WARNING: This story describes alleged incidents of sexual assault that may be triggering to some readers.
An Ontario boys’ camp and its longtime director are being sued by a former student camper and a former staff member who allege they were both sexually assaulted by the director at Kilcoo Camp on separate occasions more than a decade ago.
Two lawsuits, filed at the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in Bracebridge, Ont., on July 27, accuse David Latimer, 61, of grooming, manipulation and sexual misconduct against a preteen student camper in the early 1990s and a young adult staff member beginning in the 2000s.
Both lawsuits allege Latimer manipulated the plaintiffs into thinking they were in a romantic relationship with him before or after he allegedly assaulted them.
Latimer denied the allegations in a statement sent to CBC Toronto by his lawyer. None of the allegations have been tested in court. No statements of defence have been filed as yet.
The lawsuits, which were first reported on by the Toronto Star, claim a minimum of $5.5 million in damages from Latimer and Kilcoo Camp, which is accused of failing to protect the two plaintiffs.
Kilcoo Camp, located approximately 180 kilometres northeast of Toronto on the shores of Gull Lake near Minden, Ont., primarily operates a private summer camp for boys between the ages of 8 and 16. It also offers outdoor educational programs for public and high school students throughout the year.
Latimer worked as director of the camp starting in 1985, according to its website, until he recently stepped down in response to the lawsuits.
Scott Hutchison, Latimer’s lawyer, provided a statement to CBC Toronto on behalf of his client.
“The allegations suggesting that I harmed anyone associated with the camp or anywhere else are simply not true. I would never do anything to hurt any young person,” Latimer’s statement read.
Latimer’s statement said he “chose to step away” from Kilcoo until the litigation is resolved.
Hutchison added that Latimer denies any wrongdoing and will defend the allegations in court.
In an emailed statement, Kilcoo Camp acknowledged it had been served with two statements of claim, but said “while the claim names the camp, these troubling allegations only involve the actions of the former director.”
Kilcoo Camp said it “immediately” made leadership changes upon learning of a potential claim, and that Latimer is no longer involved in any way with the organization.
“We will cooperate with any investigation. The safety of our campers and staff is always our top priority,” the camp said.
1st plaintiff alleges assault in garage
Both plaintiffs have asked the court to issue an order against publishing their names. Their lawyer, Gillian Hnatiw, declined to comment.
The first statement of claim, filed by a 39-year-old Toronto resident, identified only as J. Doe #1, states they attended a week-long outdoor education program at Kilcoo Camp two years in a row between 1990 and 1993.
During that time, Latimer “developed a close relationship” with them, paying special attention to them, giving them a special nickname and buying them gifts, the claim alleges.
“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,” the lawsuit states.
Toward the end of the first trip, according to the lawsuit, Latimer drove J. Doe #1 on a golf cart across the campground to a nearby house on the lake and directed them into the garage.
“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,” the statement of claim says.
Following the assault, Latimer “manipulated” J. Doe #1 into believing the two were in a romantic relationship, the claim alleges.
The claim says the sexual activities were not consensual and accuses Latimer of abusing his position of trust and authority.
2nd plaintiff alleges ‘series’ of assaults
The second statement of claim was filed by a 33-year-old Stouffville, Ont., woman who first attended Kilcoo Camp for an outdoor educational program with her elementary school sometime between 2001-2003 when she was between 12 and 14 years old.
During that visit, Latimer allegedly gave her an affectionate nickname and told her she was special.
When she returned to the camp as a 19-year-old staff member in 2009, Latimer allegedly assaulted her by placing his hands on her hips and pushing his body against hers, according to the statement of claim.
“At the time, Latimer was in his late 40s while J. Doe was approximately 19 years old,” the statement of claim states.
“Thereafter, Latimer engaged in a course of egregious conduct towards J. Doe #2, 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.”
The lawsuit alleges J. Doe #2, who worked at the camp annually until she was 23, was subjected to sexually explicit phone calls and text messages, pornographic videos, fondling of her body and that Latimer masturbated in front of her.
Consent must be active and ongoing; submission does not equal consent.– J. Doe #2’s statement of claim
It also alleges Latimer made sexually inappropriate comments about her body, saying her lips were “perfect for a blow job,” and frequently calling her the “hottest camp girl of all time.”
Latimer allegedly used gifts, including concert tickets, weekend trips, massages and lingerie, to “reward” J. Doe #2 for complying with his sexual demands and keeping the abuse secret, the lawsuit states.
“J. Doe #2 did not consent to any of Latimer’s sexual advances, which constituted a stark breach of his power, trust, and authority,” the lawsuit states.
“Consent must be active and ongoing; submission does not equal consent.”
Both lawsuits say Latimer resigned this year as director of community life at Greenwood College School, a private middle and high school in Toronto, “following rumours that he violated boundaries with minor students.”
Latimer’s statement did not specifically address this allegation.
“We are deeply concerned about the allegations in the statements of claim involving former Greenwood staff member, David Latimer, and Kilcoo Camp,” Heather Thomas, deputy head of Greenwood, said in an email statement.
“We are communicating directly with our school community and will continue to keep parents, students, staff and alumni informed. As this matter is before the courts, we will not be providing further public comment.”
Camp appoints new director
In its statement, Kilcoo Camp said it had appointed Aldrin Primaylon as camp director. The statement said Primaylon has held a senior position with the camp for many years.
“Mr. Primaylon will be supported by the rest of the Kilcoo Camp team who are committed to caring for campers, and ensuring a safe, supportive and enriching summer,” the statement said.
“The allegations are not linked to the summer camp’s current operations. As a result, at this time camp is operating at capacity and our focus is on the campers.”
A spokesperson for the Ontario Provincial Police declined to comment Wednesday on whether the force had received any reports containing these allegations.
“I can say that we take investigations of this nature very seriously, and the OPP remains committed to ensuring a full and thorough review of all information that may be reported,” Erin Cranton wrote in an email.
Support is available for anyone who has been sexually assaulted. You can access crisis lines and local support services through this Government of Canada website or the Ending Violence Association of Canada database. If you’re in immediate danger or fear for your safety or that of others around you, please call 911.