A known sexual predator was allowed to prey on boys held at the Youth Training Centre in Waterville. That is the allegation raised by lawyer Mike Dull on behalf on seven men who have filed lawsuits against the province for abuse they say they suffered at Waterville.

The alleged abuse at the hands of a swim instructor employed at the facility spans 21 years, from just after the facility opened in 1988 until 2009.

In September, the Halifax Examiner reported on the first three men who had filed lawsuits:

S.L. says he was sent to the Nova Scotia Youth Training Centre in 1997, when he was 14, and he lived there intermittently until 2002.

“While a resident at the Nova Scotia Youth Facility, [S.L.] was subjected to sexual abuse by an employee of the Facility,” reads the lawsuit. “The sexual abuse took place over the course of this employee’s employment as the swim instructor/ pool supervisor.”

A second man, T.C., was placed in the Nova Scotia Youth Training Centre in 1994, when he was 16 years old, and lived there for about a year. He too alleges that he was abused by the swim instructor.

A third man, M.T., says he was housed in the facility from 1986 to 1991, from the time he was 10 to 15 years old. His suit reads:

When a resident of the Nova Scotia Youth Training Centre, [M.T.] was subjected to mental, physical, and sexual abuse by the residents, agents, servants, and employees of the school. He was subjected to prolonged and unsafe periods of solitary confinement.

On Friday, four more men filed a lawsuit alleging sexual abuse at the hands of the swim instructor. The swim instructor is not named in the lawsuit.

P.K. says he was held at Waterville twice from 2007 to 2009, once when he was either 15 or 16 years old, and then again when he was 17 years old.

R.A. says he was held at Waterville in 1996, when he was 17 years old.

A.H. says he was held for eight months in Waterville in 1988, soon after the facility opened.

M.S. says he was held in Waterville in 2007 and 2008, “starting when he was 16 years old.”

At the facility, they were “subjected to sexual abuse, perpetuated on them by staff of the Waterville facility (‘the Employee’),” reads the lawsuit:

The Employee was a swim instructor at Waterview, who committed a range of abuses against male youth attending and/or resident at the facility. That abuse included, but was not limited to, improper viewing of youths while they were undressed in changing areas, unwanted touching and sexual touching, and sexual assault.

The Defendant [the province] knew shortly after it hired the Employee that he was sexually inappropriate with male youth but failed to take appropriate steps to address this behavior.

Instances of sexual abuse committed by the Employee were reported to persons in authority at Waterville at various times. Regardless, nothing was done by way of investigation or rectification. Alternatively, if steps were taken to investigate and/or rectify the reported abuses, these steps were inadequate and ineffective at remedying the ongoing sexual abuse of youths resident at Waterville by staff of the Waterville facility.

Dull’s most recent lawsuit asks the court to allow for a class action representing all other people who were sexually abused at Waterville.

The four men who filed the lawsuit on Friday say that as a result of the sexual abuse they experienced at Waterville, they have suffered extensive damages, including “emotional and psychological harm; impairment of mental and emotional health; development or exacerbation of mental illness; impaired ability to participate in or transition to a normal family life; impairment of the capacity to build healthy sexual and romantic relationships; loss of self-esteem and feelings of humiliation and degradation; impairment of the capacity to function in the work place and a permanent impairment in the capacity to earn income; the need for ongoing psychological, psychiatric and medical treatment and counselling resulting from the experience of sexual abuse; and pain and suffering.”

The Halifax Examiner is aware that at least one of the four men is currently imprisoned.

None of the allegations have been tested in court.

The Halifax Examiner is an advertising-free, subscriber-supported news site. Your subscription makes this work possible; please subscribe.

Tim Bousquet is the editor and publisher of the Halifax Examiner. Twitter @Tim_Bousquet Mastodon

Join the Conversation


Only subscribers to the Halifax Examiner may comment on articles. We moderate all comments. Be respectful; whenever possible, provide links to credible documentary evidence to back up your factual claims. Please read our Commenting Policy.
  1. These accusations are false and are purely an attempt to wring money out of the government. An innocent person’s life is being toyed with. I know the accused and he would never behave in this manner and, in fact, always took care to ensure he followed proper procedures when instructing these young offenders. This person took pride in his work and strove to make a difference with the inmates he taught to swim. IT sickens me that this case has even gotten this far.

    1. You don’t know what you are talking about. I am one of the ones he abused in that facility. You don’t know what we went through. Doug used to watch us. I would refuse to get in the shower and be forced to go in there and be watched by him. I used to purposely get myself in trouble so that I didn’t have to have a shower. He would sit there, exposing himself to us. I have proof that all that was stated (and worse) is true. My best friend K.G. was also there and would back me up. Catherine Carter, you have no idea what you are talking about. Absolutely everything in this article is true. Doug was a sexual predator who preyed on children. You should be ashamed of yourself for denying that we were abused. I did months and months in segregation. So many of the boys were institutionalized and abused so badly that they are no longer able to function in society because of this man. So many of those boys are not alive anymore because of this “man’s” abuse. This is all true. How dare you defend this man and act like those things didn’t happen. The only reason I am still alive is because of my wife. I relocated to Manitoba and am still trying to heal from the sick things this man has done. What you have written here is absolutely ridiculous. No amount of money will make up for what we endured, but at least it is a little reparation for what happened to us. My name is Curtis Blinkhorn and I’m not ashamed to say who I am. That place should be shut down because of the evil things that were done there. I called the police and tried everything and no one would listen to us. There is an incredible amount of shame involved with sexual abuse. We should not be ashamed. No child deserves to endure that kind of torture. Please don’t make light of or defend this man. What he did was pure evil. It sickens me that you would defend someone like this. I turned to drugs to try to dull the pain, but have overcome that. God, my wife, and kids saved me. Catherine, what you have written is disgusting and a lie. Keep in mind, he did this to CHILDREN! I was there from 1996-2000 pretty much steady. Because of what he did to me, I couldn’t function, and would act out and end up back in the same place. It took a long time for me to understand why I couldn’t function in society and that what happened to me at his hands was not my fault. I still suffer from anxiety and still have problems socializing. This man caused an incredible amount of damage to children who were still developing and couldn’t even understand what was happening to them. What kind of man does this to children? He sat on the pool side, exposing himself to us. watched us shower, and abused us. I couldn’t even call anyone for help because phone calls weren’t allowed. I even had a one on one meeting with the head of the prisons and still nothing was done. This comment is disgusting and untrue.

  2. It is disgusting that starlets who later regret what they did on the casting couch are a national emergency, but children who are raped by the government employees responsible for their care only get a little coverage in a niche online-only newspaper. Interestingly, the feminist who coined the term ‘rape culture’ was talking about society’s cavalier attitude towards the problem of sexual assault in prison. Imagine a culture that rejects state-administered corporal punishment (other than the death penalty), yet makes light of the fact that sexual assault by inmates or guards is a fact of prison life. I’m about as right-wing as the commentariat on here comes, and I think that it is necessary to lock up a (mostly male) slice of the population until they are in their 30’s or so to limit the harm they cause (alternatively, they could be killed, which I don’t really like, but let’s not pretend it isn’t a viable option), but prisons should be a humane and physically safe environment. The Scandinavians have it right: people with less serious crimes start in a nice prison and the stick is moving them to a not-so-nice prison. Serious criminals start in the not-nice prison and the carrot is moving to the nice prison.