A former Yukon College student being sued by her former instructor over an allegedly defamatory Facebook post implying he had sexually assaulted her has filed a statement of defence and counterclaim.
Charles Stuart, the former coordinator of Yukon College’s northern justice and criminology program, was fired over the summer following an internal investigation into sexual assault allegations a student made against him.
Stuart filed a lawsuit against the student, whom the News is not naming, in October, alleging that a Facebook post she made following his dismissal, in which she mentions “standing up against sexualized assault” without explicitly naming him, was defamatory. He also denied having non-consensual sexual contact with the student.
The student filed a statement of defence and counterclaim on Nov. 30 laying out her version of events.
According to the statement of defence, the student started studying criminology at the college in 2015 and that Stuart was her instructor. She had a “violent argument” with her then-boyfriend in November 2016, the statement continues, after which she confided in Stuart and “sought his advice in legal matters regarding her situation because of his expertise in Criminology” because he “was in a position of trust.”
Over the next two semesters, the statement of defence alleges, Stuart provided advice to the student “numerous times” and she “felt she could trust him.”
The two went out for dinner and then to a bar in October 2017, the statement of defence claims, during which the student “had several drinks and became intoxicated while (Stuart) did not.”
“Due to her intoxication (the student) was unable to give consent when (Stuart) took her to his home and sexually assaulted her there,” the document alleges.
The statement of defence denies that the student’s Facebook post “communicated a false statement,” also noting that it was “so vague in regards to the identity of the perpetrator that no reasonable reader of the post would know that it was referring to (Stuart) unless he or she had special knowledge.” Alternatively, the statement continues, Stuart did not suffer any harm from the post, nor was the post made with malicious intent.
Addressing Stuart’s claim that he received a letter from the student’s lawyer that “threatened” legal action unless he paid the student $200,000, the statement of defence states that the letter had ordered Stuart to pay for the student’s damages arising from the alleged sexual assault, but that he had responded by filing the defamation lawsuit.
The statement asks for Stuart’s statement of claim to be dismissed.
The student’s counterclaim seeks damages and legal costs against Stuart, claiming that the alleged sexual assault left the student with “acute and chronic psychological trauma,” “impaired social relationships,” “requirement for on-going counselling” and “stress and anxiety,” among other things.
“In the weeks following the Sexual Assaults, (the student) filed a complaint with the College, abandoned her College degree and ultimately left Whitehorse because she feared another encounter with (Stuart),” the counterclaim alleges.
“At present, the harm suffered causes and continues to cause (the student) pain, suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life, and past and future care costs.”
None of the allegations have been tested in court.
Contact Jackie Hong at firstname.lastname@example.org