Family of girl sexually abused by ringette coach sues for $740K
Ringette Calgary, coaches named in lawsuit
The family of a young girl who was sexually abused by her coach is suing Ringette Canada and several others for more than $740,000.
Kelsea Joy Hepburn was convicted of sexual touching and invitation to sexual touching for incidents that started in 2010 with a female player who was 13 years old.
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Hepburn was the assistant coach of the girl's under-14 AA ringette team at the time.
According to a Statement of Claim filed at the Calgary Courts Centre, her victim has "sustained severe permanent psychological and psychiatric injuries which are caused solely due to the negligence of the defendants."
The girl now suffers with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and has thoughts of suicide, according to the document.
She is on medication and has also been diagnosed with anxiety and depression.
During the trial, the girl told the court Hepburn would initiate touching and kissing during several incidents.
Inappropriate texts brought up in court
She also testified Hepburn frequently said through texts that she felt like a criminal or a predator.
Hepburn, the team's two other coaches and all governing bodies of ringette in Canada — including Ringette Calgary — are named as defendants in the lawsuit.
The two other coaches named in the document are accused of failing to ensure Hepburn had her own room on team trips. The statement also claims the coaches failed to reprimand and provide supervision to Hepburn after her victim's parents reported concerns in October 2010.
The parents say they alerted the coaches of the potential danger that Hepburn posed to players because of inappropriate behaviour already demonstrated towards their daughter.
The governing bodies — including Ringette Canada, Ringette Alberta and Ringette Calgary — are alleged to have failed to properly investigate Hepner's background before allowing her to coach minors.
To compensate for costs associated with her care and for general and punitive damages, the girl's parents are seeking more than $740,000 on their daughter's behalf from the defendants.
None of the accusations made against the two male coaches or ringette's governing bodies have been proven in court and statements of defence have not yet been filed.