Toronto-based boys camp sued by former student and staffer over alleged sexual assaults

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Toronto-based boys camp sued by former student and staffer over alleged sexual assaults
WATCH: A lawsuit alleges a camp director used his position to build trust with the plaintiff, who was between seven and 10 years old at the time, according to the statement of claim. Sean O'Shea reports – Aug 1, 2023

An exclusive Ontario boys’ camp and its director are being sued by a former student and a staff member alleging that the director sexually assaulted the two individuals and that the camp failed to act to protect either person.

David Latimer, age 61, has been the director of Camp Kilcoo since 1985, according to the Kilcoo website.

The two lawsuits, filed July 28 in Ontario Superior Court of Justice in Bracebridge, seek $5.5 million in damages.

The allegations have not been proven in court.

In the claim filed by the first plaintiff, a 39-year-old identified as J. Doe #1, the lawsuit states that they attended a week-long outdoor education program with their mother, sister, and sister’s Grade 7-8 class from Horizon Alternative Senior School.

The plaintiff attended the program two years in a row between 1990 and 1993, according to the claim.

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The lawsuit alleges Latimer used his position to build trust with the plaintiff, who was between seven and 10 years old at the time, according to the statement of claim.

The claim says Latimer paid J. Doe #1 special attention, calling them by a nickname and buying them gifts, including stuffed animals and a hat. Latimer’s attention made J. Doe #1 feel special and valued, and they began to view Latimer as someone they could trust and rely on,” according to the legal claim.

At one point, according to the lawsuit, the unidentified camper was sexually assaulted.

“While in the garage, Latimer sexually assaulted J. Doe #1. Latimer trapped J. Doe #1 against the wall by pinning them with his body. Latimer kissed J. Doe #1’s lips and neck, and groped their body with his hands, both above and under their shirt and pants. J. Doe #1 could feel Latimer’s genitals on their body. J. Doe #1 was unable to move or leave. The assault lasted approximately 5 minutes,” according to the statement of claim.

Following the alleged assault, “J. Doe #1 was manipulated by Latimer into believing that they were in a romantic relationship with Latimer,” the claim states.

The second legal claim, filed by a plaintiff identified as J. Doe #2, involves a woman who attended the camp when she was between 12 and 14 years old.

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The claim alleges that Latimer “gave her an affectionate nickname and told her that she
was special.”

Subsequently, during the school year, “Latimer and other senior staff of Kilcoo Camp attended Williams Parkway Senior Public School to promote their programs and put on special performances. J. Doe #2 eagerly looked forward to these visits, and screamed and cheered for Latimer, whom she deeply admired.”

The lawsuit alleges that J. Doe #2 was hired as a team member at the Kilcoo camp and was responsible for administering Kilcoo Camp programming. She worked there until she was 23, the lawsuit alleges.

Having been flattered by Latimer’s attentions, the lawsuit alleges Latimer engaged in a course of egregious conduct towards J. Doe #2 when she was 19, in which she was subjected to a series of sexual assaults under the guise of a spiritual and romantic relationship. The assaults took place in various places, both on and off Kilcoo Camp property, including but not limited to Latimer’s cabin, house, and car, J. Doe #2’s cabin, and Latimer’s office at Greenwood College School (in Toronto),” the lawsuit alleges.

The lawsuit alleges J. Doe #2  was subjected to sexually explicit text messages and phone calls; pornographic videos; having her body fondled; and masturbation by Latimer in her presence.

“Latimer also made many sexually inappropriate comments to J. Doe #2 about her appearance and body, including her lips, which he said were ‘beautiful’ and ‘great for a blow job,” the lawsuit states.

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“Latimer also frequently referred to her as the ‘hottest camp girl of all time’. These comments made J. Doe #2 anxious and uncomfortable, however, she was afraid to object or complain because she feared she would suffer reprisals, lose her job, or face other risks if she objected or otherwise disobeyed Latimer’s instructions,” the lawsuit states.

The lawsuits allege Kilcoo Camp breached its duties in the cases of both plaintiffs, by “failing to implement any, or adequate, screening systems to determine and ensure the appropriateness of its staff, including Latimer.”

Neither Latimer nor Kilcoo Camp has so far filed a statement of defence in either legal action.

Global News went to Latimer’s north Toronto home on Tuesday in an effort to obtain comment. The door was not answered and the home appeared unoccupied.

Kilcoo Camp responded to a Global News inquiry by email and issued a written statement.

“Upon learning of a potential claim, Kilcoo immediately made leadership changes and Mr. Latimer is no longer Camp Director, he is not on site, and is not involved in the operations of the organization. We are contacting local authorities and will offer our full cooperation. The safety of our campers and staff is always our top priority,” reads the statement.

The Kilcoo statement acknowledges that lawyers served two statements of claim alleging the former director engaged in two sexual assaults — one in 1990 with a school camper and another in 2009 with a former staff member.

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“While the claim names the Camp, the allegations only involve the actions of the former director. They are extremely troubling,” reads the Kilcoo statement.

Kilcoo Camp has appointed Aldrin Primaylon as camp director, according to the statement. Primaylon, who held a senior position with the camp for many years, “is committed to caring for campers”, the statement reads.

“The allegations are not linked to the summer camp’s current operations,” the Kilcoo statement continues, adding it will have no further comment.

On its website, Kilcoo boasts of its ethos as a “maker of men” with a tradition of character leadership development.

In a letter to parents of campers who are attending Kilcoo for the month of August, at a cost of $5,900 plus HST, the camp states that the organization has “moved so quickly to deal with this situation” and that the safety of campers is a top priority.

“Camp will operate exactly as it has for 92 years. The incoming campers will have the same experience they always have had and the one they are looking forward to.”

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