Local real estate company Engel & Volkers has severed ties with one of its agents after allegations of sexual assault were posted on social media.
“As we work to uncover more details about these allegations, we can confirm that the agent has returned all real estate listings to us and no longer has any responsibilities with Engel & Volkers Vancouver Island,” said the statement signed by brokerage owner Scott Piercy.
“Our highest commitment is to our community, clients and staff. We support those who have come forward to report sexual harassment and abuse and will do our utmost to eliminate this abhorrent behaviour.”
An unnamed woman posted allegations on the Instagram account @survivorstoriesprojects Friday evening, saying she had been drugged and sexually assaulted by a real estate agent after a party in Oak Bay in October 2019. After the assault, the woman said, she went to hospital for a forensic examination. She also made a formal complaint to police but the investigation “went nowhere,” she wrote.
Saanich police, which investigates major crimes in Oak Bay, could not confirm whether they investigated or are investigating the allegations.
“We are only able to confirm an investigation is ongoing if there is an investigative purpose or if there is a risk to public safety,” said Const. Markus Anastasiades. “We also have a duty to protect everyone’s rights that may be involved in police investigations, as is upheld in the charter and in privacy laws in Canada.
“We must also be aware of information shared that could compromise any ongoing investigation.”
On Saturday, the Victoria Real Estate Board issued a statement saying it was aware of the allegations and is taking them very seriously.
“Sexualized violence has no place in our community. We are doing the work to understand our role and our ability to deal with egregious matters that fall within the jurisdiction of the court system,” the statement said.
Two other real estate agents were fired last week after women posted detailed sexual assault allegations on the @survivorstoriesprojects Instagram account. Other women have since come forward.
The Agency Victoria, a luxury real estate brokerage and lifestyle company, responded to the allegations on its own Instagram account, saying it had terminated its relationship with the agents.
“We want to be perfectly clear; we are shocked and deeply disturbed by the allegations. … We stand in full support of women who have endured sexual abuse and we encourage anyone with information to come forward,” the post said.
On Saturday, a group of Victoria real estate agents created an online fundraiser with a goal of raising $250,000 for the Victoria Sexual Assault Centre. The group said it’s upset and deeply disturbed by the information that has become public and wants to show support for the women of Victoria “who are dealing with the heavy burden of being sexually abused.”