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Province Liable for $150,000 Sexual Assault Pain and Suffering Award

This injury claimant was sexually assaulted while on a tour of Oakalla prison in the late 1970s. He sought damages from a corrections officer and the Province of British Columbia.

The essence of the claim was that as part of a probationary term the claimant was required to go on a tour of the jail. The corrections officer who conducted the tour forced the claimant into a cell with five inmates, where he was subjected to a sexual assault. The claimant told no one about the incident until decades later.

 The Province was found to be vicariously liable for the actions of the corrections officer, the identity of which was unknown. In awarding compensation, the judge found that the claimant suffered substantial psychological difficulties as a result of the assault. The assault was also a contributing cause to his lifelong struggle with drugs. As the judge pointed out,

[164] The sexual assault of B.E.S. was a single event, but it was brutal and I accept that it continues to have an impact on his day-to-day functioning well into adulthood. Comparisons with other cases are helpful, although I find the cases involving systemic abuse by parental figures are not particularly applicable. I agree with Mr. Johnston that B.M.G. is the most similar case factually and provides the best comparators, albeit the assaults in question were more frequent. I award B.E.S. $150,000 in non-pecuniary damages.(B.E.S. v. MacDougall,2018 BCSC 2138)

In B.M.G. v. Nova Scotia (Attorney General), [2007] N.S.J. No. 132, aff’d [2007] NSJ No. 506  the plaintiff was repeatedly sexually abused by his probation officer when he was in his early teens. He had a fragmented family life and spent time in foster homes and juvenile delinquent institutions. He was awarded $125,000. Adjusted for inflation this would amount to approximately $150,000.
 

Tags: Sexual Assault Injury Claim, Vicariously Liable

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