Prince Edward Island’s provincial flag flies on a flag pole in Ottawa on July 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Prince Edward Island’s provincial flag flies on a flag pole in Ottawa on July 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Family of P.E.I. teen files civil lawsuit against sex offender, arts organizations

The lawsuit is seeking $1.5 million in damages

The family of a girl who was sexually abused by a Prince Edward Island actor involved in a theatre production in Charlottetown has filed a civil lawsuit against the perpetrator and two arts organizations on the Island.

The lawsuit, which is seeking $1.5 million in damages, was filed last week after 37-year-old Aaron Philip Crane pleaded guilty to sexual interference and was sentenced Jan. 5 to six years in prison.

The civil action, which names Crane, the P.E.I. Arts Guild and Anne and Gilbert Inc., alleges that complaints about Crane’s inappropriate sexual behaviour were not acted upon by staff at the arts facility or the production company that was leasing the building.

The lawsuit also names Allana Jankov, chief executive officer of the P.E.I. Arts Guild, and Campbell Webster, who is identified in the lawsuit as director and executive producer of the musical production “Anne and Gilbert.”

The girl, whose identity is protected from publication by a court order, was under 16 at the time of the abuse. Details of the case that would identify her cannot be published.

The allegations in the statement of claim, filed on Jan. 8 with the Supreme Court of Prince Edward Island, have not been proven in court.

An email sent to the P.E.I. Arts Guild seeking comment from Jankov and Webster did not receive a response from either person.

However, the Guild’s board of directors issued a statement acknowledging the severity of the issue, but noting that the perpetrator and victim were not employees of the Guild.

“To date, no employees of the Guild or its board have been contacted by the authorities regarding the matter,” the statement says. “Given that the Supreme Court (of Prince Edward Island) has issued and upheld a publication ban, we will not be commenting on the specifics of the claim.”

A representative for Anne and Gilbert Inc. issued a statement saying it would be “irresponsible and potentially illegal for our organization to make any public statement about the allegations made in a lawsuit filed about this matter.”

“Through our legal counsel, we will be presenting our position in this lawsuit and we are confident in the ability of the courts to make a fair decision on this matter, based on evidence.”

The statement of claim alleges that Crane groomed his victim for a sexual purpose on the Guild’s premises.

It also alleges that Webster and Jankov knew or ought to have known that Crane’s inappropriate behaviour had at one point “intensified in plain view” of those involved with the Guild, and there was commentary circulating “that Crane was a ‘pedophile.’”

As well, the lawsuit alleges Webster and Jankov knew or ought to have known that a stage manager had lodged a complaint regarding Crane’s inappropriate behaviour. However, Crane refused to comply with requests to leave the girl alone, the lawsuit says.

According to an agreed statement of facts cited in the sentencing decision from P.E.I. Supreme Court Justice Terri MacPherson, Crane met the girl at a young age and started grooming her for “sexually intrusive contact.”

The decision confirms that the pair’s conduct drew the attention of a stage manager, who told them they were not permitted to be together in private “because people were throwing the word ‘pedophile’ around.”

Crane was undeterred by this direct cautioning, the judge said in her decision.

When the girl’s parents discovered the girl had received questionable texts from Crane, they asked police to intervene. The officers told Crane to leave the girl alone, but he ignored that request, the decision says.

“Not even this level of caution stopped Crane from continuing to have regular, daily sexual interaction” with the girl, the judge said.

Crane was arrested in March 2020 after the victim disclosed the nature of their relationship to a counsellor, court heard.

MacPherson’s decision also says that police later learned Crane had been confronted by some colleagues and was warned to end the relationship “on numerous occasions” before he was eventually fired from his position.

Crane pleaded guilty to the charge on Sept. 30, 2020.

The statement of claim alleges that Jankov and Webster knew or ought to have known that Crane had previously been the subject of complaints about inappropriate sexual relations with young female cast members.

The civil lawsuit also alleges that those working at the Guild failed in their duty to report Crane’s behaviour to the girl’s parents, police and child protection services.

“Inappropriate touching occurred openly on the premises,’” the statement of claim says.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. (News Bulletin file photo)
COVID-19 outbreak declared at Nanaimo’s NRGH

Two staff members and one patient have tested positive

A long-term care worker receives the Pfizer vaccine at a clinic in Nanaimo earlier this month. (Island Health photo)
All seniors in long-term care on the Island will be vaccinated by the end of this weekend

Immunization of high-risk population will continue over the next two months

Environment Canada is forecasting snow for the east Vancouver Island region the weekend of Jan. 23. (Black Press file)
UPDATE: Snowfall warning issued for Nanaimo area, up to 5 cm forecast

Snow to begin Saturday night, according to Environment Canada

Chartwell Malaspina Care Residence in Nanaimo. (News Bulletin file photo)
New positive COVID-19 case at Nanaimo care home, where outbreak was declared

Chartwell Malaspina Care Residence employee is isolating, says Island Health

Emergency crews were called to a semi-truck crash along the Trans-Canada Highway at Oyster Sto’Lo Road on Friday, Jan. 22. (Cole Schisler/Black Press)
Semi truck crashes off the side of the highway in Ladysmith

Driver taken to hospital as precaution after single-vehicle crash Friday

Terry Keogh, an RDN Transit driver, used his paramedic skills the morning of Jan. 22 after coming across an unconscious woman along his route in downtown Nanaimo. (RDN Transit photo)
RDN Transit driver stops his bus and helps get overdosing woman breathing again

Former EMT from Ireland performed CPR on a woman in downtown Nanaimo on Friday

Actions of Vancouver Island RCMP emergency response team members prevented a potential head-on collision accident on the Trans-Canada Highway on Jan. 19, says Nanaimo RCMP. (News Bulletin file)
Eight cars evade vehicle driving on wrong side of highway, says Nanaimo RCMP

Incident occurred near Trans-Canada Highway-Morden Road intersection earlier this week

Comox Valley RCMP are looking for witnesses after the theft of a generator worth thousands of dollars. Photo supplied
RCMP asking Vancouver Island residents to watch for stolen generator

Vehicle may have been travelling on Highway 19

Emergency crews were called to a crash involving a hatchback and a taxi minivan at the intersection of Fitzwilliam, Pine and Third streets on Friday afternoon. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
Driver hurt as taxi and hatchback crash in Nanaimo

Collision happened Friday at intersection of Fitzwilliam, Pine and Third streets

BC Coroners Service is currently investigating a death at Canoe Cove Marina and Boatyard in North Saanich. (Black Press Media File)
Drowning death in North Saanich likely B.C.’s first in for 2021

Investigation into suspected drowning Monday night continues

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam speaks during a daily briefing in Ottawa. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld)
31 cases of COVID-19 variants detected in Canada: Health officials

Dr. Theresa Tam made announces 13 more variant COVID-19 cases in Canada

A 75-year-old aircraft has been languishing in a parking lot on the campus of the University of the Fraser Valley, but will soon be moved to the B.C. Aviation Museum. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Vintage military aircraft moving from Chilliwack to new home at B.C. Aviation Museum

The challenging move to Vancouver Island will be documented by Discovery Channel film crews

A video posted to social media by Chilliwack resident Rob Iezzi shows a teenager getting kicked in the face after being approached by three suspects on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (YouTube/Rob i)
VIDEO: Security cameras capture ‘just one more assault’ near B.C. high school

Third high-school related assault captured by Chilliwack resident’s cameras since beginning of 2021

FILE - In this Feb. 14, 2017, file photo, Oklahoma State Rep. Justin Humphrey prepares to speak at the State Capitol in Oklahoma City. A mythical, ape-like creature that has captured the imagination of adventurers for decades has now become the target of Rep. Justin Humphrey. Humphrey, a Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season, He says issuing a state hunting license and tag could help boost tourism. (Steve Gooch/The Oklahoman via AP, File)
Oklahoma lawmaker proposes ‘Bigfoot’ hunting season

A Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season

Most Read