British Columbia

Fired UBC prof suing woman who accused him of sexual assault

Former UBC professor Steven Galloway is suing 20 people for defamation, including the woman who first accused him of sexual misconduct three years ago.

Steven Galloway has named 20 individuals in defamation lawsuit, including UBC profs and former students

Former UBC creative writing department head Steven Galloway is suing 20 named individuals for defamation. (Frances Raud)

Former UBC professor Steven Galloway is suing 20 people for defamation, including the woman who first accused him of sexual misconduct three years ago.

The claim, filed in B.C. Supreme Court, says artist and former university professor Caralea Cole made false statements, accusing Galloway of rape, sexual assault and physical assault, that were "recklessly repeated" by several other defendants within UBC and publicly on the internet.

This is the first time Cole has been named in relation to the case.

The suit also names UBC professors Keith Maillard and Annabel Lyon as defendants, along with former UBC students Glynnis Kirchmeier, Brit Bachmann and Chelsea Rooney.

Suspended, then fired

Galloway, former head of UBC's creative writing program was suspended by the school in 2015 and then fired in 2016.

The case sparked a divisive debate on campus and in the Canadian literary community.

In his claim, Galloway says he and Cole were both married when they started a consensual romantic affair that lasted over two years. 

"Cole subsequently made the false allegations of rape, sexual assault and physical assault ... despite knowing the allegations to be false and designed to deflect blame and create a false narrative to portray herself as innocent in the affair," reads the claim.

Defamations spread 'with express malice'

The claim alleges the defamations were spread by the other defendants "with express malice" and "reckless willingness to publish accusations without knowledge of their truth or falsehood..."

The claim also cites the findings of a 2016 independent report by former B.C. Supreme Court justice Mary Ellen Boyd who found allegations made by Cole against Galloway to be unsubstantiated. 

Boyd's findings have never been made public by UBC.

In June, Galloway was awarded $167,000 in damages from UBC after an arbitrator found that the school had contravened his privacy rights and harmed his reputation. Earlier this month, he was awarded an additional $60,000 by the same arbitrator. 

In addition to the alleged false statements made by Cole, Galloway is claiming a second instance of defamation arising from an art show she mounted in New York this past summer entitled Illuminated Manuscript.

On her website, the show is described as being derived "from what Cole refers to as her "Rape Narrative," a narrative (and term) sanctioned by a university after she disclosed being sexually harassed, assaulted and abused by a professor."

CBC reached out to Cole for comment but has yet to receive a response.

Along with the 20 named defendants, Galloway is also suing unidentified individuals John Doe, Jane Doe, Jane Roe, Jill Roe and the person behind the twitter handle, @Susie_BedBug. 

He is seeking damages, costs and a permanent injunction requiring the defendants to remove defamatory postings and not to repeat them in the future. 

None of the allegations have been proven in court. As of the time of publishing, statements of defence from the parties named in the lawsuit had yet to be filed.