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

Interior Health update. File photo.
86 new COVID-19 cases, two more deaths in Interior Health

The new deaths are from Heritage Square, a long-term care facility in Vernon

A power outage Thursday night left nearly 3,000 homes in Clinton and the 70 Mile areas in the dark. (Katie McCullough photo).
Updated: Clinton, 70 Mile left in the dark after vehicle crashes into transmission pole

BC Hydro still working to restore power to 330 homes in 70 Mile House

A woman wearing a protective face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 walks past a mural in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, Dec. 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
115 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths in Interior Health

There are now a total of 4,970 cases in the region

Community consultation is now open regarding disposal of the former Ashcroft Elementary property, which since 2015 has operated as the Ashcroft HUB. (Photo credit: Vicci Weller)
Feedback now sought regarding disposal of Ashcroft Elementary

Residents of the region can have their say about the future of the former AES property

Justin Kripps of Summerland and his team have competed in Olympic action and World Cup competitions in bobsleigh. (Jason Ransom-Canadian Olympic Comittee).
QUIZ: Are you ready for some winter sports?

It’s cold outside, but there are plenty of recreation opportunities in the winter months

Alberta Energy Minister Sonya Savage addresses the attendees while Tom Olsen, Managing Director of the Canadian Energy Centre, looks on at a press conference at SAIT in Calgary on Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Greg Fulmes
‘Morally and ethically wrong:’ Court to hear challenge to Alberta coal policy removal

At least 9 interveners will seek to join a rancher’s request for a judicial review of Alberta’s decision

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
COVID-19: Provinces work on revised plans as Pfizer-BioNTech shipments to slow down

Anita Anand said she understands and shares Canadians’ concerns about the drug company’s decision

Tourists take photographs outside the British Columbia Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday August 26, 2011. A coalition of British Columbia tourism industry groups is urging the provincial government to not pursue plans to ban domestic travel to fight the spread of COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. travel ban will harm struggling tourism sector, says industry coalition

B.C. government would have to show evidence a travel ban is necessary

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
‘Targeted’ shooting in Coquitlam leaves woman in hospital

The woman suffered non-life threatening injuries in what police believe to be a targeted shooting Saturday morning

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)
A unique-looking deer has been visiting a Nanoose Bay property with its mother. (Frieda Van der Ree photo)
A deer with 3 ears? Unique animal routinely visits B.C. property

Experts say interesting look may be result of an injury rather than an odd birth defect

Standardized foundation skills assessment tests in B.C. schools will be going ahead later than usual, from Feb. 16 to March 12 for students in Grades 4 and 7. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. teachers say COVID-affected school year perfect time to end standardized tests

Foundational skills testing of Grade 4 and 7 students planned for February ad March

Sooke’s Jim Bottomley is among a handful of futurists based in Canada. “I want to help people understand the future of humanity.” (Aaron Guillen - Sooke News Mirror)
No crystal ball: B.C. man reveals how he makes his living predicting the future

63-year-old has worked analytical magic for politicians, car brands, and cosmetic companies

Most Read