Content warning: descriptions of sexual violence.
Former U of T medical student Prachur Shrivastava has been found guilty of a sexual assault that occurred in Calgary in 2014. According to the CBC, the conviction is believed to be the first of its kind under Calgary’s Third Option program, which allows complainants to take time before deciding whether to report the crime to police.
The program was created in 2011 and gives sexual assault survivors the option of having a rape kit collected and stored for up to one year as they decide whether to report. Previously, complainants would need to report immediately or not have a rape kit collected at all.
Similar programs also exist in Ontario, British Columbia, and Nova Scotia.
The sexual assault occurred on May 31, 2014 when the complainant, whom CBC identified as Laura as her name is under a publication ban, was in Calgary partying with friends.
She became highly intoxicated and passed out at a friend’s house, after which Shrivastava arrived and raped her during the night.
Laura woke up the next morning to see Shrivastava sleeping beside her and testified feeling “disgust and violation.”
Though she described herself as “blackout wasted,” Laura still had a few flashback memories of the night and recalled waking up at one point to see someone raping her, to which she attempted to push him away.
In her decision, Alberta’s Court of Queen’s Bench Jolaine Antonio found Laura to be an “honest witness” and wrote, “I believe [Shrivastava] wanted to obtain sexual gratification from an unconscious stranger, and that is what he did.”
“He deprived her of control over who touched her body and how, and thereby criminally violated her human dignity and autonomy.”
Sentencing has not been announced as of yet.
Shrivastava was enrolled in the Doctor of Medicine program at U of T in 2014–2016, during which he was involved with the University of Toronto Medical Journal, Medical Science Advocacy Toronto, and was the Vice-President Finance at the Faculty of Medicine.
Shrivastava was also enrolled in U of T’s Master of Biotechnology program. According to a student profile put together for its co-op program, Shrivastava was on academic leave from medical school “in pursuit of multifaceted development.”
An unnamed source told the CBC that since taking academic leave, Shrivastava has not completed his degree.
U of T spokesperson Elizabeth Church told The Varsity that the university can’t discuss the status of individual students because it is personal information.
Church added that U of T did have “a policy that governs the standards of professional behaviour for all health professional students.”
The majority of the policy details appropriate behaviour in a relationship with a client or patient.
However, the last requirement states that students should not “[behave] in a way that is unbecoming of a practising professional in his or her respective health profession or that is in violation of relevant and applicable Canadian law, including violation of the Canadian Criminal Code.”
A violation of this policy can lead to a reprimand, remedial work, denial of promotion, suspension, or dismissal from a program.