Ex-inmate launches suit against B.C., guard
A former inmate of the Oakalla prison in Burnaby, B.C., has launched a class-action lawsuit against the provincial government and the prison guard he claims sexually assaulted him.
Former guard and supervisor Roderick David MacDougall has already been convicted on nine counts of indecent and sexual assault against prisoners.
Several former inmates have successfully sued MacDougall and the provincial government, with some awarded compensation of up to $60,000.
A class-action lawsuit against MacDougall and the province was launched Tuesday on behalf of a former inmate identified only by his initials, E.D.L.
If successful, lawyers said in a written release, the suit would apply to all individuals who were victimized by MacDougall at Oakalla.
Lawyer James Poyner said that although the suit represents only one plaintiff, he is hoping more people will come forward, as there may be dozens of other victims.
"Clearly, the provincial government knew what had happened. They were sued, these cases went to court, but they did nothing about it."
Poyner argues the government failed to investigate allegations of abuse, even after MacDougall was convicted.
"What bothers me about all of this … is that more than 100 other victims of MacDougall had been identified by the date of the last court case in 2006," he said.
"Why did the government not conduct a thorough review and make sure that all of the victims were found, interviewed and helped in whatever fashion appeared to be best suited to each individual case?"
Lawyers are seeking unspecified damages.
It's not clear how long it may take before a judge decides whether the lawsuit can move forward.
MacDougall, who worked for the B.C. Corrections Service from 1976 until he resigned while under investigation in 1997, served three years and seven months behind bars.
Oakalla was closed in 1991, and has been replaced by a large housing development.