Calgary Coun. Sean Chu apologized to alleged sex assault victim, tried to meet up again, lawsuit alleges

·4 min read
A lawsuit filed against Coun. Sean Chu in 1999 provides details from the perspective of a girl who reported him for sexual assault. (CBC - image credit)
A lawsuit filed against Coun. Sean Chu in 1999 provides details from the perspective of a girl who reported him for sexual assault. (CBC - image credit)

Despite claims to the contrary, Coun. Sean Chu met the teen he's accused of sexually assaulting several times before the incident and called his alleged victim to apologize in the days after, according to a 1999 lawsuit.

The lawsuit was filed by the teen and names Chu and then-police Chief Christine Silverberg as defendants. The action was ultimately dismissed against Silverberg.

Chu was noted in default, having not filed a statement of defence, court documents show the claim was never dismissed in favour of Chu.

Until now, details of the alleged sexual assault came from Law Enforcement Review Board (LERB) decisions and transcripts. For the first time, the statement of claim filed with the Court of Queen's Bench offers the alleged victim's account.

CBC News is identifying her as HH in order to protect her identity.

On Oct. 18, Chu was re-elected as Ward 4 councillor by a margin of 100 votes. He has faced increasing calls for him to step down since CBC News broke the story on Oct. 15 that when he was a 34-year-old police officer in 1997, he had sexual contact with a minor.

Chu called to apologize, asked to see her again, says lawsuit

HH and Chu met at least four times in person and once over the phone before he met her at a Husky House restaurant and then brought her to his home, according to the lawsuit.

Chu has repeatedly said he did not "recollect" any previous meetings with HH before the Aug. 12, 1997 incident.

After eating together at Husky House, Chu said he would drive HH home on his police motorcycle but instead, the claim alleges he "lured her" into his home, saying he was going to pick up his sick dog.

Once inside, the lawsuit claims, Chu violently sexually assaulted HH and took out his Calgary Police Service handgun "to overcome her resistance." After, he drove her home.

In a previous statement Chu has said "unequivocally … that there was no gun involved. He also says he passed a polygraph question on that exact issue.

"In the following days, while he was on duty, Constable Chu left messages on her phone apologizing and asking to see her again," reads the court document. "She returned none of the calls."

According to a transcript from part of Chu's disciplinary hearing, he claimed the encounter at his home involved "consensual sexual foreplay."

The transcript reveals that the presiding officer at the time did not believe the testimony of the complainant, finding HH was "inconsistent" in her evidence and had difficulty remembering "pertinent details."

HH reported the incident to police but no criminal charges were laid. Eventually, a Police Act investigation was launched.

Chu, who was a CPS officer from 1992 to 2013, was ultimately found guilty of discreditable conduct in 2003 and issued a five year reprimand which was placed on his file.

Details conflict with events Chu described this October

The details in the statement of claim conflict with what Chu described this October during the lead-up to Calgary's municipal election.

Chu said the two met for the first time while he and his partner were on duty doing a walkthrough of Kings Head Pub, not Husky House, and that he couldn't tell the girl was underage because they were at an establishment where people are supposed to be 18 or older.

A statement provided to CBC News weeks ago, claimed Chu "honestly has no recollection" of any previous encounter with HH.

However, the lawsuit alleges that Chu and HH had met several times, first in the spring of 1994 or 1995 when he questioned her about a complaint that she had committed an assault.

They met in HH's neighbourhood two or three times after that, while Chu was on-duty, and made small talk, the court document alleges. It goes on to say that in December 1996, the two spoke on the phone while he was again on CPS time and Chu complained that he had not received a Christmas card from HH. She then delivered a card to him at work.

The document says that on Aug. 9, 1997, they ran into each other outside a pub while he was on-duty, exchanged pager numbers and agreed to meet for coffee. They met two days later at the Husky House.

None of the allegations in the lawsuit have been tested in court, and only a statement of defence from then-police Chief Christine Silverberg was in the court file.

Silverberg said in her statement of defence that if any assault occurred, it happened "outside the scope and control" of the police chief.

The then-chief also argued that HH's complaint was properly investigated under the Police Act.

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