Compensation Awards in Sexual Assault Cases – Case Summary #1

D.K.B. v. British Columbia, 2011 BCSC 418

The plaintiff D.K.B. was 13-years old when he was sexually abused by his hockey coach. The coach was a convicted sex offender, yet his probation officer did not warn the minor hockey association for which the coach was a volunteer. The coach sexually abused D.K.B. on two occasions, after gaining his trust and acting as a father figure and big brother towards him. The first occasion involved oral sexual contact, and the second involved anal sexual contact. D.K.B. ended his contact with the coach after the second occasion. He told no one about the sexual abuse until one year later. After the abuse, he had difficulty making friends, started using alcohol and acted out at school. He continued to play hockey and was an NHL hopeful, but lacked emotional control and lashed out at other players. The court found that if the abuse had not occurred, there was a real chance D.K.B. would have been drafted higher and awarded an NHL contract. Instead, he went on to play hockey in the minor leagues for nine years and suffered from alcohol abuse, depression, emotional intimacy issues and mistrust of authority figures.

More than twenty years later, D.K.B. sued the Province of British Columbia, which admitted it was liable for the probation officer’s failure to warn the hockey association. The court awarded D.K.B. (i) $125,000 for pain and suffering, (ii) $392,000 for past loss of income, including loss of his first NHL contract, (iii) $75,000 for future income loss, and (iv) $17,500 for future psychotherapy, vocational rehabilitation, and out-of-pocket expenses.

Elizabeth Grace heads the Toronto office sexual assault group, she is a partner at the Ontario law firm, Lerners LLP, and has specialized in sexual assault matters for almost two decades now. See her professional biography for more information about Elizabeth and her work in the area of civil liability for sexual abuse.

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