- Dr. James Tyhurst once wielded a fair degree of power
as the head of the UBC psychiatry department.
- He was also a mean man with a whip, regularly lashing
a trio of half-naked patients -- tormented women who had put their trust
in his healing powers.
- In a scathing judgment against the retired psychiatrist,
a B.C. Supreme Court judge has found Tyhurst's treatment of Jill Gorman
"was deplorable and defies all norms of civilized conduct between
- Justice David Vickers ordered Tyhurst to pay damages
of $556,790, ending another chapter in the bizarre story.
- (Tyhurst twice stood trial in criminal court. One jury
found him guilty of the sexual and physical assault of Gorman and another
woman, when four former patients testified. Tyhurst won a new trial and
was found not guilty in 1992 by another jury, when only two patients
- Tyhurst, now 78 and living on Gabriola Island, has
denied any wrongdoing. His lawyer, Chris Hinkson, said yesterday he has
spoken to Tyhurst, who intends to appeal Vickers' decision.
- Gorman, now 42, was suffering from an eating disorder
and had vague thoughts of suicide when she first went to see Tyhurst in
September 1979, as she began her second year of university.
- For the next eight years, she saw Tyhurst -- the
of B.C.'s head of psychiatry from 1958 to 1970 -- and other psychiatrists
for treatment of her borderline personality disorder.
- The disorder made her hunger for relationships, which
were doomed to fail because of the high expectations she put on
- The "therapy" Tyhurst prescribed involved
Gorman, after she had been told to strip to the waist.
- The judge found two witnesses called by Gorman's lawyer
were truthful in relating their whippings by Tyhurst, who made them enter
into master-slave relationships as well.
- Gorman and one of the other two women testified they
suspected Tyhurst was masturbating while he whipped them, though they never
saw any proof of it.
- "While I am unable to conclude the acts of whipping
were accompanied by the defendant masturbating, I have no difficulty in
concluding his entire course of conduct and the bizarre 'therapy' in which
he engaged was for his own sexual gratification," wrote
- The judge doubted Tyhurst's denial of any significance
to the two letters entered in evidence, which Gorman said were master-slave
- Tyhurst should have been alarmed at their contents, he
said. Instead, the psychiatrist testified that patients "write all
sorts of things" and dismissed them as trash.
- Tyhurst mistreated Gorman so badly, the judge found,
that he ruined her ability to trust others, including therapists and men,
- "The nightmare of his 'therapy' will live with her
for the rest of her life," wrote the judge.
- "No similar case has been cited to me where the
abuse of a care-provider in a position of trust has been so
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