Wayne Hankey scandal: Second civil lawsuit filed against King’s College in Halifax

Click to play video: 'University of King’s College president apologizes for school’s failure to act on Hankey allegations'
University of King’s College president apologizes for school’s failure to act on Hankey allegations
The president and vice-chancellor of the University of King's College has apologized after an independent review found the school failed to respond appropriately to historical sexual assault allegations against former professor Wayne Hankey. Alicia Draus has more on what the report found. – Mar 15, 2023

A second lawsuit has been filed against the University of King’s College and Dalhousie University in Halifax claiming the affiliated institutions failed to protect a former student from a professor and Anglican minister known for his sexually abusive behaviour.

The civil suit also names the Anglican Diocesan Synod of Nova Scotia and the estate of the longtime professor, Wayne Hankey, who died in February 2022.

In a notice of action filed last week with the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia, the plaintiff alleges he was sexually assaulted by Hankey in the early 1980s during a mentoring session inside a residence on the King’s campus.

The statement of claim says Hankey put his hand inside the plaintiff’s gym shorts and slid his hand towards his genitals, which prompted the plaintiff to flee the room.

The lawsuit alleges that Hankey used the trust inherent in his positions as a professor and ordained minister to sexually assault the plaintiff, whose identity is covered by a publication ban.

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It says King’s, Dalhousie and the Anglican Church knew, or ought to have known, that Hankey had sexually abusive tendencies, but they failed to take any actions to protect the plaintiff.

The plaintiff’s lawyer, Liam O’Reilly, filed a civil lawsuit in March on behalf of another man who says Hankey sexually assaulted him in the late 1970s when he was 14.

The allegations in the statements of claim in the two cases have not been tested in court.

On Feb. 1, 2021, Hankey was charged with sexually assaulting another King’s student in 1988. In April of 2021, he was charged with indecent assault and gross indecency related to the incident alleged in the latest civil lawsuit, as well as other alleged assaults against another complainant between 1977 to 1979.

On March 15, the University of King’s College released an independent report that found the school failed to address reports of Hankey’s sexual assaults on campus and instead protected him.

King’s College president William Lahey apologized that day, saying the school failed to keep its students safe from Hankey’s “predatory and abusive” actions at the school where he taught between 1974 and 2015.

Lahey said the university accepted the report’s recommendation that it make amends to Hankey’s victims, saying the aim would be “appropriate and just compensation.”

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This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 1, 2023.

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