A British Columbia man being held in a Metro Vancouver pretrial centre claims he was sexually assaulted as he slept by another inmate and has filed a lawsuit against his alleged attacker, the jail’s warden and the provincial government, CBC News has learned.

Paul Olsen, of Chilliwack, B.C., alleges in his lawsuit that in January, he was incarcerated with a cellmate at the North Fraser Pretrial Centre in Port Coquitlam, B.C. The cellmate was known by staff to be a dangerous offender with a history of hostage-taking who had already sexually assaulted another cellmate.

Olsen, 37, who remains incarcerated on charges of assault, says he was in a cell alone when in December 2010 inmate Hunter Harcus was also housed in the cell. Olsen said he agreed to be double-bunked with the Harcus due to over-crowding at the jail.

What he did not know is that Harcus had allegedly used a weapon in the assault of another inmate at the pretrial centre and that jail management was well aware of the incident, Olsen alleges.

According to the Notice of Civil Claim filed by Olsen, he was sleeping when Harcus set upon him on Jan. 7, unlawfully confined him, assaulted him with a weapon, sexually assaulted him with a weapon and threatened to kill him.

Harcus charged

Olsen said he awoke with his underwear pulled down, while Harcus jammed a pen against his throat and sodomized him with a pencil.

"This guy should never have been in my cell," Olsen told CBC News reporter Eric Rankin in an exclusive interview. "They know it full well. He shouldn't have had a roommate, period. He was put in segregation on special handling because he took another guy hostage. Like are you kidding me? I don't understand."

Olsen described the alleged attack as "devastating."


Hunter Harcus has been charged in connection with the alleged assault on Olsen.

"You know, you're violated. You feel shame every day," he said.

He claims that due to the assault, he has sustained injuries to his head, neck, legs and rectum, and suffers nightmares, anxiety, sleeplessness, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Harcus faces charges in connection to the alleged assault on Olsen, including unlawful confinement, assault with a weapon, sexual assault with a weapon.

With files from the CBC's Eric Rankin