A recent lawsuit alleges a Revelstoke city councillor sexually assaulted a 15-year-old girl while volunteering at her Langley school seven years ago.
Cody Younker was elected to city council in 2018. At the time of the alleged incident, he was an adult chaperone at Walnut Grove Secondary in the Lower Mainland.
The student, who is referred to as Jane Doe in the lawsuit, participated in overnight hikes organized by the school.
Documents recently filed in the B.C. Supreme Court allege that during the hikes, Younker specifically inquired into the plaintiff’s personal life and learned of her mental health struggles, which included suicidal thoughts.
After the third hike, the lawsuit claims Younker asked for Jane Doe’s phone number and started texting her that same evening. He later allegedly began picking her up after school for “homework hangouts”.
In a written statement, Jane Doe claims she was being “groomed” and “exploited” by Younker.
Around May and June of 2014, court documents allege that Younker committed acts of sexual assault and battery upon the plaintiff.
“I was invited to his house one evening to study for an upcoming test. The house was quiet and empty. This was the night I was robbed of my innocence,” claimed Jane Doe.
Around mid-June 2014, the plaintiff reported the alleged abuse to a friend who contacted the school.
School District 35 and school counsellor Darlene Kifiak are also named as a defendant in the lawsuit. It’s alleged Kifiak accused Jane Doe of lying about the incident after interviewing her.
“This re-victimized me – severely,” stated Jane Doe in the lawsuit.
The lawsuit alleges the school district knew or ought to have known the harm Younker posed to students but failed to take any reasonable steps to protect them.
According to court documents, Younker was in a position of trust and power over the plaintiff and had a duty of care to not harm a vulnerable minor.
The plaintiff’s lawyer, Sandy Kovacs, said no criminal charges were ever laid against Younker, although her client did report her complaint to RCMP.
RCMP submitted files to the BC Prosecution Service (BCPS) in 2014 and later in 2019, but the BCPS said it decided not to proceed with criminal charges.
The lawsuit claims the alleged abuse caused Jane Doe to suffer post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms, depression, anxiety, impaired ability to trust and be intimate with others, impaired psychological growth and development, low self-esteem, and nightmares.
The lawsuit seeks financial relief for pain and suffering as well as aggravated damages, loss of past and future earning capacities, and punitive damages from Younker, Kifiak and the Langely School District.
No response has yet been filed to the lawsuit from Younker and the allegations have not been proven in court.
In a text message to Black Press Media, Younker said he would like to speak to the allegations but is unable at this time. He did not respond to questions on whether he would stay on city council, however, he has since deleted his city councillor page on Facebook.
Younker was on the executive board of the BC Liberal Party, but in the wake of the allegations has since resigned.
The Langley School District said in a statement that it’s looking into the allegations, but would not comment further. Kifiak is still listed as a councillor on the school’s website.
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