Man raped by inmates during 'scared straight' prison tour awarded $175K from B.C.

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https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/prison-assault-award-1.4934363
The B.C. government has been ordered to pay at least $175,000 to a man who was raped by several inmates during a "scared straight" tour of Oakalla Prison four decades ago.

The victim, known by the initials B.E.S. in court documents, was a teenager when he was forced to visit the Burnaby prison in the late 1970s. The tour was one of the terms of his probation for break and enter — a sort of "scared straight" form of sentencing to deter teens from committing crimes in the future, the judge told his parents.
[....]
Now 54, B.E.S. testified that a prison guard "grabbed him" when he arrived at Oakalla and led him to a cell where a group of inmates was waiting. The men tried to force him to perform oral sex and then took turns raping him, according to court documents.

He said the guard stood at the door, laughing, while he was sexually assaulted. When it was all over, B.E.S. said the guard pushed him against the wall and said, "That's what happens to little f--kers like you."

In a judgment handed down Tuesday, Justice Jennifer Duncan found that B.E.S. had, in fact, been sexually assaulted by a number of inmates at Oakalla, thanks to the actions of an unknown corrections officer.

"The province is vicariously liable for the actions of the unknown officer," Duncan wrote, awarding B.E.S. $150,000 in damages and $25,000 for the cost of future care, as well as his legal costs.

"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," the judge said.

She added that the award could grow in the weeks to come — special and punitive damages will be determined at another court date, yet to be scheduled.

But the judge rejected B.E.S.'s argument that the guard responsible was Roderick David MacDougall, a former officer at the long-shuttered prison who has been convicted of multiple sexual assaults against inmates. Over the years, dozens of civil suits have been filed against MacDougall for his abuse of prisoners.

When B.E.S. filed his own lawsuit, he named MacDougall as the officer responsible for what happened to him.

But his lawyer offered little evidence for that, other than the fact that MacDougall is a convicted sex offender who worked at Oakalla at the time of the assault.

"It is apparent that B.E.S. became aware of Mr. MacDougall through a counsellor he was seeing. B.E.S. candidly agreed that he 'assumed' Mr. MacDougall was the escort officer, based on information from his counsellor," Duncan wrote.

B.E.S. grew up in Coquitlam and had a "normal and happy childhood" in the years before the prison tour, according to the judgment.

His life took a turn when he started middle school in Grade 8 and made new friends. When he was 13 or 14, he and some friends broke into a home on a dare. They stole a TV and drank orange juice from the refrigerator.

It was not a successful heist. The police arrived almost immediately and arrested all the children and drove them home to their angry parents. B.E.S. was banned from hanging out with that group of friends.

His parents agreed to a tour of Oakalla as part of his sentence for the break-in.

The court heard that between the years of 1978 and 1981, the youth tour program at Oakalla was unstructured and the visits varied from child to child, depending on the whims of the supervising guard. Teenagers were locked in dark isolation cells, cat-called by inmates and subjected to other forms of verbal abuse.

"The foregoing features of a supposedly educational program are shocking in today's context, where there is a heightened awareness that sexual assault in general, and against children in particular, is an insidious social problem," Duncan wrote in her judgment.

In B.E.S.'s case, a female probation officer picked him up at home and drove him to the prison, where she handed him off to the unknown guard.

She drove him home again after the assault, apparently unaware of what had happened. B.E.S. says he told her nothing about the attack.

The assault left him bleeding and in pain for at least a week. He didn't speak of what happened to his parents or his friends, and all of his personal relationships were strained, according to the decision.

In the decades since the assault, B.E.S. has suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, personality disorder, major depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts and an addiction to cocaine.

Oakalla Prison closed its doors in 1991 and was demolished to make way for a housing development.
[....]
 

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Old Man Metal

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#3
Where was the proof that this actually happened. If he told no one and no rape kit was completed how can they be sure.
There doesn't seem to be any actual evidence.

It's a civil suit, so the standard of proof is lower than if it were a criminal trial. The prosecution's case boils down to this: "B.E.S. was a credible and reliable witness whose evidence proves on a balance of probabilities that the sexual assault occurred, in the manner and location he described." (emphasis mine).

The defense is summarized as "B.E.S.’s evidence is lacking in reliability and credibility in a number of key respects and therefore, he has not discharged the burden of proof. There are no independent records to confirm the plaintiff’s arrest, probation or requirement that he tour Oakalla. B.E.S. could not identify the probation officer who took him to Oakalla or the correctional officer who conducted his tour of Oakalla with any level of certainty. B.E.S. never complained to police or his parents. He did not call evidence from his family members to substantiate elements of his complaint."

Source
 

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cubby

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#11
I understand a lawsuit not requiring the standard of evidence that a criminal trial would need, but there seems to be no evidence, at all, that he was ever even anywhere near the prison, only his word that it even happened, and 40 years ago, at that.

I don't understand how it can be ruled on if it can't be proved (even at 50%) that it he even visited the prison.
 

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Old Man Metal

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I understand a lawsuit not requiring the standard of evidence that a criminal trial would need, but there seems to be no evidence, at all, that he was ever even anywhere near the prison, only his word that it even happened, and 40 years ago, at that.

I don't understand how it can be ruled on if it can't be proved (even at 50%) that it he even visited the prison.
Agreed. After reading the Reasons for Judgment, I do not think that this lawsuit should have ended in favor of the plaintiff.

Worth noting that is does not appear to have been a jury trial, as the judge appears to have been the one determining guilt (see [174] ).
 

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Sudonim

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The entire suit should have been dismissed. Especially when the Judge turned down the part of the suit against the guard. The entire case is built around him needing to name someone. You can't sue an entire system 40 years down the road if you can't even remember details of the crime. It is also considered tampering and it should have nullified all his testimony.
When B.E.S. filed his own lawsuit, he named MacDougall as the officer responsible for what happened to him.

But his lawyer offered little evidence for that, other than the fact that MacDougall is a convicted sex offender who worked at Oakalla at the time of the assault.

"It is apparent that B.E.S. became aware of Mr. MacDougall through a counsellor he was seeing. B.E.S. candidly agreed that he 'assumed' Mr. MacDougall was the escort officer, based on information from his counsellor," Duncan wrote.
The Judge saw evidence that people where verbally abused on these tours and jumped instantly to they must have raped him, despite him never presenting any form of evidence...

The court heard that between the years of 1978 and 1981, the youth tour program at Oakalla was unstructured and the visits varied from child to child, depending on the whims of the supervising guard. Teenagers were locked in dark isolation cells, cat-called by inmates and subjected to other forms of verbal abuse.

"The foregoing features of a supposedly educational program are shocking in today's context, where there is a heightened awareness that sexual assault in general, and against children in particular, is an insidious social problem," Duncan wrote in her judgment.

In B.E.S.'s case, a female probation officer picked him up at home and drove him to the prison, where she handed him off to the unknown guard.

She drove him home again after the assault, apparently unaware of what had happened. B.E.S. says he told her nothing about the attack.
For those unaware, Oakalla is infamous as one of our rougher prisons. It would be like Riker's for you Americans, except that it was a prison work farm. It was originally built to house 200 people, at the peak it was housing over 1000 people. The biggest problems were that they housed very violent criminals in the same spaces they housed petty criminals. The prison is probably one of the most insecure I've ever heard of. There are almost 900 escapes on record. The prisoner's basically ran the place, forcing the staff to resort to what is now unusual punishment, but was at the time, a common way to deal with prisoners. People in the hole got treated the same as they did on the units. Including being given items that you'd never see someone in seg get now days. It wasn't good enough and it triggered a riot and escape that ultimately lead to the prison eventually being shut down.

Here's a recent article that gives a bit of insight from both prisoner and guard perspective.
https://globalnews.ca/news/4414861/oakalla-prison-riot-escape/

Testimony is evidence.
It is and it isn't. An affidavit, while being able to be presented in court, isn't actually evidence that a crime was committed. All it is is your version of events that you swear to be true. Any lawyer worth its weight will tell you to fudge up as much as you can in the affidavit because you can't actually be cross examined about it in Canadian courts. The only rebuttal is for the opposing party to submit their own affidavit which counters the points. It is considered hearsay evidence. He said/she said. Forbidden in Canadian law unless you meet one of the exemptions, which he didn't.

Also..in BC there is a 6 year statue of limitations on civil court proceedings. This shouldn't have been allowed to proceed regardless. Criminal cases, which would require a higher burden of proof don't have a statue of limitations.

It's also mighty convenient that he never told anyone what happened and only filed a suit after all documents had been destroyed.
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Worth noting that is does not appear to have been a jury trial, as the judge appears to have been the one determining guilt (see [174] ).
Only criminal cases get jury trials in Canada. Anything civil goes before a civil court judge. Most of which barely know the laws they are dealing with because their field is so vast. The same Judge will be trying everything from bankruptcy to debts owed to stuff like this.
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Going for 3 posts in a row!

Can't find any information on when it was filed, but it was tried January 29-31, 2018, February 1-2, 5, 7-9, 14-15, 2018 and June 6-7, 2018.
You actually posted the information that narrows when he filed down lol 2018 BCSC 2138<-- the docket number gives that information. He filed in 2018 and it was assigned to the BC Supreme Civil Court. Case #2138. That the first trial date is in Jan it means he filed 1-2 weeks prior(you get the initial court date really quick after filing). Had the first hearing which basically is just to assert that the defendants will challenge and to set a new trial date for the actual trial.
 
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