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

A Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation guardian took this photo of dozens of vehicles parked along a forest service road in the Kennedy watershed. (Submitted photo)
Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District looks at enforcement of illegal camping

ACRD currently does not have an existing bylaw service to tackle the issue

Randy Brown, owner of Wintergreen Apartments on Fourth Avenue, has five trailers and a motorhome at the back of his property that he is renting to people who had been previously homeless. He wants to put 15 trailers on his property, hooked up to city sewer and water and BC Hydro. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
Building owner digs in heels, refuses to remove illegal trailers from property

Port Alberni council gives owner two-week reprieve on remediation orders

A photo of the excavated area at McLean Mill at the end of the rail line, taken on Dec. 16, 2020. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
No environmental risk from oil spill at McLean Mill, says consultant

Terrawest Environmental concludes ‘end of spill’ report at national historic site

Melissa Martin from the Rollin Art Centre holds two paintings from the Rollin Art Centre’s permanent collection: an original portrait painted by the late Robert Aller, and a mixed media piece called ‘House’ from Peggy Larson that was part of Aller’s private collection. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
Rollin Art Centre puts permanent collection on display

Works from Robert Aller, Arthur Lismer, Norval Morrisseau to be featured

A woman wears a face mask and shield to curb the spread of COVID-19 while walking in North Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday, January 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
536 COVID cases, 7 deaths reported as B.C. find its first case of South African variant

Henry said 69,746 people have received their first dose of the COVID vaccine.

Alan Davidson was sentenced to almost six years for abusing seven boys in the late 1970s and early 1990s. (Canadian Press file)
Full parole granted to former Mountie, sports coach convicted of sex abuse of boys

Alan Davidson convicted of abusing boys in B.C. and Saskatchewan in late ’70s, early ’90s

The first COVID-19 vaccine arrives in B.C. in temperature-controlled containers, Dec. 13, 2020. (B.C. government)
More vaccine arrives as B.C. struggles with remote COVID-19 cases

Long-term care homes remain focus for public health

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

North Cowichan Mayor Al Siebring has expressed his frustration with harassment of people who have made racist comments online about Cowichan Tribes in the wake of a COVID-19 outbreak in the First Nation. (Citizen file)
Island mayor calls for de-escalation as social media gets uglier in racism fight

“Racism is wrong. But so is this kind of reaction”:

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada said a lack of experienced crew members and the inability to detect navigational errors is what led to a Sooke search and rescue boat running aground in February 2019. (Twitter / @VicJRCC_CCCOS)
TSB: Sooke search and rescue boat crash caused by ‘misinterpretation of navigational information’

Crew members were lacking experience and unable to detect navigational errors

The first Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine dose in Canada is prepared at The Michener Institute in Toronto on Monday, Dec. 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Doses of COVID-19 vaccine expected in 60 B.C. First Nations by next week

B.C. has allocated 25,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine to First Nations for distribution by the end of February

Kamloops-South Thompson MLA Todd Stone questions the NDP government in the B.C. legislature, Feb. 25, 2020. (Hansard TV)
Todd Stone says he’s not running for B.C. Liberal leadership

Kamloops MLA was widely viewed as a front-runner

Most Read