Ten women filed a civil class-action lawsuit on Thursday accusing one of Canada’s wealthiest businessmen and clothing manufacturers, Peter Nygard, of raping them at his seaside mansion in the Bahamas, and operating what they refer to as a “sex trafficking ring.”
The women are seeking damages for the alleged rapes.
Three of the women were 14 years old at the time of the alleged rapes. Three others were 15 years old.
The alleged rapes took place between 2008 and 2015.
The women are not named in the lawsuit “to protect their identities because of the sensitive and highly personal nature of this matter.”
According to the lawsuit, filed in New York, Nygard “recruited, lured, and enticed young, impressionable, and often impoverished children and women, with cash payments and false promises of lucrative modeling opportunities to assault, rape, and sodomize them.”
There are no criminal charges associated with any of the allegations.
Nygard’s lawyer “vigorously” denied the accusations as “completely false [and] without foundation” in a statement Thursday.
“Peter Nygard looks forward to fully exposing this scam, and once and for all clearing his name,” said Jay Prober.
Nygard operates a multi-million dollar clothing empire, based in Winnipeg. According to its website, the privately owned company operates more than 170 stores across North America.
Lawsuit alleges bribery
The lawsuit goes on to accuse Nygard of drugging women by putting “Rohypnol and/or other mind-altering drugs in their drinks.”
It also alleges he “initiated a scheme to purchase police protection and political cover in the Bahamas by making regular payments of tens of thousands of dollars to law enforcement, government officials, regulators, and even to a former Cabinet Minister who became the Prime Minister of the Bahamas.”
It further claims “Nygard also paid people, using Nygard Company money, to intimidate his former ‘girlfriends’ by slashing their tires, committing arson, paying police to threaten to arrest them, and by having them followed.”
“This lawsuit was expected,” said Prober, his lawyer.
Prober says the lawsuit is the latest in a decade-long attempt to destroy his reputation by his former neighbour in the Bahamas, U.S. billionaire and former hedge fund owner Louis Bacon.
Their dispute began as a noise complaint, and has evolved into multiple lawsuits in multiple countries spanning more than 10 years.
Nygard’s most recent legal assault against Bacon was launched in New York in November 2019
It alleges Bacon has hired a team of lawyers and private investigators who are “engaging in a pattern of illicit and illegal conduct designed to improperly influence witnesses to make false statements, file false reports, abuse process, tortiously interfere with business relations and aid and abet the dissemination of false statements … all for the intentional purpose of damaging [Nygard].”
Nygard says allegations in the lawsuit filed Thursday are a response to his November lawsuit against Bacon, saying the complainants were “bought off to make such false claims.”
According to Thursday’s lawsuit the alleged rapes took place after or during what Nygard has referred to as “pamper parties” at his home in the Bahamas.
His staff were instructed to recruit young women for the weekly parties, the lawsuit claims. When guests checked in, their details would be entered in a database and photos sent to Nygard for review.
“Nygard would then use this information to select his potential victims for the night,” the lawsuit says.
The lawsuit claims Nygard has a database of more than 7,500 underage girls and women.
The lawsuit also includes details of the alleged assaults against the 10 women who made the allegations.
The allegations include vaginal rape, anal rape, oral sex and requests to urinate or defacate in Nygard’s mouth.
According to the lawsuit, one of the complainants, who was 14 at the time, says the encounter began with Nygard showing her pornography, then Nygard asked her to use a sex toy on him and it ended when he raped her “causing her extrordinary trauma and pain.”
The lawsuit says he paid the complainants thousands of dollars after each of the rapes.
He resorted to tactics of violence, intimidation, bribery, and payoff to attempt to silence the victims and to continue his scheme.-civil class-action lawsuit
“The Nygard Companies fund all of Nygard’s ‘pamper parties’ by transferring cash from the company’s bank account in Canada and routing it through New York,” the lawsuit says.
“[Nygard’s] destruction of innocent lives is immeasurable,” it says.
“When Nygard became aware of the investigation into his sex trafficking ring, he resorted to tactics of violence, intimidation, bribery, and payoffs to attempt to silence the victims and to continue his scheme”
There is a 10-year statute of limitations for cases like this under New York law.
The lawsuit requests it be extended because the complainants “were impeded because of a combination of force, threats of force, shame, embarrassment, fear, political and law enforcement corruption, weak laws that are rarely enforced to protect the victim, and bribery.”
If not some accusers may be barred from the suit. The class-action lawsuit must also be certified by a judge before it can proceed.
Thursday’s allegations follow two additional lawsuits accusing Nygard of sexual assault, filed in Los Angeles in January, that came to light recently
Nygard denies those allegations as well.
One lawsuit is from an unnamed woman who claims Nygard sexually assaulted and falsely imprisoned her while she was a minor. The age of consent in California is 18.
The incidents began, the lawsuit alleges, at Nygard’s home in California in 2012 and continued during a trip to China on his private plane, in a club in New York and and while visiting Florida.
“Nygard committed sexual battery upon the plaintiff by acting with the intent to cause a harmful or offensive contact with intimate parts of the plaintiff’s body,” the lawsuit alleges.
Plaintiff objected to being forced to be involved in procuring women for Defendant Nygard. She told him that she was not a madam and that she did not want to be involved in these activities.– civil class-action lawsuit
“Defendant Nygard intentionally deprived Plaintiff of her freedom of movement by the use of menace, fraud, deceit and/or unreasonable durres, for an appreciable period of time.”
The second lawsuit was filed by a former employee of Nygard, who says she managed a medical cannabis facility for him in Los Angeles.
The woman is named in the lawsuit, but CBC News has decided to withhold her identity because of the nature of the allegations.
She claims in her lawsuit that Nygard touched her sexually without consent on several occasions between 2016 and 2018.
Nygard “caused a harmful or offensive contact with [the woman’s] breasts and/or buttocks and/or groin,” the lawsuit alleges.
On one occasion, the lawsuit says Nygard said, “that her ‘ass’ looked amazing. He said, ‘you know what they say about pregnant women.’ He said ‘they want it more’ while making forward motion with his hips.”
The lawsuit alleges the woman was ordered to invite women to attend parties at Nygard’s home in California, and that he would then choose a few of them to “to stay the night with him.”
“Defendant Nygard paid these women for their ‘services,'” the lawsuit claims.
“Plaintiff objected to being forced to be involved in procuring women for Defendant Nygard. She told him that she was not a madam and that she did not want to be involved in these activities.”
According to the lawsuit, the woman quit in 2018, following the alleged assaults and claims Nygard failed to pay her the salary and benefits he promised. Nygard says lawsuits filed in Los Angeles are also part of Bacon’s campaign to destroy his reputation.
None of the allegations in the lawsuits have been proven in court.
B.C. reveals 6th presumptive coronavirus case – CBC.ca
A sixth person in B.C. is believed to be infected with the coronavirus, and the case is raising new questions about how the disease is spreading, health officials announced Thursday.
The latest patient is a woman in her 30s who lives in the Fraser Health region, according to provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry. She had recently returned from a trip to Iran and is now recovering at home.
Henry said officials were surprised when they learned the woman had only visited Iran, and not China or neighbouring countries that have seen the bulk of COVID-19 cases.
“That could be an indicator that there’s more widespread transmission. This is what we call an indicator or sentinel event,” Henry told a news conference.
“I expect there’ll be an international investigation to try to understand where the exposure occurred.”
She added that Iran has recently announced five cases of the virus and two deaths.
Henry described the woman’s infection as relatively mild, and said she tested positive for the virus after visiting the hospital with what she thought were symptoms of the flu.
The patient has had contact with others since her return from Iran last week. Close family members are currently in isolation and being monitored by public health officials.
She said health officials are looking into when the patient’s symptoms started to help determine if they need to notify those who travelled with her on the same aircraft. Her diagnosis is considered presumptive until confirmed by the National Microbiology Lab in Winnipeg.
Henry said the diagnosis shows B.C. has a robust system for identifying people who have the virus. All cases so far have been relatively mild, according to health officials.
The update comes one day after Hnery revealed that B.C.’s first confirmed coronavirus patient has fully recovered, and that four others are symptom free.
The fifth, a woman in her 30s who returned from Shanghai, China, is in isolation at her home in B.C.’s Interior.
Henry said over 500 people have been tested for the virus in B.C. and many of those tested positive for the flu. Three cases of the virus have also been confirmed in Ontario.
Health Minister Adrian Dix said the province is currently testing a “very significant number” of patients for the virus, and he expects to provide another update on Friday.
New numbers from China
China, where an outbreak has caused more than 2,200 deaths, has reported another drop in new virus cases to 889 as COVID-19 spreads elsewhere.
China’s latest figures released Friday for the previous 24 hours brought the total number of cases to 75,465. The 118 newly reported deaths raised the total to 2,236.
More than 1,000 cases and 11 deaths have been confirmed outside the mainland.
Iran announced three more infections Thursday, a day after it reported its first two deaths, and South Korea reported its first fatality. Japan said two former passengers of the Diamond Princess cruise ship had died of the illness.
Canadian stranded in Cuba dies suddenly at airport waiting for flight home – CTV News
A Canadian man who was stranded on a small island in Cuba has died while waiting for his flight home.
Travellers have been stranded on Cayo Largo del Sur for several days after a runway at the island’s only airport was damaged earlier this week.
On Wednesday, passengers flying back to Toronto were taken to the closed airport to be processed before they took a ferry to Cuba’s mainland. They were then flown out of Havana and arrived in Toronto around 5 a.m. on Thursday.
Ontario woman Chantalle Menchions said she was waiting for the ferry, along with other Air Transat passengers, when a man suddenly dropped to the floor.
The 24-year-old nurse said she ran over to the man but he didn’t have a pulse.
“People started screaming. It was chaos,” Menchions told CTV News Toronto on Thursday. She, along with four other people, immediately began to administer CPR.
“People were yelling and freaking out. I started yelling at people to get out of the way.”
“We checked for a pulse but there wasn’t one. He wasn’t responsive.”
Menchions said about 15 minutes later, a medical team arrived at the airport and took the man away. She said she was never given an update about the man’s condition.
In a statement to CTV News Toronto, Global Affairs confirmed the Canadian died. His name, age and cause of death have not been released.
“We offer our deepest condolences to the family and friends of the Canadian citizen who died in Cuba,” the statement released on Thursday said.
“Consular services are being provided to the family of the individual.”
Meanwhile, Air Transat confirmed one of their passengers needed medical attention.
“I can confirm that one of our passengers required medical attention prior to departure from Cayo Largo and was transported to the international clinic by ambulance,” Air Transat said in a statement to CTV News Toronto.
“As is the case for any situation involving our passengers, we will not give out any other information for reasons of privacy.”
“This delay in returning to Canada is the result of a situation beyond our control, and we regret any inconvenience that has resulted, but I can assure you our teams worked tirelessly in collaboration with Cuban authorities to safely bring our passengers home.”
Concerns raised about lack of medication
Travellers stranded on Cuba have expressed concerns that they were not able to access crucial medication while they were stranded.
“There were lots of people who ran out of medication. I know I personally ran out of mine,” Menchions said.
“I had people coming up and saying ‘I’m out of my blood pressure medication.’ But nowhere on the island had anything.”
Air Transat confirmed they received concerns from some passengers about a lack of medication but says additional medication was provided.
“Tour operator representatives on site contacted a doctor on the island and additional medication was provided to clients who requested it.”
Passengers taken on cockroach-infested ferry
Menchions said that after emergency crews arrived and took the man away passengers were put on a bus and taken to a ferry.
She said officials at the airport weren’t interested in speaking with her or any of the other people who performed CPR on the man.
“I was on the bus five minutes later,” Menchions said. “No one stopped to talk with us. We tried to talk to the doctor but they kept going.”
The ferry ride took approximately six hours. Menchions said after the sun went down, cockroaches came out and began crawling around the boat.
After they arrived in mainland Cuba, they were bussed to Havana where passengers eventually boarded an Air Transat flight to Toronto.
“It’s something I’ve never experience before,” Menchions said.
The airport is scheduled to reopen on Feb. 26.
The latest on protests across Canada in support of anti-pipeline demonstrators – CTV News
Here is the latest news on protests across Canada over a natural gas pipeline project in British Columbia:
The federal agriculture minister is indicating that help could soon be on the way for farmers impacted by barricades that have virtually shut down Canada’s rail network.
Marie-Claude Bibeau says 2019 and the beginning of this year have been difficult for Canada’s agriculture sector.
She told reporters in Ottawa today that she is looking for “practical ways” to support farmers who have been unable to get their products to market as a result of the barricades, but could not elaborate, saying she needs to speak with her cabinet colleagues first.
Rail and road barricades have been erected in several locations across the country over the last two weeks in solidarity with the hereditary leaders of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation, who oppose a pipeline project on their territory in northwestern B.C.
The RCMP confirms the commander of the Mountie’s British Columbia division has sent a letter to Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs, agreeing to discuss the future of a small contingent of officers stationed on traditional First Nation territory near the site of a disputed pipeline.
The letter from Deputy Commissioner Jennifer Strachan says she is willing to meet with the chiefs to discuss what she calls the Community Industry Safety Office, located southwest of Houston along a road leading to the area where the Coastal GasLink pipeline is under construction.
Staff Sgt. Janelle Shoihet says the letter states that if there is continued commitment to keep the road open, the need for the police presence is “diminished or decreased.”
Shoihet says the letter was sent Wednesday.
She says Strachan also sent an internal memo to all RCMP employees in B.C., offering her appreciation for their “professionalism” during recent enforcement of a court injunction ordering demonstrators away from the pipeline site.
The memo tells members that management is aware the presence of the RCMP contingent on the road is considered by hereditary chiefs as a barrier to further dialogue, and RCMP management supports efforts now underway to find a long-term solution to the issue.
Quebec Premier Francois Legault says police will dismantle a rail blockade in St-Lambert, south of Montreal, if a court grants an injunction.
He says the blockade that went up Wednesday is not on First Nations land, making it easier to take action.
The blockade in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs in British Columbia was erected on CN tracks, and has disrupted rail service for suburban commuters and travellers between Montreal and Quebec City.
A few dozen protesters, well stocked with supplies, tents, camping gear and firewood, are at the site today and say they plan to stay as long as RCMP remain on Wet’suwet’en lands.
Snow has been piled onto tracks, with signs strung across a cord hung between rail signals.
Protesters, who declined to give their names to reporters, describe themselves as supporters of the Wet’suwet’en and say they will take their direction from the B.C. First Nation’s hereditary chiefs, who are contesting the Coastal GasLink pipeline project.
Conservative leadership candidate Erin O’Toole says he would criminalize blockades of railways, air and seaports, major roads, businesses and households if he were prime minister.
The Ontario MP and former cabinet minister says police should clear blockades as soon as possible without having to wait for court injunctions.
Blockades set up in support of Indigenous protests of a natural-gas pipeline in British Columbia have halted rail traffic in Central Canada and temporarily blocked roads and bridges in spots across the country.
O’Toole also says he would take charitable status away from any group that accepts foreign contributions and encourages blockades.
To improve relations with Indigenous Peoples, O’Toole says he would fund an Aboriginal liaison officers in the RCMP.
Federal Public Safety Minister Bill Blair says the RCMP have offered to move officers away from the area where traditional leaders of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation have been opposing a pipeline on their territory.
Blair says that meets the conditions set by the chiefs, who have demanded that Mounties leave their traditional lands southwest of Houston, B.C.
But yesterday Chief Na’moks, one of five hereditary clan chiefs who lead the First Nation under its traditional form of governance, said pipeline builder Coastal GasLink must also pull out of the traditional territory before any meeting with provincial and federal politicians can proceed.
Canada’s minister in charge of Indigenous relations, Carolyn Bennett, and her B.C. counterpart Scott Fraser are in northern B.C. to meet with any of the hereditary chiefs who might be willing to talk.
Na’moks, who also goes by John Ridsdale, said he is attending a funeral and is unavailable to meet today, while the other four hereditary chiefs are expected in Mohawk territory to thank members of that Ontario First Nation for their solidarity.
Nationwide protests and blockades followed a move by RCMP to enforce a court injunction earlier this month against the hereditary chiefs and their supporters, who had been obstructing an access road to the company’s work site.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 20, 2020.
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