B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver. Black Press file photo.

B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver. Black Press file photo.

Three civil cases alleging sexual assault by former B.C. RCMP officer to go forward

Donald Cooke was AAA minor hockey coach of two alleged victims

Three alleged victims of sexual assault will have their cases heard together in a civil lawsuit against a former Abbotsford RCMP officer and AAA minor hockey coach.

Robert Callan, Thomas Thiessen and Travis Piers claim they were sexually assaulted by Donald Cooke between 1982 and 1985 when they were minors. Cooke was stationed with the Abbotsford RCMP detachment and was coaching the city’s AAA minor hockey team during this period.

The three plaintiffs are also seeking damages against the Attorney General of Canada, claiming the office is liable for the actions of Cooke, as he was an RCMP officer during these alleged assaults. The attorney general denies the allegations in relation to Cooke and any potential liability from his actions.

Callan and Piers were both hockey players under Cooke’s tutelage. They say that Cooke cultivated a relationship with them with the intention of sexually assaulting them.

Thiessen did not play hockey under Cooke, but similarly claims the defendant cultivated a relationship with him and his parents for the same sexual purposes as the other two plaintiffs.

All claim to be sexually assaulted in Cooke’s police vehicle, among other locations.

Bob Mostar, the lawyer for the plaintiffs, initially filed Callan’s civil claim against Cooke and the attorney general in 2011, followed by Thiessen’s in 2015, and Piers’ in 2019.

RELATED: Two men allege sex abuse by former Abbotsford Mountie, who denies claims

RELATED: Abbotsford Police ordered to turn over records

Cooke was previously under RCMP investigation, from 2004 to 2009, after Callan, Piers, and two others former players came forward claiming sexual assault while they were being coached by him in the 1980s. He was arrested by RCMP officers in 2005, but Crown counsel later dismissed the charges, citing a lack of evidence.

An application to dismiss the three civil cases by Cooke’s lawyer – on grounds that the RCMP never charged him with a crime and the delay in bringing the cases before the courts since their initial filings – was denied by Justice Christopher Hinkson on March 3.

Hinkson said, because of significant trauma suffered by victims of sexual assaults, the delay was reasonable. His decision cited the plaintiffs’ affidavits explaining psychological stress.

“I had a great deal of difficulty bringing myself to a decision to finally initiate and permit the filing of the action,” Thiessen’s affidavit says. “I instructed my solicitor to pause on the process of the lawsuit as my psychological state would not permit me to address the issues and I did not feel psychologically strong enough to move forward.”

Cooke has previously denied the allegations of his four former players, claiming they were kicked off the team in 1985 because it was discovered they were in possession of stolen equipment.

Cooke also filed a lawsuit of his own against the RCMP, seeking $13.5 million in damages, claiming mistreatment during their investigation into the claims.

In his suit against the RCMP, Cooke pointed to two polygraph tests from 2005 and 2006, where the tester stated he was “conclusively telling the truth.” The parties reached a settlement in 2015, where Cooke won a lump-sum payment and would be eligible for his RCMP pension.

A civil case was previously brought against Cooke by Mostar in 2005, representing another alleged victim from Abbotsford. Graeme Wilson claimed he was arrested by Cooke in connection to an arson of his family’s residence and coerced into sexual favours between 1983 and 1986 in exchange for the charges being dropped.

Cooke’s defence argued the three cases should be heard by a judge separately, allowing the evidence from each case to be based on its individual merits.

Hinkson decided the evidence will be heard by a trial judge, and it will be up to that judge’s discretion whether the cases will be tried together.

[CORRECTION: A previous version of this article stated Cooke was stationed with the Matsqui RCMP detachment – it was the Abbotsford RCMP detachment.]

– with files from Vikki Hopes

Cops and Courtssexual abuse

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

TEASER PHOTO ONLY
Surrey woman a face of World Ovarian Cancer Day campaign in London, New York

‘It’s so important we find better treatments,’ Catherine Eiswerth says

Flags flown at half mast out front of Fraser Regional Correctional Centre for slain corrections officer Bikramdeep Randhawa. (Neil Corbett/ The News)
Public vigil and flying flags at half mast done to honour slain prison guard

Maple Ridge corrections officer Bikramdeep Randhawa, 29, is being remembered in a number of ways

Surrey-White Rock MLA Trevor Halford and Surrey South MLA Stephanie Cadieux. (Contributed photos)
BC NDP ‘chose to create a system of chaos’ by holding back COVID-19 data: Cadieux

South Surrey MLAs criticize provincial government after BCCDC documents leak

The map shows the number of COVID-19 cases for the week of April 25 to May 1. The darkest areas indicate communities with a daily average of more than 20 cases per 100,000 population. (BC Centre of Disease Control)
Surrey and Abbotsford battle for top COVID hotspot in Fraser Health

Two communities are among areas across province showing highest transmission

A woman walks past a long lineup that snaked through the parking lot at the Cloverdale Rec. Centre April 27 after Fraser Health allowed people age 30 and over from “high-transmission neighbourhoods” to access the AstraZeneca shot. The temporary vaccination centre is located on the Cloverdale Fairgrounds. (Photo: Malin Jordan)
Cloverdale now considered a ‘high-transmission area’

Anyone 30 and over can now register for a vaccine

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to start releasing neighbourhood-specific COVID numbers after data leak

Documents obtained by the Vancouver Sun show cases broken down by neighbourhoods

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix update B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, April 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count creeps up, seven more deaths

445 people in hospital, 157 in intensive care

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Summerland’s positive test rate is much higher than surrounding local health areas, according to internal BC CDC documents. (BC CDC)
Summerland 3rd behind Surrey, Abbotsford in daily per capita COVID-19 cases

Interior Health is rolling out additional vaccine availability to the community

Mandeep Grewal was gunned down outside an Abbotsford bank in October 2018. Police said a violent gang war to control drug-line territory was going on at that time. Drug charges have now been announced against seven people. (FILE PHOTO: John Morrow/Abbotsford News)
7 people face 38 charges related to gang drug activity in Abbotsford and Mission

Police say investigation began in 2018 into expansion of Brothers Keepers’ drug line

Amazon is pausing its Prime Day marketing event in Canada this year amid ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks at its facilities in Ontario. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Amazon Prime Day halted in Canada due to COVID-19 outbreaks in warehouses

The event was postponed to protect the health and safety of employees and customers, the company says

Ally Thomas, 12, seen in an undated family handout photo, died on April 14 from a suspected overdose. Her family says they are frustrated more public supports weren't available when they tried to get her help. THE CANADIAN PRESS
Minister says suspected overdose death of 12-year-old pushing B.C. to ‘do better’

Minister Sheila Malcolmson of Mental Health and Addictions says the government is working ‘as hard as we can’ to build a system of care for youths

At this Highway 3 check point, police officers will be asking for identification from drivers, documentation regarding the driver’s name and address, and the purpose for the driver’s travel. (RCMP)
No fines handed out at 1st COVID-19 roadblock as checks move across B.C.

Cpl. Chris Manseau says a total of 127 vehicles were stopped at a roadblock in the Manning Park area

Most Read