Company that gave rapist keys to dozens of apartments refuses to compensate victim

A Calgary company that gave a convicted rapist keys to dozens of apartments has refused to compensate a woman who was forced to move after she was victimized.

Apartment caretaker Phillip Skulnec admitted to breaking into woman's home to sexually assault her

Convicted rapist Phillip Allan Skulnec was given keys to dozens of apartments by Marri Properties and used one of them to break into a woman's unit. Although the woman had to move and cancel a trip, the company has refused to compensate her. (Postmedia, Google Street View)

A Calgary company that gave a convicted rapist keys to dozens of apartments has refused to compensate a woman who was forced to move after she was victimized.

In February 2017, the woman woke early one morning to find Phillip Skulnec — her building's caretaker — hovering over her bed.

"I'm sure he was about to get in my bed but I woke up and I screamed so loud," Lisa told CBC News.

Lisa isn't her real name. CBC News has agreed not to name the 36-year-old in order to protect her children and because she still fears for her safety. 

In order to get into her apartment, Skulnec had used keys given to him by Marri Properties, which owns the Willow Green Estates complex in southeast Calgary.

Within hours of the break-in, Lisa learned Skulnec had previously been convicted of raping a woman in Edmonton. He also broke into that woman's apartment. 

"That's when I just broke down and knew immediately that I could never go back to that apartment. This was a really bad person and I was really lucky to not get hurt."

Earlier this year, Skulnec pleaded guilty to breaking and entering with the intent to sexually assault his victim. He was sentenced to one year in jail plus two years probation.

Trip to Africa cancelled

The costs associated with Lisa's victimization have accumulated over the last year and a half.

Unable to be in her home after the break-in, she uprooted her daughters — including one with special needs — and moved right away.

She cancelled a trip to Africa, worth about $12,000, which she had won. Lisa was supposed to leave within 10 days of the incident, but had developed an ulcer and was worried about suffering physically and mentally in a far-away country.

There were also costs associated with therapy and taking stress leave from work. 

Not covered by insurance 

When Lisa's father tried to help his daughter recoup some of the costs she was facing, Marri Properties refused to compensate her, sending the family to its insurer, Intact.

But Lisa says she's been unable to get the insurance company nailed down on where it stands with her claim. For now, it seems to have stalled.

Citing privacy concerns, Intact was unable to provide details about Marri Properties' coverage. But in a statement, a spokesperson said not all types of risks are covered under insurance. 

"For businesses, some risks such as terrorism, nuclear, and abuse are not typically covered under an insurance contract," wrote spokesperson Hazel Tan.

Marri Properties manager Colin Wagner refused to comment when contacted by CBC News. 

"I don't want to talk to you… I have no comment," he said, and hung up. 

Do background checks, victim urges

Lisa says the whole experience — which also involved facing her would-be attacker in court — has been "unbelievably emotional." She suffers from anxiety and wakes up around 3:00 a.m. every night, the same time she found Skulnec at her bedside.

She says she never felt like Marri Properties took her situation seriously.

"They really had a wall up right away," she said. "They didn't seem to care about what had happened to me."

Lisa also wants to see the company and others do background checks on employees who are given access to people's homes, which is not required under Alberta law. 

"He should have never had that job."

About the Author

Meghan Grant

CBC Calgary reporter

Meghan Grant is the courts and crime reporter for CBC Calgary.