/Kilcoo director accused of assault; court claims filed

Kilcoo director accused of assault; court claims filed

By Emily Stonehouse

Content warning: Please note that the following article outlines references of sexual misconduct towards a minor and acts of sexual assault, which may be upsetting to some readers. 

The well-known Kilcoo Camp just south of Minden has made the news, and not for any of the right reasons. 

The prestigious camp’s former director, David Latimer, was accused of sexual misconduct that arose in the 1990s and early 2000s. Two cases were put forward, with the plaintiffs identified as J. Doe # 1 and J. Doe # 2. Due to the ages of the plaintiffs at the time of the alleged incidents, both cases are currently seeking a sealing and non-publication order on their names.

At this time, none of the claims have been tested in court. 

In the claim made by J. Doe # 1, who was born in 1983, the plaintiff attended a week-long outdoor education program at Kilcoo for two years in a row, in approximately the years 1990 to 1993. Latimer, born in 1962, who, as the director of the camp at the time, was responsible for facilitating the activities for the week. Through this, Latimer developed a close relationship with J. Doe # 1, buying them personalized gifts and showering them with extra attention. 

Towards the end of the week, Latimer told J. Doe # 1 that he wanted to take them “somewhere special” that would be a “secret” and warned them not to tell anyone. In the claim, Latimer proceeded to trap J. Doe # 1 against the wall, and continued to kiss and grope J. Doe # 1 above and below their clothing. 

After the assault, Latimer told J. Doe # 1 that they were now in a romantic relationship. This “relationship” included exchanged cards, letters, photos, and telephone calls. It continued on for three to four years, before Latimer saw J. Doe # 1 once again in-person, at which point, he introduced someone else as his girlfriend. 

“Over time and throughout their young adulthood, the effects of the psychological

trauma inflicted by Latimer’s sexual assault intensified,” reads the claim brought against Latimer on July 27, 2023. “J. Doe #1’s mental health suffered acutely, eventually causing them to lose their job, withdraw from their social network, and move back home with their parents.”

J. Doe # 2 was between the ages of 12 and 14 when they attended an outdoor education program at Kilcoo Camp in approximately 2001 to 2003. During this first stay at Kilcoo, she met Latimer, and he would engage in “extra” efforts to make her feel seen. “Latimer developed a close relationship with J. Doe #2,” reads the claim made by the plaintiff. “He gave her an affectionate nickname and told her that she was special. The attention made J. Doe #2 feel valued, and she began to idolize Latimer.”

J. Doe # 2 continued to attend the camp as she grew, and at the age of 15, became a junior counsellor. She maintained a close relationship with Latimer and his family, including his minor daughter. Latimer continued to hyper-fixate on J. Doe # 2, and gave her special privileges to gain his trust over the years. At the age of 19, J. Doe # 2 was approached while privately undressing by Latimer, (who was in his late 40s at the time), who groped her while blaming her ‘irresistible sexual energy’, as cited in the claim. 

Latimer proceeded to assault J. Doe # 2 with sexually explicit phone calls and texts, pornographic videos, non-consensual groping and fondling, and continued indecent exposure over a number of years. 

Both plaintiffs are claiming more than $1.5 million in total compensation, from both Latimer and Kilcoo Camp, citing both parties as liable for the assaults. “The relationship between Latimer and Kilcoo Camp is sufficiently close,” states the claims, “and Latimer’s wrongful conduct is sufficiently connected to conduct authorized by Kilcoo Camp, to render Kilcoo Camp vicariously liable for Latimer’s actions.”

Up until very recently, Latimer had been the director of Kilcoo since 1985, as well as the director of community life at Greenwood College School in Toronto, where he left in 2023 following rumours that he violated boundaries with a handful of minor students at the facility. 

Upon the allegations at Kilcoo, Latimer stepped down immediately, as was noted in a letter sent out to upcoming Kilcoo camp families. 

The crux of both claims was the forced coercion on behalf of Latimer, as well as the lack of consent. “Consent must be active and ongoing,” the claims stated, “submission does not equal consent.”

Beyond sending the Times the detailed statement of claims for J. Doe # 1 and J. Doe # 2, the lawyers representing the plaintiffs, Gillian Hnatiw and Anna Matas stated that they will not be making further comments on the cases at this time. 

The Times will continue to report on this story as new developments take place.