Posts Tagged ‘sexual’

An Ontario Liberal MP says he’s dealing with an allegation of sexual assault following an incident in Halifax early Saturday morning.

Halifax Regional Police are investigating an alleged assault they are saying occurred simply after 2 a.m. AT on Brunswick Road throughout from Citadel Hill in downtown Halifax, close to the place the Liberal Get together coverage conference was being held.

Francis Drouin’s workplace confirmed an allegation had been made towards him. 

“I imagine it is vital for people to have a secure atmosphere to return ahead, share their tales, and be supported,” a press release offered to CBC Information on Sunday stated.

It added whereas no fees have been laid, Drouin will co-operate totally with the investigation.

The alleged incident occurred simply hours earlier than Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and different Liberal MPs took half in a closed-door workshop on the conference on tips on how to create secure, harassment-free workplaces.

The session, referred to as From #MeToo to by no means once more: creating secure work environments, was closed to the media so delegates can share private tales. Liberal MP Kent Hehr, who stepped down from his cupboard put up in January pending an investigation into complaints of sexual harassment towards him, additionally attended.

Leaving the hour-long session on Saturday, Trudeau referred to as it a “nice ongoing a part of an vital dialog.”

On a January night time in 2014, Susan thought she was going to die from blood loss after a violent sexual encounter along with her on-again, off-again boyfriend.

“I used to be terrified as a result of that was quite a lot of blood,” mentioned Susan, who shared her story for the primary time in an interview with CBC Information final week. “And I used to be chilly. I used to be in quite a lot of ache. And I knew if I did not get out of the home and get therapy, I won’t make it.”

Greater than 4 years later, Susan’s bodily accidents have healed however her psychological torment continues. The aggravated sexual assault cost laid by police towards her attacker was dropped as a result of the case took too lengthy to go to trial.

In July 2016, the Supreme Courtroom of Canada put arduous limits on how lengthy prosecutors should attempt prison circumstances within the so-called Jordan resolution.

The staying of prices towards Blair Hinkley, the person accused of injuring Susan, was the primary profitable Jordan utility in Alberta.

Sexual assault prices towards an Alberta man had been dropped as a result of the case took too lengthy to go to trial, leaving one girl with out her day in courtroom. 1:41

Now in her early 40s, her id is protected by a court-ordered publication ban. CBC has chosen to name her Susan.

“I wasn’t given any justice,” Susan informed CBC Information. “I’ve to stay with this for the remainder of my life. I’ve to discover a method the place it would not harm me on daily basis.”

That night time in 2014

Susan invited Hinkley to spend the weekend at her central Alberta home. They ended up in her bed room.  

“We had began to idiot round and issues gave the impression to be going effectively, till instantly I felt very intense, searing, agonizing ache, and I knew what he had finished,” she says.

She claims he sexually assaulted her together with his hand, inflicting extreme inside accidents and profuse bleeding.

My forearms had been coated in blood and I might really feel it gushing … I knew it was critical.– Susan 

“I used my palms to carry myself collectively,” she mentioned, wiping away tears. “My forearms had been coated in blood and I might really feel it gushing. It was shiny purple so I knew it was arterial. I knew it was critical.”

Susan says she requested Hinkley to deliver her some towels so she might apply strain. She informed him to deliver her a telephone so she might name 911.

“He is working round, making an attempt to dress once more, and washing his palms, telling me to relax, that I will be OK, that we are able to keep on in a couple of minutes.”

Emergency surgical procedure

Paramedics arrived 10 minutes after Susan referred to as 911 and rushed her to hospital. A health care provider shortly decided she wanted emergency surgical procedure.

Susan says she required three or 4 blood transfusions earlier than surgical procedure. A staff of surgeons labored practically 4 hours to cease the bleeding and restore the injury, she says.

“The gynecologist that was on name informed me my vagina on the left facet from the very high to the very backside was fully ripped open.”

4 days later, whereas she was nonetheless in hospital, RCMP allowed Hinkley to show himself into the Ponoka detachment. He was charged with aggravated sexual assault.

Hinkley left courtroom a free man after a choose stayed a cost of aggravated sexual assault as a result of it took too lengthy to go to trial. (Equipped )

Eight months later, Susan testified at Hinkley’s preliminary listening to.

“It was good to get on the stand and to say what had occurred,” she mentioned. “And I used to be very hopeful that issues would prove effectively.”

Hinkley was dedicated to face trial. A jury trial was scheduled for 5 days in October 2015.

However on the trial’s second day, Hinkley’s lawyer realized the RCMP and the Crown had did not move alongside a key witness assertion to the defence.

Defence lawyer Brian Beresh instantly requested for a mistrial.

“We felt that compromised our place in entrance of the jury,” Beresh informed CBC Information. “The choose agreed with that and granted a mistrial.”

“I used to be devastated,” Susan says. “It was virtually worse than the incident itself. I simply bear in mind crying and screaming. My mates needed to carry me out of the courthouse.”

New trial date set

In late 2015, one other five-day trial was set for December 2016.

However in July 2016, the Supreme Courtroom of Canada launched the landmark Jordan resolution, which established a framework for the utmost size of time between a cost being laid and the top of trial —18 months for provincial courtroom circumstances and 30 months for Superior Courtroom circumstances.

If Hinkley’s trial had gone forward, it will have been 34 months between the time he was charged and the conclusion of his trial.

Beresh filed a Jordan utility and the prison cost was stayed.

“This was a case the place there ought to have been a trial,” Beresh mentioned. “However there ought to have been a trial throughout the correct limits.”

He maintains Hinkley’s innocence, and insists he shouldn’t be painted as “the unhealthy man” for requesting a keep.

“The police knew the principles, the Crown knew the principles, I do know the principles,” Beresh mentioned. “We’ve to play by them. If we are saying, ‘OK the rule might be bent,’ or ‘there actually is not a rule,’ who would respect that?”

Felony lawyer Brian Beresh defended Blair Hinkley on a cost of aggravated sexual assault and efficiently utilized for a mistrial, then a keep. (Sam Martin/CBC Information )

Susan was devastated when the cost was thrown out.

“It is not a justice system,” she says. “It is a authorized system. That is my opinion.”

Beresh says he has sympathy for Susan’s place.

“I perceive it and I am not saying she should not have [said] that,” he says. “However [she should] ask why the principles weren’t adopted.”

He wonders how Susan would really feel if she had been the one dealing with a critical prison cost.

“Would you want an open guide by way of how lengthy the trial might take? What if the prosecution mentioned, ‘We’ll guide your trial 5 years from now,’ and also you’d don’t have any treatment to that? Would that be justice? I do not suppose so.”

The aggravated sexual assault cost wasn’t Hinkley’s first encounter with the regulation.

In 2010, he was convicted of impaired driving inflicting loss of life. Hinkley ran over his mom Shirley with a semi-truck on the household farm with a blood-alcohol content material greater than twice the authorized restrict. He was given a 33-month jail time period.

The 44-year-old will go on trial in Might on two counts of assault towards an aged girl, his father’s girlfriend. Hinkley is accused of attacking her final June with a ratchet set.

The influence of Jordan

Since Oct. 25, 2016, when Alberta Justice began monitoring the numbers, 170 Jordan purposes have been filed within the province. The quantity would not embody the Hinkley keep, which was granted Sept. 28, 2016.

Of the 170, 55 purposes had been rejected by the courtroom. Thirty-five circumstances had been deserted by defence legal professionals, and prices in 29 others had been stayed on Jordan grounds. Fourteen circumstances are pending and 37 circumstances had been resolved for causes unrelated to Jordan.

Alberta has poured hundreds of thousands into hiring new prosecutors and organising a triage system to focus assets on probably the most critical circumstances. Many circumstances now go straight to trial, slightly than starting with a preliminary listening to.

Final week, Ottawa tabled Invoice C-75, aimed toward making sweeping modifications to the justice system and rushing up the courtroom course of. The invoice consists of a proposal to eradicate preliminary hearings besides within the case of crimes that carry a life sentence.

Stephen Coughlan, a Dalhousie College regulation professor, has been preserving an in depth eye on the nationwide influence of the Jordan resolution, and thinks that on the whole, it has had pretty little impact.

“I’ve definitely seen the determine that there have been nationally about 1,000 purposes below Jordan because it got here alongside,” Coughlan mentioned from Halifax.

“However to place that in perspective, that may be out of a complete of say, 500,000 circumstances which have taken place since Jordan.”

Coughlan believes the Jordan resolution has served as a wake-up name for a justice system now looking for new, streamlined methods of doing enterprise.

“Throughout the board, I do suppose it is honest to say that the influence of Jordan has been to make all people apprehensive about delay,” he says.

“On the entire, I believe that is just about a hit story, sure.”

Susan would not see it that method.

“Justice is black and white,” she says. “The regulation has many shades of gray.”

Four women filed civil lawsuits Wednesday against Albert Schultz, accusing the Canadian actor and artistic director of the Soulpepper Theatre Company of sexual battery and harassment of a sexual nature over a 13-year period.

Toronto-based Soulpepper has also been named in the statements of claim of each lawsuit, which detail allegations of unwanted groping, harassment and sexual remarks in the workplace from 2000 to 2013.

“Albert is a serial sexual predator who…had well-developed methods for targeting actresses and luring them into situations that he considered optimal for sexually harassing and assaulting them,” the lawsuits allege, adding that the methods were “facilitated by Soulpepper.”

Sexual battery is a term used in civil lawsuits to describe unwanted touching of a sexual nature.

In all, the women in the four statements of claim allege 30 separate incidents, many of them with specific locations and dates.

None of the allegations have been proven in court. Schultz and the Soulpepper board were served notice of the claim, but they have not yet issued a response or made a statement to the media.

For some of the allegations, there were no witnesses and the women didn’t tell anyone. In other instances, CBC News spoke with friends and family members who said they’d been told about the incidents at the time.

THEATRE Soulpepper Off Broadway 20170627

Soulpepper director Albert Schultz, centre, speaks to cast members during rehearsals for the production of Spoon River in Toronto in March 2017. (Chris Young/Canadian Press)

CBC News has also spoken with some of Schultz’s colleagues at Soulpepper, who said they had never witnessed the director behave inappropriately. They said he is passionate and a maverick who “experiments” with actors to get the best performances out of them.

However, two of the theatre company’s founding members, Ted Dykstra and Stuart Hughes, along with actor Michelle Monteith, released a statement saying they believe the plaintiffs and hope their support will send “a message to organizations everywhere: sexual harassment in the workplace cannot be tolerated. By anyone.”

CBC has learned that four actors at Soulpepper intend to resign Thursday if Schultz does not leave his role as the company’s artistic director. A fifth person, a director, plans to do the same.

In addition to the four women who have launched the civil suit, as part of a joint investigation by The National and The Fifth Estate, CBC journalists have spoken with four other women who said they were disturbed by interactions of a sexualized nature with him.

Schultz, 54, is a member of the Order of Canada and may be best known to television audiences for his work on the CBC drama Street Legal, which aired between 1987 and 1994.

He’s a founding member of Soulpepper, one of Canada’s most successful theatre companies, which recently completed a critically acclaimed run off-Broadway in New York.

‘I felt him push his penis against me.’ – Patricia Fagan

Schultz is also an executive producer on Kim’s Convenience, the play-turned-hit TV show that airs on CBC. The show is independently produced by Thunderbird Productions.

“In light of the serious allegations made public today, we expect Thunderbird will take the necessary actions to ensure a safe and respectful workplace and we have conveyed that to them,” said Emma Bedard, a spokeswoman for CBC.

The four women are individually asking for damages of up to $ 1.25 million from Schultz, as well as separate damages from the theatre company, to compensate for what they claim has been mental suffering, lost wages and injury to dignity and self-respect.   

They only agreed to speak on record with the CBC once they had the protection that comes from filing a lawsuit in court.

These are women [who] have been harassed at work,” said Alexi Wood, the lawyer who filed the claim.

“There’s a power imbalance that exists. Albert was their boss,” she said. “He wields a huge amount of power, not just in Soulpepper, but in the theatre world in general.”

Allegations of bullying, lewd comments

The four women who filed lawsuits alleging they were harassed by Schultz are actors Kristin Booth, Diana Bentley, Hannah Miller and Patricia Fagan.

In her lawsuit’s statement of claim, Fagan alleges Schultz fostered a climate of “mocking, belittling and bullying” at Soulpepper, often leaving her feeling “vulnerable and hunted.”

During rehearsals for a Soulpepper production of Twelfth Night in 2000, when Fagan was 23, she claims Schultz, as director, inserted himself into a scene to demonstrate what he wanted his lead actor to do.

Patricia Fagan

Actor Patricia Fagan joined Soulpepper at the age of 23. Now 41, she stopped working with Soulpepper in 2013. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

It was at that point, Fagan alleges, that “I felt him push his penis against me.” She says she didn’t react, assuming the contact was called for in the scene, although she felt “violated” by the “gratuitous demonstration.”

Fagan claims that Schultz once slid his hand under her skirt and rubbed the underside of her thigh during a rehearsal. She also alleges Schultz flashed his penis at her seconds before she was getting ready to make her entrance on stage for a live performance. CBC spoke with that play’s director, who said while he doesn’t recall the incident, he believes Fagan’s account, adding that Schultz was a joker who sometimes crossed the line.

In a rehearsal of a flirtatious scene in another play, Fagan alleges Schultz congratulated her performance by pretending to have an orgasm.

‘I was so humiliated. I didn’t have a name for it at the time, but I did fall into a depression. I can see that now.’ – Patricia Fagan

“He…starts ripping Kleenex out of the box to show that he was having an orgasm, with the Kleenex being his ejaculate,” she told CBC News. “That was to say, like, ‘Well done, you were sexy in that scene.'”  

Fagan started with Soulpepper fresh out of theatre school at 23, and worked on and off with the company until 2013. Now 41, she called her early days at the theatre company “devastating.”

“I was so humiliated,” Fagan said. “I didn’t have a name for it at the time, but I did fall into a depression. I can see that now.”

‘I could feel his genitals against my body’

Award-winning actor Kristin Booth, 43, alleges she endured similar conduct in her work with Soulpepper. She said it started when she was 25 and, like Fagan, performing in the production of Twelfth Night in 2000.

During rehearsals for that play and another directed by Schultz five years later, Booth claims she endured unwanted hugs, kisses and touching, as well as sexually suggestive language.

Albert’s hugs were different,” Booth said in an interview. “There were times in some of the hugs where I could feel his genitals against my body.”

Kristin Booth

Kristin Booth started at Soulpepper in 2000. Her breakthrough was a performance in a production of Twelfth Night. (Mario Anzuoni/Reuters)

She claims he would also kiss her on the lips and talk about enjoying “how soft and full they were,” as well as comment on her “milky white breasts in front of the other cast members.”

During a 2005 production of Olympia, Booth alleges Schultz took advantage of his position as director to touch her inappropriately as she and the lead actor rehearsed an intimate scene. She claims Schultz pushed the actor aside and the director “proceeded to run his hands up my body.”

Booth added that no other director has done that to her, not even on the set of the highly sexualized 2007 film Young People F–king, a performance for which she won a Genie Award.

Soulpepper turns to outside experts

The lawsuits filed in Ontario Superior Court allege Soulpepper either knew or was “willfully blind to the fact Albert was a sexual predator” and created a “poisonous work environment by not acting to curb the alleged behaviour.”

There have been allegations in the past. Soulpepper revealed in October 2017 that it had severed ties with longtime guest artist and director Laszlo Marton over allegations of sexual harassment reported to the theatre company two years ago.

The company said at the time it was “dedicated to creating a safe place of belonging for artists, audiences, and aspirants.”

In the wake of Marton’s dismissal, Soulpepper sent an internal email to staff obtained by CBC, which vowed to “improve on the workplace dynamics” and promised that management’s “doors continue to be open” to anyone wishing to speak with them.

In the memo, Soulpepper said an outside expert hired to review the company’s anti-harassment policies had submitted her report and that she “did not have any significant concerns.” The email also said managers were “not aware of any allegations of sexual harassment at Soulpepper” aside from those against Marton.

Soulpepper Albert Schultz

Schultz presided over the celebrations of Soulpepper’s 20th season at the Pershing Square Signature Theatre in New York City on Canada Day 2017. (Henry McGee/Soulpepper)

The email was co-signed by the theatre company’s head of human resources, Sarah Farrell, and executive director Leslie Lester, who is also married to Schultz.

The statements of claim allege Soulpepper’s harassment policy, instituted in March 2016, is flawed since it requires allegations of harassment be reported to the head of HR and/or Lester, “to whom cast members could not expect to report harassment, particularly sexual harassment” about her husband.

‘He was the boss’

For years, the four women said that they did not speak out about the alleged harassment out of fear of reprisals or losing work since, as one of the statements said, Schultz had “such power and reach in the Canadian theatre world.”

“There are so many actors and so few jobs. And so we just put up with it,” Fagan said, a worry echoed by her colleague.

“You didn’t want to displease Albert. You didn’t want to get in his line of sight because you would pay for it,” Booth told CBC. “I knew it was wrong. But I also wanted to keep my job.”

‘I’ve had a few people say, “You’re so brave,” and I don’t see it that way, because I’m terrified.’ – Kristin Booth

Booth said it was a difficult decision for her to move forward with a lawsuit against Schultz, even though she hasn’t worked with Soulpepper in 12 years and now concentrates on film and TV.

“I’ve had a few people say, ‘You’re so brave,’ and I don’t see it that way, because I’m terrified,” Booth told CBC.

“For me, it’s a necessity,” she added. “I don’t have a choice anymore.”


Do you work in the entertainment industry and have a story to share? Contact Salimah Shivji at salimah.shivji@cbc.ca or (416) 205-2287 or Saman Malik at saman.malik@cbc.ca or (416) 205-6017.