Former leader suing Bear Clan, board member
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The former leader of the Bear Clan Patrol is suing the Winnipeg community non-profit and one of its board members for alleged defamation.
In a statement of claim filed Sept. 28 in the Manitoba Court of King’s Bench, former Bear Clan executive director James Favel alleged board of directors member Shaneen Robinson-Desjarlais defamed him in a 2020 social media post, by calling him a slang term for a sex offender.
A phone call to the lawyer representing the volunteer patrol organization seeking comment was not returned Thursday. Robinson-Desjarlais could not be reached for comment. Neither have filed a statement of defence.
Favel alleges Robinson-Desjarlais wrote the social media post in response to another post about Favel and his involvement with the organization around Sept. 29, 2020.
“James is a skinner goof who solicits girls for naked photos including my niece and yet he acts like he is someone wait til (sic) the truth comes out bud,” the post said, according to the claim.
In the statement of claim, Favel said the comment was defamatory and untrue, and intended to negatively alter the perception of him in the community, diminish his character and reputation.
He is seeking unspecified general, special and punitive damages, as well as court costs.
Favel co-founded the community safety organization in 2014, and was executive director until he was ousted in July 2020.
In a Free Press interview the month after he was sacked, Favel said he resisted what he called “massive board over-reach that created a toxic atmosphere,” making it impossible to run the day-to-day operations of the volunteer organization.
Favel said the board pointed to other reasons for his dismissal, including his appearances on television and acceptance of honoraria for travel and speaking — which they worried could jeopardize the organization’s non-profit status.
In a statement in August 2020, Robinson-Desjarlais said the board made the decision to remove Favel to uphold its legal duties to all employees.
“Mr. Favel is well-aware his departure was made necessary due to his inappropriate conduct. Certain allegations were investigated and verified by Manitoba Workplace Safety and Health, and Mr. Favel was interviewed as part of that investigation,” Robinson-Desjarlais said in the statement.
Robinson-Desjarlais, a former CTV and APTN newscaster, ran for Winnipeg city council in 2010 in the Elmwood-East Kildonan ward but was unsuccessful.
Erik Pindera reports for the city desk, with a particular focus on crime and justice.