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Ex-King's-Edgehill student sues two boys, school, employee over alleged rape

A view of King’s-Edgehill School in Windsor Aug. 14.
A view of King’s-Edgehill School in Windsor Aug. 14. - Tim Krochak

WINDSOR, N.S. - Before the alleged sexual assault, she was a standout student athlete enjoying a full academic and sports scholarship at Canada’s oldest private school, King’s-Edgehill School in Windsor, Nova Scotia.
But her life unravelled in short order after the 2016 Remembrance Day long weekend, when the alleged assault involving two boys occurred at a cabin belonging to a King’s-Edgehill employee, according to a statement of claim filed with the Supreme Court in Kentville on June 26.
The school employee is named in the suit as the father of one of the defendants, a student at King’s-Edgehill at the time. The lawsuit says he and his wife were upstairs while the alleged sexual assault unfolded in the basement of the cabin.
The teenage plaintiff is bringing suit against all four people, as well as King’s-Edgehill School. The teenage defendants are facing a criminal trial charged with sexual assault in connection with the incident. The trial is scheduled for October in Kentville.
Because the boys are charged in youth court and the young woman is an alleged victim of a sex crime, their names are banned from publication. The Herald is not naming the adults mentioned in the article because it could identify the teens.
The girl alleges that during the criminal investigation the teenage defendant, who attended King's-Edgehill, breached a no-contact order with the victim and threatened her after she gave a statement to police. The defendant subsequently sent a text to the victim admitting that he and the other boy had “raped” her.
None of the allegations has been proven in court. John McKiggan, the lawyer representing the plaintiff, says the teenager does not want her identity withheld in the court information.
“She has specifically asked that her name be used because she feels she didn’t do anything wrong,” said McKiggan. “She wants to encourage other sexual assault survivors that what happened to them is not their fault.
“She is incredibly brave. The conduct in this case is outrageous and I think when the court hears the evidence the judge and the jury will agree.”
The lawsuit states the King’s-Edgehill employee invited the then 15-year-old student, who had been living in a dormitory on the school campus, to his cottage located about 20 kilometres outside Windsor. The plaintiff says on the date of the alleged assault, Nov. 12, she and the son of the King’s-Edgehill employee spent the entire day in the basement and during that time neither of the parents went downstairs to supervise the pair.
The girl had consensual sexual relations with the boy during the day but according to her, things took a turn for the worse that evening after the defendant began drinking. It was during this time that the then 16-year-old boy texted the other defendant who arrived somewhere between 10:30 and 11 p.m. The boy, who’s now a university student, was 17-years-old at the time.
The plaintiff, described as an inexperienced drinker, says she was pressured to drink a variety of liquor, and shot-gunned several beers with the pair before becoming seriously intoxicated and sick. She said she eventually laid down on a bed in the basement shortly before the alleged sexual assault. The plaintiff woke up as both boys vaginally and orally penetrated her. At no point did the defendants ask the girl whether she consented to any sexual activity.
She said she woke up when the defendant’s mother went downstairs and began screaming at the boys.
“The plaintiff heard the boy’s parents screaming at him. Neither parent offered any assistance to the plaintiff or inquired about her well-being. They chose not to alert anyone or notify any authorities that a potential sexual assault had occurred.”
The lawsuit states the plaintiff’s life deteriorated shortly after the alleged incident. Though she remained in school and finished the semester, the plaintiff was unable to complete her exams and returned home to her family in Ontario in December 2016. She would return to King’s-Edgehill in January 2017 and remained until the end of the school year but suffered from PTSD symptoms and sleeping issues. Her grades and mental health continued to slide but she remained at the school until the end of the semester. She returned again the following September but her condition worsened and she began cutting herself, and eventually stopped eating and attending classes.
She returned home for good on Thanksgiving weekend in 2017 and continued to engage in self harm. She was subsequently hospitalized for days.
The defendant was suspended from King’s-Edgehill in May 2017, six months after the alleged assault.
The lawsuit accuses the King’s-Edgehill employee of attempting to cover up the alleged crime and that he and his wife failed to provide adequate care before and after the alleged assault.
“The father waited to call the plaintiff’s mother 45 hours after the alleged assault. . . . (The King’s-Edgehill employee) suggested to the mother that she not tell the school about the assault.”
The plaintiff’s mother was concerned about her daughter leaving her dormitory for the weekend trip and had made inquiries about the boy with his father and a teacher who supervised the girl’s dormitory. Neither gave her any cause for concern or indicated the defendant had on several occasions committed major violations of the school’s code of conduct, including consuming drugs and alcohol on school property. His father reassured the mother that the pair would be supervised, that there would be no drinking and they would sleep in separate rooms.
The suit says the parents were negligent and in breach of their fiduciary duty for failing to disclose past information about the conduct of their son and for failing to supervise their guest as King's-Edgehill’s supervisor while the plaintiff was off campus.
The lawsuit names King’s-Edgehill as directly and vicariously liable to the plaintiff for alleged breach of trust, breach of a non-delegable duty, breach of fiduciary duty of King’s-Edgehill and its servants, agents and employees. The suit argues the school failed in its responsibility to adequately disclose the defendant’s misconduct to the mother, failing to provide adequate supervision during a school sanctioned leave, failing to adequately investigate the alleged sexual assault and failing to remove the defendant after the alleged assault, as well as failing to take proper care in hiring the King’s-Edgehill employee.
The suit includes a list of injuries the teenager suffered since the alleged incident, including PTSD, aggravation of temporomandibular joint syndrome (a chronic jaw joint condition), suicidal thoughts and self-harm, chronic, impaired interpersonal relationships, diminished educational and career prospects. Besides general and special damages, the teenager is pursuing aggravated and punitive damages as well as others.
Currently each of the defendants has retained counsel, with the exception of the teenager who did not attend King's-Edgehill, said McKiggan.
The Herald reached out to King's-Edgehill but the school’s headmaster, Joe Seagram, would not comment.
“Respectfully, and as you no doubt are aware, I am unable to comment,” said Seagram.
McKiggan said each of the defendants have until the end of August to file their defence.
 

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