levin, 2014 ABCA 142 ... Respondent - and - Aubrey Levin Appellant Restriction on Publication ... Date: Apr 23rd 2014 | Docket: 1301-0019-A | Registry: Calgary | Court: CA | Type: Criminal

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