The legal fallout from a teacher convicted of sexually abusing his students is continuing for School District 57.
A notice of claim was filed Nov. 2 on behalf of a man seeking $3.2 million in damages from the school district for the abuse he allegedly suffered at the hands of Wendell Diakiw.
The plaintiff, identified only by his initials, says he was one of the six victims for which Diakiw was sentenced in February 1988 to five years in prison.
The notice of claim sets out a lengthy list of acts Diakiw is alleged to have committed against the plaintiff, starting in the 1978-79 school year when he was a student in Diakiw's Grade 4 class at Austin Road Elementary School in Prince George.
Some occurred on school district premises and others in Diakiw's home under the guise of school-sanctioned piano lessons, according to the claim.
Diakiw "groomed and sexually abused the Plaintiff on a repeated basis," and was using his position and the opportunity, power and trust which is provided to further his attempts to manipulate the Plaintiff and engage in deviant activities," the claim variously reads.
The claim further pleads that the school district was negligent and failed in its duty to the victim by failing to confirm and investigate Diakiw's credentials prior to appointing him to the position, failed to recognize the pattern of behaviour Diakiw was engaging in with certain students and other young boys and once it had become sufficiently aware, failed to warn parents and students.
As a result, the plaintiff suffered "guilt, shame and humiliation; impairment of his opportunity to experience a normal adolescence and adulthood; diminished capacity in school which lead [sic] to him quitting high school..." the claim says in part.
Diakiw is believed to have died in July, according to the claim.
The plaintiff is represented by lawyer Aaron Lealess of Beckett Personal Injury Lawyers, based in London, Ontario. Lealess also represented three men who, in 2017, also filed lawsuits against the school district, as well as Diakiw, over similar claims.
All three matters were settled out of court. Details on two of those settlements were not made public while one received a public apology and $1.1 million in damages.
The school district has not yet filed a response to the latest notice of claim and the allegations have not been tested in court.
Published on November 10, 2022