Queen’s denied responsibility in sexual assault lawsuit

University filed crossclaim against two other defendants in case brought by former student

Queen’s denied all liability for the alleged instances described in a recent sexual assault lawsuit brought forward against the University and two men, according to court filings obtained by The Journal

As previously reported in June, the plaintiff, a former residence advisor, is seeking nearly a million dollars in damages from Queen’s and defendants Ali Erfany and Mustafa Ahmadi in the Superior Court of Justice. 

In her statement of claim, the plaintiff alleged Erfany and Ahmadi were responsible for physically and sexually abusing her on multiple occasions in Victoria Hall in 2014. At the time, both men were employees of Residence Society.

Because the defendants were working in residence, where the incidents took place, the plaintiff claimed Queen’s was vicariously liable for the attacks. She also claimed Queen’s doesn’t adequately educate students about sexual violence—which the University challenged.

In its June 6 statement of defence, Queen’s denied vicarious liability for the alleged incidents. Queen’s claimed the defendants Erfany and Ahmadi weren’t employees or volunteers of the University, but rather of Residence Society, which Queen’s described in its statement as a “separately  incorporated entity.” 

In a statement, the plaintiff also alleged the University didn’t ensure Victoria Hall was reasonably safe to enter. Queen’s said it took “reasonable measures” to ensure that safety and security policies were followed.

In the University’s statement of defence, it said the defendants acted “without the knowledge or acquiescence of Queen’s” when they committed the alleged sexual assaults. 

The statement also said the two men “were acting entirely outside the scope and authority, express or implied, of their roles with Queen’s.”

The University also filed a crossclaim against the defendants Erfany and Ahmadi, requesting the court shift financial liability for the suit onto them. 

In their statement, the University said the plaintiff’s damages claims are “excessive” and “exaggerated.” Queen’s also denied that its actions contributed to any of the plaintiff’s alleged “negative life experiences.” 

In the summer of 2016, Erfany was convicted of unlawfully entering a dwelling and sexual assault. At the time of his conviction, Erfany was still enrolled at Queen’s. He’d also sat on University Senate while his trial was ongoing. 

Erfany appealed his conviction in 2017. The Journal has since learned he lost his appeal. 

As previously reported by The Journal in March of 2015, the plaintiff discovered Erfany had been elected to the University Senate, one of Queen’s highest governing bodies.

In an email exchange with a human rights office advisor following Erfany’s election, the plaintiff was told there were no policies to have him removed from Senate, despite his criminal charge.

More than three years after the alleged incidents, the plaintiff is attempting to hold the University responsible for its alleged role in the incidents. 

In an anonymous interview with The Journal in June, the plaintiff said bringing the suit forward was about “justice for myself, but it’s also about taking steps to make sure this doesn’t happen to other people.”

In their statement, Queen’s requested a judge dismiss the plaintiff’s claim and request its crossclaim be tried during or directly after the trial of the main action. 

Corrections

The original article incorrectly referred to Residence Life. It now refers to Residence Society. 

The Journal regrets the error.

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