Complaint claims VIU didn't act after student forced sexual fetish on staff
The former director of human rights at Vancouver Island University has filed a harassment complaint against the school, alleging it failed to act after a student imposed his sexual fetish on non-consenting women.
Katrin Roth filed the complaint with B.C.'s Human Rights Tribunal, claiming VIU did nothing to protect students and employees from a male student in his 40s who has what she believes to be paraphilic infantilism.
It's a sexual fetish described as having the desire to role-play as an infant, including wearing diapers or drinking from a bottle.
Roth's complaint details allegations dating back to 2015.
"He would compliment women on their clothing, he was observed leering particularly at their chest area," said Roth. "He would ask staff members out repeatedly on dates. He followed one female staff member onto the rooftop garden, which is an isolated employee-only area."
Janis Ledwell-Hunt, a professor at VIU, taught the student in 2015 at the Cowichan campus.
"He started to bring children's books into class and asked that I read them aloud," she said.
She said the student's behaviour became more and more peculiar until it culminated in an uncomfortable submission for a class assignment.
She said he started to email her multiple times a day and asked her on dates, but the breaking point came when the student submitted an essay that included a photo of himself wearing nothing but a diaper.
"My heart went to my throat because it was then that I recognized that in his interactions with me all along, he had been manipulating me into this form of role play," she said.
Concerned, Ledwell-Hunt said she alerted VIU administration that the student was sexually harassing her.
Instead of taking action, she said the university asked her to continue teaching the student – to which she said no.
The human rights complaint also alleges that in May 2015, the student had a VIU nurse practitioner change his dirty diaper.
The documents state it was only after the nurse connected with other VIU colleagues that she learned about his sexually inappropriate manner with other employees.
The documents also state VIU failed to take steps to address the student's abusive behaviour toward women, failed to warn other employees and did not grant a risk assessment.
VIU officials say the school did follow its own policy and procedures.
"VIU is confident that we took appropriate steps, and any complaint that comes forward we will defend VIU's position in any court of law," said Shelley Legin, the university's CFO and vice-president of administration.
Should any more complaints come forward, the university says it will review its policies and procedures and make any necessary changes.
Ledwell-Hunt said after she was again emailed by the student earlier this month, administration told her to contact the police.
But the woman who filed the complaint says it never should have come to this in the first place.
"At no time should he have been permitted to meet with women in a one-on-one environment," said Roth.
Roth says she was fired from working at the university in January for what she believes is a retaliation for her investigate work into the harassment complaints.
The Human Rights Tribunal is currently reviewing the complaint.
With a report from CTV Vancouver Island's Jessica Lepp