N.W.T. gov't denies men were sexually abused at Inuvik Child Welfare Centre

The two N.W.T. men, known as John Doe 15 and John Doe 16, are suing the commissioner of the Northwest Territories for a decade of sexual abuse they say they suffered at a former territorial child welfare facility in Inuvik between 1989 and 1999.

Warning: This story contains details that may be disturbing

The Yellowknife courthouse. In its statement of defence, the territorial government 'denies each and every allegation' made by the defendants. It says that if the men were abused, it wasn't by a staff member. (CBC)

The Government of the Northwest Territories is denying that two men were sexually abused at a government-run child welfare centre in the 1990s.

The two N.W.T. men, known as John Doe 15 and John Doe 16, are suing the commissioner of the Northwest Territories for a decade of sexual abuse they say they suffered at a former territorial child welfare facility in Inuvik between 1989 and 1999. 

In court documents, the men claim they were repeatedly molested and raped by their supposed caregivers at the former Inuvik Child Welfare Centre over the span of a decade. One of the men claims a staff member forced him to pose naked for photographs and to engage in sexual acts with other children who were also residents of the centre.

In its statement of defence, the territorial government "denies each and every allegation" made by the plaintiffs. It says that if the men were abused, it wasn't by a staff member.

The allegations have not been proven in court. None of the alleged abusers or employees of the centre have been identified.

Suing under pseudonyms

Earlier this year, a Supreme Court judge agreed to withhold the identities of the two men from public record. The court is allowing them to sue the government under pseudonyms. Only their lawyers, the judge and the territorial government will ever know their identities.

In court documents, the men claim the territorial government failed to protect them from harm while they were at the child welfare facility. They say the government failed to properly screen the operator and staff at the facility "whose lack of qualifications was overlooked or ignored."

The two plaintiffs also claim territorial child welfare officials, who were supposed to be overseeing the centre, never requested reports from the centre's operator or any of its staff, and failed to regularly visit the facility or interview the children in care.

In its statement of defence, the government says the facility and its programs were "...reasonable and carried out by its agents and employees in the good faith execution of their responsibilities and within the budgetary restraints available to them."

The court documents do not specify how much compensation the men will be asking for.

Clarifications

  • This story has been updated to clarify who are the defendants and plaintiffs.
    Dec 05, 2018 10:20 AM CT