Manitoba

Jackie Healey sues Red River College after attack left her blind in 1 eye

A student left blind in one eye after a brutal work placement attack is now suing Red River College and the Selkirk Behavioural Health Foundation, claiming both acted negligently by leaving her alone with dangerous offenders.

Selkirk Behavioural Health Foundation also named in suit after intern beaten during work placement

Jackie Healey was severely injured when she was attacked at the Behavioural Health Foundation male youth facility in Selkirk, Man. (Facebook)

A Manitoba student left blind in one eye after a brutal work placement attack is now suing Red River College and the Selkirk Behavioural Health Foundation, claiming both acted negligently by leaving her alone with dangerous offenders.

Jackie Healey, 23, says she was beaten by two youths wielding a baseball bat and a sock filled with pool balls while working at the addictions treatment facility in Selkirk, Man., on May 29. A staff member at the Behavioural Health Foundation was also injured.

The attack happened on Healey's final day working with the male youth services program, which was set to close just weeks later in June.

A 17-year-old and a 16-year-old were charged with 17 offences between them, including aggravated assault and possession of a weapon.

Healey, who was enrolled in her first year of Red River College's child and youth care program, filed a lawsuit against the college and the Behavioural Health Foundation last Friday with the Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench.

None of the allegations have been proven in court. The Selkirk Behavioural Health Foundation was not immediately available for comment and has not filed a statement of defence. 

Robert Tapper, Healey's lawyer, said his client is still recovering from the serious physical, emotional and psychological injuries she suffered.

The college has rules that should have prevented the attack, he said.

"She is a student and she's doing the practical aspect of her course at the behavioural centre, and currently there's an obligational guard at Red River to make sure that when they send somebody to a situation like that, that the security of that person is going to be looked after," Tapper said.

Healey's statement of claim says her supervisor at the BHF asked her to go downstairs by herself to watch residents at the facility for an hour during "activity time." 

Healey was left 99 per cent blind in her left eye. She has now filed a lawsuit against Red River College and the facility where she was doing a work placement. (Jackie Healey/Submitted to CBC )

The claim states that after initially being threatened with a stick in the basement, Healey was "[left] alone with various attendants of the BHF in violation of the mandate that she not be such, and was viciously assaulted on the third floor by one or more BHF attendants."

The claim goes on to say Healey was "hit in the back of her head by a stick or baseball bat and then struck multiple times about her head and face."

The attack broke several bones in Healey's head and face, and she lost vision in her left eye.

Healey is seeking general damages, "punitive, exemplary and aggravated damages," legal fees and interest, and "other relief as counsel may advise."

College investigating attack

In June, Red River College said the attack was unprecedented. The college and Workplace Health and Safety have launched separate investigations.

Red River College released a statement that said the college is committed to supporting Healey throughout her recovery and in her educational pursuits.

"Red River College is committed to ensuring that our students are safe and secure in all educational settings. We are investigating this incident thoroughly to determine what occurred and what improvements can be made," the statement said.

 The college would not comment further on the incident now that a lawsuit is before the courts.

With files from Meaghan Ketcheson

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