North

2 Yellowknife jail workers 'no longer employed' after sexual misconduct investigation

Former inmate Kelly Canadian is suing the Government of the Northwest Territories for more than $1 million for alleged sexual abuse he says he experienced while incarcerated.

Kelly Canadian alleges he was abused by an employee at North Slave Correctional Complex

Kelly Canadian says he was abused between 30 and 40 times. He's suing the N.W.T. government for $1.25 million for damages after alleged sexual abuse at the Yellowknife jail. (Kelly Canadian/Facebook)

Two employees at Yellowknife's North Slave Correctional Complex no longer work at the jail after the Department of Justice launched an investigation into allegations of sexual abuse against an inmate.

The employees were suspended in December "pending the outcome of the investigation," a spokesperson for the Department of Justice said in an email that month.

At the time, CKLB reported that the deputy minister of justice, Martin Goldney, confirmed that two North Slave Correctional Complex (NSCC) guards were suspended with pay while an investigation into alleged sexual misconduct at the jail was underway.

Kelly Canadian, a former inmate, said he was sexually abused by employees of the jail. He was in the jail three times starting in February 2016 and ending in May 2017.

The two subjects of the investigation are no longer members of the Corrections Service.- Martin Goldney, deputy minister of justice

Now, "the workplace investigation into the serious allegations made by Mr. Canadian have been completed," said Goldney in an email.

"The two subjects of the investigation are no longer members of the Corrections Service and are no longer employed with the Government of the Northwest Territories."

Suing government for $1M

Further details of Canadian's alleged abuse are outlined in a statement of claim filed by Canadian on Feb. 7 against the government of the Northwest Territories. The statement of claim only points to one employee's conduct.

Canadian is suing the territorial government for $1.25 million. He alleges that a male NSCC employee coerced him into engaging in oral sex and acts of masturbation over 30 to 40 incidents.

The North Slave Correctional Complex in Yellowknife. The deputy minister of justice says 'the two subjects of the investigation are no longer members of the Corrections Service.' (Walter Strong/CBC)

The employee "established a position of trust with [Canadian], for the purpose of establishing a sexual relationship," states the claim.

It also states that the employee tried to hide the alleged abuse by making sure he was alone with Canadian, meeting him in areas that weren't monitored by security cameras, and coercing Canadian not to tell anyone about their encounters by offering him letters of support to help his case.

The claim says NSCC became aware of the relationship, and that the territorial government had a responsibility to protect Canadian against "sexual abuse, emotional, spiritual and physical and other abuse while he remained in custody."

[The employee] established a position of trust with [Canadian], for the purpose of establishing a sexual relationship. - Kelly Canadian's statement of claim

It says the N.W.T. government was negligent in ensuring that all personnel were properly screened, proper policy was in place, other staff were present when Canadian was with the employee, and for having no appropriate complaint process for victims of sexual abuse.

Canadian says the alleged abuse impaired his ability to "experience a normal life," and led to mental distress, social anxiety, humiliation, depression, suicidal thoughts and an inability to trust authority figures, according to the claim.

Canadian is a member of the Chipewyan First Nation. Because he is Indigenous, "which further increases his vulnerability," he is entitled to $500,000 in aggravated damages, according to the claim.

Canadian is also seeking $250,000 for general damages, $100,000 for future loss of income and $50,000 for future counselling, among other claims, totaling $1.25 million in damages.

None of the allegations in the claim have been proven in court. 

Department of Justice spokesperson Sue Glowach said in an email that, as of Thursday at noon, the territorial government had "not yet been served with a statement of claim relating to the allegations made by Mr. Canadian." 

She said once the claim was served, the territorial government would carefully review and respond through the court process. 

Human rights violation

Canadian previously settled an unrelated human rights complaint against the jail. Canadian alleged the staff mistreated him based on his sexual orientation, sometimes referring to him using homophobic slurs.

For that settlement, Canadian received $5,000 for his time spent at the facility in 2016.

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