The Canadian Press
OTTAWA–A lawsuit accuses an exclusive Ottawa prep school of refusing to make a sexual assault complaint to police after a 16-year-old boy was allegedly attacked by fellow students during a Grade 11 trip to Boston.
The suit, filed in Ottawa court on Friday, names Ashbury College as a defendant, along with headmaster Tam Matthews, four teachers and three former students.
The allegations stem from an investigation that ended with two of the students facing criminal charges in Massachusetts courts.
The alleged victim, who’s now 18, and his family are asking for $220,000, plus punitive damages, costs and repayment of enrolment fees.
None of the allegations in the suit has been proven in court. A statement of defence has not yet been filed.
The alleged victim says two students pinned him in a Boston hotel room on Nov. 16, 2007, and he was fondled and a finger was stuck in his anus. The incident was allegedly videotaped by a third student and transferred to a laptop.
Last July, the two students accused of pinning and assaulting the alleged victim were charged with two offences, indecent assault and battery and assault and battery.
The suit accuses the defendants of contributing to an "inordinate delay" in the investigation by not immediately reporting the alleged assault to Boston police and bringing the evidence back to Ottawa.
The school is also accused of choosing to protect its reputation rather than properly help the alleged victim, and failing to properly supervise the class trip.
In addition, the suit claims the victim and his siblings were "effectively expelled" from the school.
The suit says the teen and his two siblings were "denied the opportunity to continue their education at Ashbury" at the same time the children’s mother was battling cancer.
"The school has thoroughly investigated the affair, taken disciplinary action where appropriate, and co-operated with the authorities," Matthews said in a statement released Monday. "The school regrets the outcome for the victim and his family, but will vigorously defend the lawsuit."