Former Guelph acupuncturist accused of sexual assaults appears in court

The preliminary hearing for an acupuncturist and Chinese medicine practitioner accused of multiple sexual assaults began in Guelph on Tuesday morning.

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Several complaints against Sherman Lai have been filed with Guelph police since he was first arrested in October 2017.

The latest charges came in May 2018 and at the time, Guelph police said Lai faced a total of 36 charges, including 18 counts of sexual assault, seven counts of assault and three counts of assault with a weapon.

Police said 16 former patients filed complaints with investigators.

During Tuesday’s hearing, Lai sat in the front row of a second-floor courtroom at the Ontario Court of Justice on Carden Street, taking notes and wearing a grey suit.

A court order prevents publication of any evidence heard at the preliminary hearing.

Lai practiced in Guelph for over 20 years before the business was moved south to Morriston about seven years ago.

The College of Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners and Acupuncturists of Ontario previously said Lai is not able to practise while the College investigates the accusations.

The preliminary hearing, presided over by Justice Lorelei Amlin, will determine if the case can proceed to trial.

It’s scheduled to last until mid-February.

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