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

Alberta reported its highest number of daily COVID-19 cases since December 16 on Friday. (NIAID-RML via AP)
Alberta reports 1,521 additional COVID-19 cases, 674 new variant cases

Daily case total the highest since mid-December

County of Paintearth
County of Paintearth meeting highlights April 7th

Bylaw 698-21 was presented to council for first reading during their April 7th meeting of council

Supporters pray outside as Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church is in court in Stony Plain, Alta., on Wednesday Feb. 24, 2021, after being charged with holding Sunday services in violation of COVID-19 rules. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta church shut down, fenced off for ignoring COVID-19 health restrictions

Police and security staff were on hand as metal fencing was erected around the church building earlier today

A cross made out of hockey sticks at a makeshift memorial is silhouetted against the setting sun at the intersection of a fatal bus crash near Tisdale, Sask., on Monday, April, 9, 2018. A virtual tribute is planned to mark the third anniversary of the Humboldt Broncos bus crash. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
VIDEO: Humboldt Broncos team to be honoured on third anniversary of fatal bus crash

16 people died and 13 were injured when a semi-trailer ran a stop sign into the path of the hockey team’s bus

Vancouver’s park board general manager issued a new order Friday restricting tents and other temporary structures from being set up in Strathcona Park after April 30, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Vancouver park board issues order to restrict tents in Strathcona Park

The order issued Friday restricted tents and other temporary structures from being set up after April 30

Stettler’s own Renegade Station is kicking off the spring season with a brand new single - to be released April 9th. (Photo submitted)
A brand new single is on the way from Stettler-based band Renegade Station

Free Free Free hits all streaming platforms on April 9th

Foreign Affairs Minister Marc Garneau waits for a virtual meeting to begin with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Ottawa, Friday February 26, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Ottawa mulls exempting more workers from Canada-U.S. border shutdown: Garneau

Canada-U.S. border has been closed to people travelling for vacations and other non-essential visits since March 2020

A worker smooths concrete at a construction site in Toronto on January 16, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Cole Burston
Economy adds 303,000 jobs in March, unemployment rate falls: Statistics Canada

Figure released this morning outpaced the 259,000 gain seen in February

FILE - This file photo dated July 10, 1947 shows the official photograph of Britain’s Princess Elizabeth and her fiance, Lieut. Philip Mountbatten in London. Buckingham Palace says Prince Philip, husband of Queen Elizabeth II, has died aged 99. (AP Photo/File)
Prince Philip, husband of Queen Elizabeth II, dies at 99

Philip spent a month in hospital earlier this year before being released on March 16

Campbell River city council will continue its 2020 policy of waiving late fees and NSFs. (Mirror File photo)
53% of Canadians teetering the brink of insolvency: survey

A majority of Canadians admit they’re just $200 away from not being able to pay their monthly bills

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney listens as the 2021 budget is delivered in Edmonton Alta, on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Kenney faces criticism from doctors, his own caucus, over new COVID-19 health rules

Alberta now has more than 10,000 active cases, about 43 per cent are variants

Josee Cabral is seen in her office in Chateauguay, Que. on Thursday, March 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Watch the details to help avoid financial headaches when filing your tax return

Small, easily avoidable mistakes could end up costing you if you’re not careful

Most Read