‘Scared straight’ teen gets $175K in award

Boy was re­quired to tour Oakalla prison as part of his pro­ba­tion sen­tence in 1970s

StarMetro Vancouver - - CANADA & WORLD -

VAN­COU­VER—A man who was re­quired to visit a no­to­ri­ous Bri­tish Columbia prison as part of a “scared straight” pro­gram has been awarded $175,000 in dam­ages for a sex­ual as­sault that hap­pened dur­ing the tour.

The man, only iden­ti­fied by his ini­tials in the judg­ment, was 14 in the late 1970s when he was placed on pro­ba­tion for break­ing and en­ter­ing.

The B.C. Supreme Court de­ci­sion says that as part of his pro­ba­tion he was re­quired to take a tour of the now-closed Oakalla prison and was sex­u­ally as­saulted af­ter a cor­rec­tions of­fi­cer forced him into a cell with five in­mates. The man’s law­suit named the prov­ince, and Roderic Macdougall, a for­mer prison guard who was con­victed for in­de­cent and sex­ual as­saults against pris­on­ers.

Jus­tice Jen­nifer Dun­can ruled the sex­ual as­sault took place and the prov­ince is li­able, but the plain­tiff couldn’t es­tab­lish Macdougall was the of­fi­cer who fa­cil­i­tated the at­tack. She awarded the man, who is now 54 years old, $150,000 in dam­ages and $25,000 for the cost of fu­ture care, plus his le­gal costs.

“The struc­ture and op­er­a­tion of the youth tour pro­gram in 1978 left a great deal to be de­sired from a mod­ern per­spec­tive, to put in mildly,” the judge said in her rul­ing posted Wed­nes­day.

“The of­fi­cers were left to choose the in­mates they felt were ap­pro­pri­ate to in­ter­act with the youth” said Dun­can, who noted the youth could have been ex­posed to in­mates fac­ing sex charges. The struc­ture and op­er­a­tion of the youth tour pro­gram at Oakalla Prison left a great deal to be de­sired, Jus­tice Jen­nifer Dun­can said in her rul­ing.


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