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This article was published 29/12/2010 (3485 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
IT'S a lawsuit that's the first of its kind in Manitoba.
The province has filed a civil suit aimed at seizing the Winnipeg home where a soccer coach allegedly abused a preteen girl who played on his team.
The coach made headlines earlier this year when he was charged with abusing the player between December 2008 and May 2010, beginning when she was 11 years old.
The girl had confided in her coach about family problems and the abuse allegedly escalated to the point where they shared explicit photos with each other and had sex in the man's Winnipeg home, according to court documents.
The man hasn't been tried on the criminal charges and remains in jail.
However, provincial officials are now going after his home because they say it was an "instrument" in a serious crime.
"What we're saying generally to the public is that if you're using property to assist in a criminal activity, don't expect to keep that property," said Gord Schumacher, provincial director of the criminal property forfeiture unit.
"That goes to drug dealers: If you're using your car or using your house, don't expect to keep it. That goes to the person who's producing child pornography in the basement: If you're using that house... and you're producing illicit documents or pictures or whatever you're doing, don't expect to hide behind those walls later."
Schumacher said the latest legal move is "unusual" because previously the unit has focused on things like "drug houses, grow-op houses (and) the cars drug dealers use," under the province's Criminal Property Forfeiture Act. The province says under the act, people can lose their property to the government if a court rules they used it for unlawful activity or bought it with proceeds of unlawful activity.
The law says Manitobans can also lose their cash or cars for the same reasons.
One prominent example came this June when Schumacher and his unit -- along with police -- took control of a Scotia Street Hells Angels clubhouse, as a centre for criminal activity.
"We started with the easier ones, the ones that are more obvious, but we will continue to push the boundaries of the legislation and continue to move forward in seeking other files that deserve our attention," said Schumacher, who said the case against the accused sex offender is "unusual."
The civil lawsuit says the man's Winnipeg home was "an instrument of unlawful activity" because on at least two occasions the man allegedly sexually touched the girl while she was there.
The documents also allege on a third occasion the man brought the girl there, took off her clothing and had sex with her.
Court documents allege the man started driving the girl to soccer games and practices after building a friendship with her.
On the first ride, the man allegedly took a detour with the girl to his home, where he brought her inside and hugged her for a prolonged period of time.
On the second ride home, the man also allegedly brought the girl to his home, where the touching continued.
"The property has been used by the (defendant) to engage in unlawful activity, particularly the commission of the sexual assaults," says a statement of claim filed against the man.
"The property served as a location where he could take the victim and commit the assaults in privacy."
The statement of claim also says the alleged sex abuse has considerably hurt the victim.
"The unlawful activity (resulted) in serious bodily harm to the victim, including serious psychological harm," says the statement of claim.
Schumacher said the unit can continue its case against the accused sex offender even if he has not been criminally convicted.
The statement of claim is also naming Legal Aid Manitoba, who are representing the man, and Entegra Credit Union Limited, which has a mortgage on the home.
The Free Press has not published the man's name or his address in order to protect the identity of the victim.
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