A Red River College student who was brutally beaten on a work placement is suing the school and the organization that oversees the youth centre where her attackers left her for dead.

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A Red River College student who was brutally beaten on a work placement is suing the school and the organization that oversees the youth centre where her attackers left her for dead.

Jackie Healey, who is represented by lawyer Robert Tapper, is seeking damages from Red River College and the Behavioural Health Foundation, which runs the addictions and mental-health treatment centre in Selkirk where Healey was attacked during the final shift of her three-week practicum on May 29. Healey was completing her work placement there as part of the college’s child and youth care diploma program.

Reached by the Free Press Tuesday, after the lawsuit had been filed in court, 23-year-old Healey declined to talk about the lawsuit before speaking with her lawyer.

Tapper said he hopes the lawsuit can eventually bring some closure to Healey and her family, but "it’s very, very early."

"Her injuries are still evolving," he said. "In injury cases, you don’t settle a claim or set it down for trial until you know that the injury is stabilized and you know what you’ve got on your hands so you can try to assess the value of the claim."

"It’s not a typical case. This poor kid goes (on a practicum) as a student and gets the you-know-what beat out of her. (Where) are the safeguards?" Tapper added.

Jackie Healey</p>

Jackie Healey

The Selkirk facility was scheduled to shut in June. Healey and an adult female support worker were the only ones on duty with the two remaining residents of the facility — teen boys — when the boys allegedly attacked, beating the women with a baseball bat and pool balls in a sock. Healey suffered vision loss, as well as a fractured skull and broken teeth. The other woman also reportedly suffered a fractured skull. After the beating, the teens allegedly fled the centre in a stolen truck. Three boys, two 17-year-olds and a 16-year-old who can’t be identified under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, face multiple assault charges.

In a previous interview, Healey told the Free Press she’d always got along well with the boys, but on the night of the attack, the oldest teen "was like a different person."

"I can’t believe it, honestly. They must have planned this out. It’s really scary to me how someone can turn."

Red River College spokesman Conor Lloyd said the college is aware of the lawsuit.

"I can confirm that we were advised that a statement of claim was filed, and that’s about all I’m able to confirm at the moment," he said.

Jody Ostapiw, board president for the Behavioural Health Foundation and a criminal defence lawyer, also declined to comment on the "pending litigation."

The college announced it would conduct its own investigation into the circumstances leading up to the assault and its work-placement policies and procedures. The investigation is expected to be completed before the start of the new school year.

— with files from Alexandra Paul and Mike McIntyre

katie.may@freepress.mb.caTwitter: @thatkatiemay

Katie May

Katie May
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Katie May reports on courts, crime and justice for the Free Press.

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