A civil lawsuit has been filed against two Victoria real estate agents and the company that employed them, the pair accused of drugging and sexually assaulting a woman.
In a civil claim filed in the Supreme Court Sept. 29, the woman – referred to as J.K. to protect her identity – claims that real estate agents Bowman Rutledge and Andy Rogers drugged and sexually assaulted her in the Engel and Volkers Vancouver Island office in the summer of 2018.
According to the claim, Rutledge and Rogers had sold J.K.’s home. The two men are accused of asking her out for a celebratory drink, before asking her to accompany them to their office so they could scan or print a document for work.
There, it is alleged that Rutledge and Rogers offered J.K. a drugged glass of wine before both men sexually assaulted her orally and vaginally.
The statement of claim says that J.K. has since suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and depression, diminished self-worth, repeated nightmares, loss of enjoyment of life, and impaired ability to trust. She is claiming damages for the past and future cost of health care services, among others.
While Rutledge and Rogers are answerable for their alleged unlawful actions while in positions of power, Engel and Volkers and Island Group Services are being accused of negligence and encouraging that behaviour. Both companies “fostered an environment that encouraged reckless and harmful behaviour towards women,” the suit claims, adding that the companies should have vetted the men before them, addressed their allegedly excessive drug and alcohol use and high-risk behaviour, and established and enforced a policy prohibiting sexual interactions between agents and their clients.
J.K.’s allegations were only made publicly known several years later when her experience was posted to a social media page for Vancouver Island survivors of sexual assault. By that time, in March, Rutledge and Rogers had moved on from Engel and Volkers and were working at The Agency real estate company instead. Within days of the social media post, The Agency fired the two men.
As of Oct. 4, there have been no responses made to the civil claim from the agents nor others named. None of the allegations have been tested in court.
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