Company that handed apartment keys to convicted rapist refuses to compensate victim

Phillip Skulnec was made the building caretaker and given keys to dozens of apartments despite his criminal history

Company that handed apartment keys to convicted rapist refuses to compensate victim

A Calgary company that gave a convicted rapist the keys to dozens of apartments in a building complex has refused to compensate a woman who was victimized and forced to move after an altercation with the rapist. The incident reportedly took place in February 2017, though the 36-year-old unnamed victim managed to escape unscathed due to some quick thinking at the time.

According to CBC, Philip Skulnec broke into the apartment of the woman they have only identified as Lisa after being given the keys by Marri Properties, which owns the Willow Green Estates complex where she was living at the time. Lisa says she woke up one morning to see Skulnec, who was the building caretaker at the time, hovering over her bed.

The Willow Green Estates complex owned by Marri Properties (Source: Google Maps)
The Willow Green Estates complex owned by Marri Properties (Source: Google Maps)

"I'm sure he was about to get in my bed but I woke up and I screamed so loud," she said, and that notion proved to be true. She soon discovered that Skulnec had previously been convicted of raping a woman in Edmonton after breaking into that woman's apartment as well. Earlier this year, he also pleaded guilty to breaking and entering with the intent to sexually assault Lisa.

The incident resulted in the 36-year-old having to uproot her entire life, which in turn has meant costs and expenses that have accumulated significantly over the past year and a half. She says she could no longer stay in the apartment and has had to move with her daughters — one of whom has special needs — to a new residence.

She also had to cancel a trip to Africa that she had won and which was worth around $12,000. The trip required that she depart around 10 days after the incident with Skulnec, and Lisa says she couldn't do so because she had developed an ulcer and was afraid about "suffering physically and mentally in a far away country." Furthermore, there were also costs pertaining to therapy and taking stress-related leave from work.

Phillip Skulnec was sentenced to just one year in jail (Source: Calgary Police Department)
Phillip Skulnec was sentenced to just one year in jail (Source: Calgary Police Department)

The 36-year-old says the whole experience, including her having to face Skulnec in court, has been "unbelievably emotional,' adding she now suffers from anxiety and wakes up at 3:00 a.m. every morning — the exact time she found her would-be attacker at her bedside. 

In the aftermath, Lisa's dad reportedly tried to help her recoup some of the costs, but Marri Properties refused to compensate her and sent her to their insurer, Intact, instead. However, Intact has stalled on her claim as well and cited privacy concerns as a reason they could not disclose the Calgary company's coverage. In a statement, spokesperson Hazel Tan said certain types of risks such as abuse may not be covered under insurance contracts. 

Lisa says Marri Properties never took her complaint seriously and now wants companies to do proper background checks before hiring employees who are given access to people's homes — something that is not a requirement under Alberta law. As for Skulnec, his latest transgression saw him sentenced to just one year in jail and a further two-year probationary period.