Two years ago a female student was working late in the labs at Carleton University in Ottawa and was brutally attacked and raped. She's filed a lawsuit against the university.
Carleton University is blaming her.
The victim of a violent and still-unsolved sex attack in a Carleton University chemistry lab nearly two years ago has filed a half-million-dollar lawsuit against the university.
In a statement of claim, the 25-year-old Ottawa woman says university officials were negligent by failing to take adequate security measures, including equipping laboratory buildings with security devices such as swipe cards and ensuring that door and tunnel entrances to the building were visibly monitored by security cameras.
But in a statement of defence, the university alleges the victim was herself negligent by failing to keep a "proper lookout" for her own safety and failing to register with Department of University Safety as a student working late.
The university alleges the science student chose to remain on the premises alone and chose not to lock the door to the laboratory in which she was working. She knew, or ought to have known, the steps she could take to notify the safety department of her intention to work late on her own, Carleton says.
"She failed to take appropriate or any action for her own safety," says the statement of defence.
The woman is seeking $535,000 in damages for injuries she suffered in the Aug. 31, 2007, attack as well as mental suffering and psychological harm, out-of-pocket expenses and the future loss of income.
According to the victim's statement of claim, her physical injuries included three fractures to her jaw, a fractured cheekbone, broken tooth, bruising to her neck and chest and a black eye. She has also sought counselling to cope with the psychological harm from the sexual assault, but still experiences "intense anxiety", according to her statement of claim.
The brutal sexual assault occurred just days before thousands of undergraduates returned to class and left many wondering about their safety on campus.
Police released a composite sketch of the suspect in the assault, although no one has ever been arrested.
As a result of the attack, the woman had to undergo surgery for her jaw and spent weeks on a liquid diet. Her face was swollen for nearly a year and she now faces the prospect of surgery on her shoulder, which dislocates on a regular basis, the claim says. She was also required to take anti-retroviral drugs to guard against the possibility she had contracted HIV/AIDS during the assault.