Lawsuit filed against Whitehorse educational assistant who sexually abused student

·2 min read
The Yukon courthouse in Whitehorse. (Paul Tukker/CBC - image credit)
The Yukon courthouse in Whitehorse. (Paul Tukker/CBC - image credit)

WARNING: This story contains details that are disturbing.

A student at a Whitehorse elementary school has filed a lawsuit alleging he was sexually abused by an educational assistant during the 2019-20 school year.

The student, via his father, filed a statement of claim against the assistant in the Yukon Supreme Court on July 14.

The Yukon government is also listed as a defendant.

The lawsuit has not been tested in court.

No statements of defence had been filed as of June 16.

The CBC independently confirmed that the matter had previously gone through the criminal court system, and that the assistant had pleaded guilty to one count of sexual interference in 2020.

The identity of the child, who was six at the time, is protected by a publication ban.

The CBC is not naming the educational assistant to protect the identity of the child.

According to the statement of claim and documents from the criminal proceedings, the child was a special needs student at Hidden Valley Elementary School and in the care of the educational assistant when the abuse happened.

The abuse came to light after the child told his father the educational assistant had done a "body check" on him at a "secret room" in the school.

The educational assistant was sentenced to six months' jail followed by two years of probation. He's also prohibited from contacting the victim, from taking a job or doing volunteer work that would require him to be in contact with children under 16, and from being alone in a room with a child under 16 without another adult present.

While the criminal court documents state that the abuse happened in the fall of 2019, the lawsuit alleges that the abuse continued into 2020 and has left the child with "physical, mental, emotional and spiritual injuries," including "severe emotional and psychiatric illness" and the "inability or reduced ability to form healthy emotional relationships and attachments with others."

The lawsuit also alleges that the Yukon government, as the educational assistant's employer, was vicariously liable for the abuse and failed to properly vet or supervise the assistant and protect the student.

The statement of claim is seeking damages from the defendants, as well as the cost of future medical, psychological, psychiatric and counselling services.

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