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Russell Williams victim settles suit with OPP

Mon Aug 17, 2015 8:54 am

No amount of money could ever make up for what happened to Laurie Massicotte.

Still, some is finally coming her way.

Almost six years after she was viciously attacked by the then base commander at CFB Trenton, disgraced ex-Col. Russell Williams, the Toronto Sun has learned the province has settled in her 2011 lawsuit that named the OPP — a small victory in a dark and deadly chapter for two slain women, several sexual assault victims and a shocked and horrified country.

“This is for them,” Massicotte said in an exclusive interview of murdered Cpls. Marie France Comeau and Jessica Lloyd. “I get up every day thinking of them.”

Her lawyer, Philip P. Healey, has been working on the negotiations of her claim for months and put the final touches on it earlier in August.

“We are happy we were able to resolve this matter with the police. This has been a long, difficult and trying ordeal for Ms. Massicotte and her family and she is relieved that she is finally seeing some results,” Healey said.

“We only hope that the remaining defendants will see the wisdom of such an approach.” The outstanding defendants in the lawsuit are Williams and his wife, Mary Elizabeth Harriman.

Massicotte describes her experience with Williams as something out of a “horror movie.” Held captive at knife-point, she was hit in the head with a flashlight, tied up, smothered with a blanket, had her clothing removed, was sexually assaulted and, to add to the horror and humiliation, had her picture taken by her masked attacker as well.

“I was sure I was going to die,” she said.

But Massicotte’s night from hell back on Sept. 30, 2009 was just getting started. There was more indignity to come.

“It was the worst time of my life but there were police who came to my house who did not quite believe me,” she said.

It was not a figment of her imagination, as one officer suggested.

There was nothing imaginary about Massicotte being restricted with a makeshift rope made from a pillowcase, and though anxious to get free, she was told she needed to wait for a forensics team to arrive. She was never taken to hospital.

Ironically, the only medicine offered for her throbbing head were two Aspirins from her twisted attacker.

“The whole thing was a nightmare,” said the Tweed woman, who survived the attack from the killer colonel, her neighbour just one cottage away.

When it was all said and done, Williams, a pilot who once flew the Queen, admitted to the murders, sex attacks and break-ins and was convicted in October 2010.

It turned out Massicotte was not his first victim from the Tweed area. Another woman, who lives just down from her, suffered similar violent indignities. Then there were all the lingerie break-ins. Massicotte has always said it would have been nice had she known: “I think police should have warned the area.”

In her 2011 lawsuit, later amended to $7.6 million, Massicotte claimed there was a “breach of duty of care by not warning her that a previous sexual assault had taken place on the same street where she lives only 13 days before” and a “breach of duty of care by not warning her of previous break and enters that had taken place on the same street” since Sept. 9, 2007 where “items of female clothing were taken.”

In her claim, Massicotte said the OPP “first described her assault by saying she was a copycat,” which made her feel “betrayed.”

Since her attack, she claimed in the suit, she had “become depressed, angry, anxious, overwhelmed, trapped, unhappy, confused.”

Neither the OPP, nor the attorney general, have yet to comment on the settlement.

However, an OPP source told me there were “great lessons” learned in the Massicotte case. “There were bad mistakes made there. She was treated like a piece of evidence instead of as a victim. In the end we did a good job in tracking down and convicting Williams, but a lot of officers always felt we owed Ms. Massicotte an apology.”

An official apology was not part of the settlement.

Meanwhile, while we will never know how many attacks it might have thwarted, Massicotte has always maintained had she known a woman was violated nearby, she would not have put herself in a position where she was alone at home with a predator on the loose.

Details of the amount of the settlement, she said, are sealed forever but she did say “it is good.” That said, she added: “I could not give one care about the money. It was never about that. It was about making sure victims are treated better and are respected.”



Sept. 17, 2009 — A woman in Tweed is held captive in her home and sexually assaulted.
Sept. 30, 2009 — Laurie Massicotte is assaulted in her Tweed home.
Oct. 29, 2009 — Police search home of Larry Jones, a neighbour of Williams. Jones is cleared of wrongdoing.
Nov. 25, 2009 — Police find body of Cpl. Marie-France Comeau, 38, in her Brighton home.
Jan. 28, 2010 — Jessica Lloyd, 27, is last heard from.
Feb. 4, 2010 — Investigators set up a roadblock on Hwy. 37, near Belleville and question Williams, who came to the attention of police due to a distinctive tire tread on his vehicle.
Feb 7, 2010 — Williams arrested in connection with deaths of both Lloyd and Comeau and charged with two Tweed sex assaults.
Feb. 8, 2010 — Police find Lloyd’s body just off Cary Rd., near Tweed.
Feb. 11, 2010 — Search of Williams’ residences in Ottawa and Tweed yields stolen lingerie.
Feb 18, 2010 — Williams remanded into custody at Quinte Detention Centre in Napanee.
April 5, 2010 — Williams is put on a suicide watch after apparent suicide attempt.
April 29, 2010 — Williams is slapped with 82 charges in connection with break-ins in Tweed, Ottawa, and Belleville.
May 6, 2010 — A $2.4-million lawsuit is launched against Williams and his wife by one of his victims.
Oct. 18, 2010 — Williams pleads guilty to the murders of Lloyd and Comeau.
Sept. 25, 2011 — Massicotte files lawsuit against the OPP, Williams, and Williams’ wife.

http://www.torontosun.com/2015/08/16/ru ... t-with-opp
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