Woman sues Col. Williams, wife for $2.45M after alleged sex assault

BELLEVILLE—The “horrific and reprehensible” alleged sexual attack on a 21-year-old woman by Col. Russell Williams has left her fearful and suicidal, the woman claims in a lawsuit filed against the former CFB Trenton base commander.

The woman, identified only as Jane Doe, is also suing Williams’s wife, Mary-Elizabeth Harriman, claiming Williams fraudulently transferred an Ottawa property to his wife in an effort to defeat Jane Doe’s claim.

Williams has been criminally charged with killing two women, sexually assaulting another two woman and with 82 break-and-enter charges, some of which reportedly involved lingerie.  The criminal charges have not yet been tested in court nor have the civil allegations. There is no indication Williams has filed a statement of defence.

Williams broke into Jane Doe’s home in Tweed, Ont., on Sept. 17, 2009 at about 1 a.m. while she and her infant daughter were sleeping, the suit claims. Williams held her captive, sexually assaulted her and took naked pictures of her, according to the lawsuit filed with the court in Belleville, Ont.

During the attack, which left her sexually, emotionally and mentally traumatized, the woman was terrified Williams would kill her and/or her baby, she claims.  “The conduct of the defendant was harsh, vindictive, malicious, horrific and reprehensible,” the statement of claim reads.

The horror of that night has left the woman with a long list of ongoing trauma, she claims. She will continue to suffer physical, mental and emotional pain, “major” depression, suicidal behaviour, sexual dysfunction and drug and alcohol dependencies, the $2.45-million lawsuit says.

The woman also claims she has lost the ability to trust other people, she has lost current and future income because of an inability to seek or obtain meaningful employment and therefore cannot provide for her children.  She will require extensive therapy and medical attention, she claims, and is seeking $100,000 for future care costs.

The woman is also seeking $500,000 each in general damages for pain and suffering and loss of future income, as well as $500,000 each for aggravated damages and punitive damages. She is also claiming $250,000 in special damages for lost income and a further $100,000 for unspecified special damages.

Jane Doe is also alleging Williams secretly transferred a property in Ottawa, the city in which he shared a home with his wife, in “unusual haste” and under “suspicious circumstances.”  The suit alleges the real estate transaction took place on March 26 — some six weeks after Williams was criminally charged in the sex assaults and killings.

The woman believes that Williams and Harriman “will remove assets from the jurisdiction or otherwise dispose of or dissipate them in an effort to defeat the plaintiff in any attempt to recover upon the judgment, if the plaintiff is ultimately successful,” the suit reads.  Williams led one of the country’s top airbases — CFB Trenton — before he was charged in February with first-degree murder in the deaths of Cpl. Marie-France Comeau of Brighton, Ont., and Jessica Lloyd, 27, of Belleville. He is also charged in the sexual assaults of two others.

Just hours before Williams made a brief court appearance last month, provincial police said a review of unsolved crimes in eastern Ontario had resulted in 82 new charges.  It’s alleged Williams burglarized Jane Doe’s home twice after the Sept. 17 assault. The court documents also show police believe he robbed the home of his second alleged assault victim twice before the Sept. 30 attack in the woman’s home.

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