Peter Nygard lawyer before the bar for criticizing the alleged victims

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When women began coming forward to join a class action lawsuit against fashion mogul Peter Nygard, his Winnipeg lawyer called the sexual assault plaintiffs liars and gold diggers only after his money.

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“A lot of people are seeing dollar signs and they’re jumping on the bandwagon,” Jay Prober told the Winnipeg Free Press in February 2020.

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When the number of people joining the lawsuit jumped from 10 to 46 a few months later, Prober called them all liars in the same newspaper. “As I predicted before, more and more women are jumping on what they perceive to be the money train, the gravy train. They see it as a cash cow. I believe that explains the rather ridiculous number of additional complainants.

In June of that year, 11 more women were added to the civil suit, including two from Winnipeg, actor April Telek and former model KC Allan.

“Telek has jumped on the money-collect bandwagon and has nothing to lose,” the attorney told CBC’s Fifth Estate. “She’s a pretend actress who is now playing another role.”

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Their allegations were all fabricated, Prober claimed, and part of a “criminal conspiracy.”

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When Shannon Moroney read Prober’s insulting comments, she was furious — both as a Toronto therapist for many of the women involved in the lawsuit and as a mother to daughters. She saw it as another attempt by the powerful to intimidate victims of sexual assault into not coming forward.

Moroney hired a lawyer to help him file a malpractice complaint against Prober with the Law Society of Manitoba, as did Allan.

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“Strong defense of a client – ​​including public statements – is something my clients and I respect,” Moroney wrote in her lawsuit in January 2021. “But we draw the line at bullying, defamation , insult and criminal allegations.”

Nearly two years later, Moroney has learned that Prober will finally appear in bar court at the end of this month where he faces two malpractice charges – one for failing to be courteous and civil and for acting in good faith, the other for giving information to the media and making public statements that could seriously prejudice a party’s right to a trial or to a fair hearing.

He was told he would probably only receive a reprimand.

“It’s just an uphill battle,” sighed Moroney, who advises 40 of the Nygard alleged victims in his practice. “It should never have been up to us, they should have charged him themselves.”

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Peter Nygard at a 2013 event in Winnipeg.
Peter Nygard at a 2013 event in Winnipeg. Photo by Kevin King/Postmedia/File

Denied bail, Nygard, 81, is being held in Toronto where he is due to stand trial next September on eight counts of sexual assault and three of forcible confinement dating back to 1986. The accused sexual predator also facing two counts in Quebec. .

His Canadian trials are set to continue ahead of his extradition to the United States where New York was the first to file charges in December 2020, accusing him of racketeering, sex trafficking and related crimes involving dozens of victims in the United States, the Bahamas and Canada for 25 years.

In their indictment, prosecutors claimed that Nygard targeted women and underage girls from poor or abusive and recruited them by inviting them to “cocooning evenings” in the Bahamas or at his home in Marina Del Rey where they would be showered with food, drink and spa services. They would then have been recruited to provide “Nygard’s sexual gratification and the sexual gratification of his friends and associates.

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He denied everything allegations and none of accusations have been proven in court.

The lack of legal danger Nygard faces in his hometown of Winnipeg, where his empire was based, is glaring in his omission.

Eight women, including April Telek and KC Allan, turned themselves in to Winnipeg police with similar allegations, but no charges were laid. Moroney called for a public inquiry.

In the meantime, she is happy that at least her lawyer is sanctioned.

“It shouldn’t have been undertaken by a victim and a therapist,” she said. “It’s a battle won in the greatest effort to reverse the cultural trend of silencing women and girls.”

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