The former owner of a Prescott-area retirement home convicted of sexual assault in 2019 was found not guilty of harassment in a separate court case on Wednesday.
Robert Lunnie, 73, pleaded guilty in July 2019 to sexually assaulting an employee and assaulting a resident and staff member and was sentenced to five months in jail.
Now that Lunnie has served his sentence, he was back in court facing criminal harassment charges stemming from the sale of Green Acres Retirement Home.
The allegations were made by Sonia Veilleux after she says she purchased the home from Lunnie in 2018.
During the verdict, the Justice of the Peace, Richard Knott explained that during the trial, Veilleux accused Lunnie of not only calling and demanding money but also spewing threats.
“He said he would blow up the home with dynamite,” said Justice Knott describing the alleged threats made by Lunnie to Veilleux.
Justice Knott told the court that Veilleux bought the business for $1, knowing that she would take over any debt. Justice Knott continued to say that she did not take the necessary steps to understand the conditions of the sale and then refused to pay Lunnie.
In the end, Knott found there was no evidence of these excessive calls and that whatever his actions were, they didn’t classify as harassment.
As a result, Lunnie was found not guilty.
Global News spoke with him minutes after the decision, and he was overcome with emotion.
“We had over a dozen people, some who lived with us for 25 years,” said Lunnie as he broke down in tears.
Lunnie says because of the failed payments, he recently filed for bankruptcy.
When asked if he would pursue legal action against Veilleux, he said, “If we can find a lawyer who is willing to work for free.”
According to Justice Knott, Veilleux has served time for fraud in the past.
This was brought up Wednesday in court when addressing her creditability. Justice Knott also said Lunnies’ previous conviction marred his credibility when examining the case.
Veilleux told Global News that SunnyView Retirement Home will close its doors on March 1