Anatomy Of An Allegation
Is Steven Galloway A Serial Predator Or The Victim of a Serial Liar? The Evidence Provides Answers
The Fight For Disclosure
During her first cross-examination as part of a motion to dismiss the defamation case Galloway v. AB under anti-SLAPP legislation, the defendant known as AB testified that in July of 2013 she reported to UBC’s Equity and Inclusion Office (Equity Office) that UBC’s newly appointed chair of Creative Writing, Steven Galloway, had choked her and that a director in the office named Monica Kay wasn’t interested in taking her complaint.
This testimony under cross-examination directly contradicted multiple assertions AB made to numerous people at UBC in 2015 when she told them that she had previously reported that Galloway raped her. Her story has shifted numerous times and continues to adapt itself to whatever version AB believes is most beneficial at any given moment.
AB wrote to UBC President Martha Piper in her November 13, 2015 email which officially began this scandal:
“I am submitting a formal complaint about a sexual assault perpetrated on me by a current UBC professor. This assault took place during the spring of 2012…I already reported this assault to a staff person at UBC in the summer of 2013 with extremely negative outcomes. I am repeating to you what I told them: I think this professor is a danger to other students and I do not want them to be exposed to further risk from him.”
This was an earth-shattering allegation that hit President Piper’s inbox exactly one week after a producer at CBC’s The Fifth Estate, Ronna Syed, contacted UBC about their upcoming documentary School of Secrets, which would lambaste UBC for not acting on a sexual assault allegation made against a PhD candidate in their History Department. The Fifth Estate was days away from hammering UBC when AB came forward with her allegations.
But AB’s allegations were far more damaging. Galloway was not only a tenured professor but a Department Chair. Her allegations were that she had been violently raped by him in his office on campus and that the CBC’s legal team had vetted these allegations and offered her a place in the documentary - which for the good of the Creative Writing Department she was temporarily declining. She has now admitted to fabricating the claim that anyone at CBC vetted her allegations.
The same day that AB emailed President Piper, Keith Maillard who was head of the department in 2013, also wrote to Piper demanding to know why he had not been informed that AB had reported a sexual assault in 2013. In the email Maillard says AB told him that she had reported, “-to Monica Kay, Director, Conflict Management, Equity and Inclusion Office, to be exact—and to the RCMP.”
To strengthen her claim that she reported sexual assault to Monica Kay, AB wrote to Maillard:
“Monica Kay—does have a file on my complaint to the university about my sexual assault.”
To strengthen her claim that she reported sexual assault to UBC’s Head of Security, Steve Bohnen, AB wrote to Maillard:
“The Head of Campus Security—his name is Steve—was the one who helped me put my safety plans in place and told me that Steve was a serial predator. He would remember Steve Galloway’s name for sure. He might have a file.”
To strengthen her claim that she reported to the RCMP, AB wrote Maillard:
“I filed a police report about Steve. I can’t get that tomorrow, but it is on file with the RCMP at the edge of campus.”
To strengthen all three claims, she wrote to Maillard:
“I will add that every single person I mentioned above, including the police, believed me. The police so much so--- because of the choking and the credibility and detail of my account—that he wanted to head to Steve’s office immediately to question him.”
None of these claims were true.
During AB’s first cross-examination in 2019, her testimony directly contradicts what she wrote to Maillard and President Piper in 2015. As AB testified:
“The only thing I was willing to disclose to her [Kay] was that he had choked me. It was easier to talk about that because it was physical violence and not sexualized.”
“I brought in everything I had at that time, which were, you know, Facebook messages and everything that I had that I thought was remotely relevant. And she [Kay] was not interested.”
This first cross-examination by Galloway’s counsel, Dan Burnett, Q.C., ought to cause any reasonable person to question AB’s credibility. As I previously reported, Monica Kay didn’t work in the Equity Office in July of 2013 so it’s simply not possible, as AB claimed under oath, that AB reported an assault to her at that time.
After AB provided insufficient or vague answers to a number of questions, Mr. Burnett requested document disclosures to verify AB’s testimony and the contents of her affidavit. AB’s counsel David Wotherspoon, Q.C. seemed blindsided by Mr. Burnett’s basic requests and claimed he had no right to make them.
MR. WOTHERSPOON: We're going to object to any request for documents. I propose to just leave a generic objection on the record so that you can move through things quickly. But the objection is on the basis that this is a cross-examination on an affidavit and not a discovery. Are you okay with proceeding that way?
BURNETT: I'm not okay with the objection. But we'll proceed that way, and we'll get a court to sort that out.
Among the requests made were for copies of the documents related to AB’s July 2013 complaint to UBC and a second complaint that she did indeed make to Monica Kay in December of 2013. The two complaints were just a few months apart which is why AB may have assumed Kay worked there in July. I will collectively refer to these documents as “The Equity Report.” In cross-examination AB refused to confirm she had them.
BURNETT: You have -- you have copies of the documents that reflect your report in July of 2013 and – and e-mails back and forth with the -- with the people with the Equity and Inclusion office; right?
AB: I don't have them directly in front of me.
BURNETT: No. But you -- you have possession or control of those documents somewhere; right?
WOTHERSPOON: Do you have the documents somewhere?
AB: I don't know.
WOTHERSPOON: She doesn't know.
In fact, AB’s long-term counsel, Joanna Birenbaum, obtained The Equity Report on AB’s behalf as part of a Freedom of Information request in 2015 during The Boyd Investigation (UBC’s official investigation into AB’s complaints conducted by retired Supreme Court Justice Mary Ellen-Boyd). As stated in the Boyd Report, Madam Justice Boyd reviewed the documents and determined they were “relevant” to her investigation, in which she did not substantiate any of AB’s allegations of sexual assault and assault, based on a balance of probabilities.
If Kay did indeed have a file containing 2013 allegations of sexual assault, as AB told Maillard, then the Equity Report would have been a key piece of evidence to corroborate her claims and it would have almost certainly been submitted to the court as key piece of her defence. Instead, she fought against disclosing it.
A hearing was held in BC Supreme Court on July 12, 2019 to decide if AB must comply with Mr. Burnett’s requests to disclose the Equity Report and other documents. AB’s counsel argued that Mr. Burnett’s requests were a deep dive into the evidence outside the limited scope of evidence as mandated by anti-SLAPP legislation.
Mr. Burnett argued that his requests were not a deep dive but an essential process for testing the truth of AB’s evidence, particularly when she provided vague testimony regarding facts she had sworn to in her affidavit. If a person could swear to facts in an affidavit and then, when cross-examined, assert to have no memory of these facts and refuse to produce documents that would clarify things, then cross-examination would be rendered meaningless.
In her Reasons for Judgment, the Honourable Madam Justice Murray exercised her discretion and made 20 orders for disclosure including an order to disclose the Equity Report. AB appealed Madam Justice Murray’s order to the BC Court of Appeal, claiming that her decision discriminated against survivors of sexual assault. In his factum to the appellate court, Mr. Wotherspoon wrote, “to achieve its legislative purpose for survivors of sexual violence, the PPPA must not be a sword in the hands of the plaintiff.”
The three-judge panel at the BC Court of Appeal unanimously upheld Madam Justice Murray’s orders. AB then sought leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada but was denied. The entire fight over the documents delayed the SLAPP hearing by nearly two years. While Galloway won time and time again, through it all there was one thing Mr. Wotherspoon was correct about: The disclosures would be a sword in the hand of the plaintiff, just not in the way he suggested to the court.
What is noteworthy about the documents in question is how uniformly damaging they have proven to be to AB’s case. Not one of them has supported the facts as sworn to in her affidavit, and worse, many of them have exposed her sworn testimony as false.
A New Version
Considering the effort AB put into fighting the order to disclose the Equity Report, one its most striking elements is AB’s repeated, recorded attempts to keep her allegations off the record. It’s probable that AB obtained the Equity Report during the Boyd investigation through a freedom of information request because she didn’t know what was in it due to her habit of making allegations while asking that records not be kept.
AB told Boyd that, “I requested that Monica not in any way disclose that I had spoken with her.” In December of 2013 when Kay was indeed working in the Equity Office, AB did make a complaint against Galloway to her, regarding his public Facebook posts. But the next day AB phoned Kay’s office in what is described as an “emotional and lengthy” phone call, telling the person who made notes after the call (likely Kay but the Equity Report doesn’t stipulate) that, “she does not want me to tell anyone that she has contacted me.”
AB also told Boyd that confidentiality was the reason that she did not give the RCMP “a sworn statement.” As she testified to Boyd:
“At the RCMP detachment, I wanted to open a confidential file as suggested by the Equity Office. I learned, however, that if I gave a statement, the officer would have to speak to Galloway (including identifying me) and investigate. I was extremely upset. I did not want any action taken. I did not give a sworn statement to the police.”
In both of her complaints, AB’s primary concern (over and above making allegations against Galloway) was that no one know she had made them. But her July 2013 complaint nearly got out of her control when AB was referred to UBC’s Head of Security, Steve Bohnen, who in turn had two of his officers take AB to the UBC RCMP detachment to make a statement (as was regularly the case for nearly any campus issue). AB was irate that UBC had involved the RCMP.
Keep in mind that making a false statement to the police is a criminal offence known as public mischief, punishable by up to five years in prison. The RCMP are of course trained investigators whereas the Equity Office is run by people without any investigative experience and a mandate to help students, not adjudicate criminal allegations.
The following day AB contacted Paras Deacon at the Equity Office to express her anger that she was taken to the RCMP when she “clearly asked to open a confidential file where everything is kept private.”
AB blamed the Equity Office and Bohnen and alleged that members at the UBC RCMP detachment traumatized her. “Not only they didn’t listen to me by ensuring everything is kept confidential,” AB wrote to Deacon, “they referred me to RCMP who then decided to take immediate action and contact the respondent.” She then told Deacon that she had to go through a “traumatizing experience with RCMP” to retract the statement that she had given them.
AB’s allegations against the RCMP were most scathing of all:
“I now feel awful. Victims should not go to the police at all unless they are prepared for the police to take over and do things the victims may not want them to do…The police created more trauma.”
Deacon took AB’s complaint against the RCMP so seriously that she emailed Dr. Gurdeep Parhar, the Acting Associate Vice President of Equity and Inclusion, to warn him:
“Please let someone know that RCMP is not a safe place to send people to.”
Since the day she was taken to the UBC RCMP detachment she has provided at least three different accounts of what happened. They include, in varying degrees:
She gave an officer a statement alleging sexual assault, and they believed her and had a file on it.
She gave an officer a statement alleging sexual assault but retracted it because she feared retribution from Galloway.
She did not give any statement at all alleging sexual assault.
The first version (in which she did file a complaint about sexual assault) was dispelled by RCMP spokesman, Drew Grainger, who told the media in November of 2015 that the UBC RCMP detachment had never received any complaints about Galloway.
The second version (that she did file a complaint but was able to “retract” her statement) is also highly unlikely, particularly if we are to believe AB’s claim that UBC’s head of security, who called the RCMP, believed Galloway was a rapist. In British Columbia the decision to investigate is made by the police and the decision to approve charges is made by Crown counsel. Either of those processes can proceed without the cooperation of the alleged victim.
As pointed out on a blog post on the website for the criminal law firm Sicotte & Sandhu, “In some cases, there is concern that alleged victims are coerced, or recant their statement out of fear. If the allegations are serious, the Crown counsel may be more concerned with the public interest and safety of the public than the preference of an alleged victim.”
RCMP Media Relations Officer Sgt. Chris Manseau told Truth and Consequences, “Only based on the reason for the retraction by the victim, would the investigator be able to understand the situation.”
“Sexual assault complaints are always taken seriously,” Sgt. Manseau said, “When applicable, members will contact divisional interview teams for assistance, for guidance, and materials on best practices, or interview planning. Members may even consult with specialized sections, such as the General Investigation Section and polygraph.” The RCMP also has operational avenues to mitigate any fears of safety a sexual assault complainant would have, including safety planning, placing specific no-contact, or no-go conditions on arrested suspects and other measures.
If Galloway were a known “serial predator” then it is unlikely (if not completely unrealistic) that AB reported a violent rape to the RCMP and was able to recant the allegation based on fear of reprisal without an investigation being opened to ensure that Galloway posed no risk to public safety. Additionally, it has been proven that Galloway is not a serial predator: The only allegations of sexual assault ever made against him originated from AB.
This makes AB’s third version most plausible: She didn’t give a statement to the RCMP about sexual assault and she lied about that to UBC in November of 2015.
AB’s July 2013 Complaint Against Steven Galloway
The Equity Report that AB has had in her possession since 2015 and fought for 20 months to not disclose, does not contain a single mention of any kind of assault, whether assault by way of choking, or sexual assault by way of her allegation that Galloway violently raped her in his office.
In July of 2013, exactly three weeks after Galloway received tenure and was appointed Chair of Creative Writing, and roughly four months after he ended their two-year long sexual affair which often involved drinking at AB’s instigation, AB filed a complaint with UBC alleging that Galloway invited her into his office, served her alcohol and propositioned her for sex. Steve Bohnen recorded the complaint exactly as follows:
“[AB’s] complaint is that Steven GALLOWAY, a professor in UBC Creative writing, invited her to his office, supplied her with several drinks of hard liquor (Scotch Whiskey) and propositioned her for sex in his office in the UBC Buchanan Buildings. AB stated there had been a clearly sexualized atmosphere and more than one intimation of invitations to sex.”
AB admitted under oath in her first cross-examination that she made this complaint without disclosing that she had just ended a two-year sexual relationship with Galloway.
BURNETT: You didn't disclose when you reported to On Campus in July of 2013 that you'd been having sex with Mr. Galloway for about the previous two years?
AB: That I had complied with having sex with Mr. Galloway that he had harassed me and assaulted me into? No. I was not comfortable disclosing for people -- to people.
Again AB simply adapted to the new facts before her and pointed the blame back at Galloway.
As Mr. Burnett wrote in his Plaintiff’s Outline of Argument:
“[AB] has a history of saying what she thinks will assist her case, only to have it exposed as false.”
By extension, AB’s lawyer, Joanna Birenbaum appears to suffer from a similar problem.
A Vengeful Serial Liar
In a 2018 Open Letter to UBC President Santa Ono that she published online, Ms. Birenbaum demanded that UBC release a copy of the Boyd Report to AB, arguing that AB could not fully respond to attacks on her character without seeing the full report. Ms. Birenbaum not only blamed UBC but she also blamed Galloway, saying that he had refused to consent to the release of Boyd’s findings.
In fact Galloway didn’t refuse anything. The report as released to AB was one with redactions made by UBC according to provincial privacy law, following a review from the OIPC. It’s hard to imagine why anyone would expect Galloway to go out of his way to release information to someone who had fabricated lies in order to destroy his life and had a track record of using new information to generate more damage. Even still, this assertion of Ms. Birenbaum that Galloway was denying AB something she was morally or legally entitled to started another round of social media attacks on Galloway by the general public and pushed by UBC faculty.
A number of Ms. Birenbaum’s assertions in her Open Letter are now proven false or, at a minimum, disingenuous and misleading. For example, Ms. Birenbaum wrote in her letter:
The false information circulated about MC [AB] that she deserves and demands the right to fully respond to, relates to the characterization of her as a classic vengeful serial liar who preys on powerful men. A characterization that heavily draws on stereotypes about women who report sexual assault.
This is a good place to start when unpacking AB’s December 2013 complaint against Galloway.
Little evidence has been introduced about AB’s ex-husband but what there is provides some interesting insights when placed on the timeline. AB was having an affair with Galloway when she accepted his marriage proposal and when she married him. It’s one thing to have an affair during a dysfunctional marriage and quite another to have an affair while exchanging wedding vows. We also know that he was severely ill and hospitalized. AB asserts that she was “trauma bonded” with Galloway at this time, an assertion she made to explain the thousands of friendly, supportive, intimate messages exchanged between them before and after her alleged rape.
This explanation is, when placed in the context of AB’s overall credibility, difficult to believe. But if one does believe it, then the situation is this: AB, from 2011 to 2013, genuinely believed she was in love with Galloway, or had some sort of romantic emotional relationship with him. During this time, her longtime partner proposed to her, she accepted this proposal, and then married him, all the while having this affair with Galloway.
Two of AB’s former friends, David Mount and Cara Woodruff, have sworn in their affidavits two overlapping points. The first is that following their breakup, AB destroyed her husband’s belongings in a fit of rage. As Woodruff states in her affidavit:
“In April, 2014, A.B. informed me (out of the blue) that she and her husband had split up and he was arriving in Berlin. Her husband later told me that while he was in Germany A.B. changed the locks to their house (which was owned by his parents), destroyed some of his artwork and guitars, and packed up her things and moved to Toronto.”
In a text message to Galloway around this time, AB told him that she had separated from her husband. However, during the Boyd investigation AB told Boyd that she was still with her husband. Not only did AB tell Boyd that they were still together, she describes him as being a great support to her. But she didn’t want to talk specifics and told Boyd:
“The support I’ve received from my husband, family and friends who are unrelated to UBC, is not something I think I should have to talk about in this process.”
The second point is that in Ms. Birenbaum’s open letter to UBC, she states that “contrary to what has been reported in the media, MC has never made a complaint of sexual harassment at any other institution.” This is contradicted by David Mount’s affidavit in which he swears:
“A.B. told me about her time as a faculty member at an American university. She told me that at one institution there was a lot of tension and strife between faculty members, that it was a toxic environment, and that she had been sexually harassed by one of her colleagues. She told me that she got someone fired and that as a result she had to quit. Most of the fiction she submitted to class was based upon those events.”
I’ve corroborated Mount’s sworn account with two people who were at UBC at the time and confirm that AB told them that she had gotten someone fired at her previous job. I’ve also confirmed from an individual at the university where AB held a tenure track position that a complaint by AB and one other faculty member in 2006 resulted in the chair of a department stepping down amid accusations of “bullying.” This was an accusation later thrust on Galloway when he was removed as Chair, despite Boyd unilaterally rejecting these claims.
Cara Woodruff also swears in her affidavit that she stayed with AB and AB’s husband in the summer of 2013 and that at no time did AB ever suggest that her relationship with Galloway was sexual or that he had raped her, assaulted her, or harassed her. She spoke about Galloway with derision, calling him things like a “loser” or “pathetic.”
This contrasts with multiple testimonials from students at the time, including the statements from those who filed complaints against Galloway, that there was a clear friendship between Galloway and AB. This is also supported by the 200 pages of text messages Galloway retrieved from an icloud backup. After considering this evidence Madam Justice Boyd found that AB and Galloway, “presented as a couple involved in some kind of intimate consensual relationship which many suspected was an affair.”
A former student who doesn’t want to be named stated that this was apparent to everyone. This individual asserts that AB had posted many pictures of herself with Galloway documenting their friendship but AB scrubbed all of these from her social media prior to coming forward with her allegations.
Woodruff also swore the following in her affidavit:
“A.B. regularly directed conversation towards Professor Galloway. Whenever I was present at an event with him, and she was not, she would later question me thoroughly on Professor Galloway's conduct at the event in question. I also observed her question other classmates about their observations of Professor Galloway at events where she was not present.”
On October 23, 2013, AB attended the Penguin Random House Reception at the Vancouver Writers Festival. The writer Katherine Wagner also attended. Wagner was an online MFA student at UBC who didn’t live in Vancouver, didn’t take classes from Galloway or even take classes at the UBC campus. At this reception, AB told Wagner to stay away from Galloway, someone she barely knew.
Eight months later, AB would tell Galloway that Wagner was unstable and that he should stay away from her. Galloway and Wagner did not start their relationship until after she graduated. Like Galloway, Wagner, who is five years younger, had two children from a previous marriage. They have been married since 2016 and have a blended family.
AB had little time for any students who weren’t in the “in-crowd.” Whether it was faculty or students, she ingratiated herself to those who appeared important and derided those that she judged unimportant. AB would later gain support from trans activists who would hold protests to stop a speaker whom they considered transphobic from speaking at the Toronto Public Library.
While AB became a faceless martyr defended by prominent trans activists, she in fact has little in common with them and would almost certainly hold them in contempt and be mutually hated were her actual views known. In text messages to Galloway, AB mocked a student in transition:
Oh my god! Have you heard the latest? Esther insists on being referred to as "they" not she. Also, she told everyone in Rhea's class that men menstruate too! It's off the hook on the 4th floor!
Rhea laughed and said, " You'll have to give us a biology lesson Esther." Then Leah attacked Rhea and said, "Not they's job Rhea. Not They's job."
So, are you on your period? :)
But to many, AB has become a symbol, not a person. By not knowing anything about her, she could be whomever activists wanted her to be, which was not a mere mortal but an idea: That anyone claiming to be a survivor of sexual assault was pure of heart and honest in intention, regardless of the subject. An infallible archetype of goodness usually reserved for a religious icon. How this idea has been leveraged is one of the most troubling aspects of this story.
AB had jealousy issues and didn’t even like the students she enlisted to destroy Galloway, such as Chelsea Rooney and Sierra Skye Gemma. The two of them, both self-described survivors of sexual violence, would become AB’s most fierce proponents, helping to conscript complainants against Galloway, collect further evidence against him and allege that even the positive things Galloway had done for them were in fact signs of his abuse of power.
In a now deleted Twitter thread attacking Margaret Atwood, Sierra Skye Gemma claims that she was the student matriarch of the program but that she never liked AB, called her a “bitch” and encouraged other students to exclude her. The feeling was mutual. AB hated Gemma and many of the other students including Jordan Abel and Ray Hsu, who would later bring forward complaints and testimony to support her.
As AB stated to Galloway on February 2 and 5, 2013:
“Jordan's a weasel. I hate them all. Or most of them. Fuck socializing with grad
students, fuck prom, fuck Jordan, Ray Hsu, Sierra and the rest of them.”
“I would have said hello to you, but Sierra was talking to you and she's dead to me. :)”
As Gemma also testified to Boyd:
“The first time I tried to be nice to her [AB] was at a Meet and Greet wine and cheese, in the first month of studies. We had just started classes and she was in the Non-Fiction class with me. I said I had read her piece and she said ‘Whatever’.”
After Galloway ended their affair the following month, things changed. These students that AB hated now had a purpose. As well as telling Wagner to stay away from Galloway, AB approached Gemma at the Penguin Random House Party in October of 2013. As Gemma stated to Boyd in a letter:
“That evening, I came out of the bathroom and ran into [AB]. We started talking in the hallway…[AB] asked if I was lovers with Anita Bedell, my close friend. I laughed and told her even my husband and Anita’s husband had asked that same question. I asked her if she was lovers with Steven Galloway. She got very upset. Her body language and facial expressions suggested disgust and frustration.
‘No!’ she said, ‘I would never be in a relationship with him. Never!’ She was adamant there was nothing going on. She said that ‘he wishes there was’
She continued to get upset and she looked around to make sure no one was close by and could hear us. Then she asked if I could keep a secret.”
According to Gemma, AB said that Galloway had told her sexually inappropriate things about his wife, flirted with her and was (in the fall of 2013, seven months after he ended their two-year relationship) pressuring her to sleep with him. Again, after having denied they were having sex for the last two years. According to Gemma, AB said:
“He is putting pressure on me and being inappropriate and I don’t know what to do about it”.
We don’t know how many of the people manipulated by AB feel about having been lied to. As of 2016, Gemma’s seemed to feel she had let AB down by not encouraging her to act on this fictitious story. Gemma says that AB told her that Galloway had told AB that the only reason she was in the program was because he made it happen. She worried that he could ruin her career, which Gemma said was the case.
“At this point, [AB] seemed even more distressed. Her eyes moistened. AB said her self-esteem was suffering and she felt like she had to always go along with whatever he wanted or else he would get her kicked out of the Program.”
In the entire history of the program no student has ever been “kicked out.” Not only that, there is no mechanism by which any one professor could do such a thing, and Galloway’s colleagues have amply demonstrated that they did not hold him in such high regard that he could have done this to anyone.
AB asked Gemma if she thought anyone else would believe her and Gemma told her, “No, no one will believe you. No one will ever side with you over Steven Galloway. And yes, he would ruin your career. I don’t know what to tell you. I don’t know what you can do.”
Gemma said that AB’s eyes started tearing up.
“Then she lowered her voice even more and said, ‘He once put his hands on my throat.’”
Gemma then told Boyd that she was unexpectedly contacted by AB’s “advocate” on Sunday, November 15, 2015.
“I was asked if I could remember this conversation and I said, yes, I remembered it clearly. I was asked if I would provide a sworn statement recounting the conversation and I said that I would.”
Ms. Birenbaum asserts suggesting that AB is “a classic vengeful serial liar” requires relying on stereotypes about women who make sexual assault accusations. While this undoubtedly does happen, the existence of a stereotype does not create an obligation to ignore the fact that in 2013 AB lied in order to build a case against Galloway that she would then kick into action two years later, using these people as unwitting pawns.
AB’s December 2013 Complaint Against Galloway
AB’s December 2013 complaint to Monica Kay at UBC was that Galloway was posting “sexually inappropriate” comments to Facebook, disparaging the department and “targeting a new graduate student named Katie Wagner.”
From AB’s complaint to UBC:
Here are the screen shots. The UBC 50th anniversary Creative Writing Event is sandwiched between the “kangaroo balls” and “drunkeness.’
AB also provided a Facebook screenshot to Kay featuring Wagner face to face with her horse. Galloway commented, “This is a super romantic picture. You are totally about to make out with that horse.” This was the evidence AB presented to suggest Galloway was “targeting Wagner.”
The 4th shot is a reference to one of our Graduate students “making out” with a horse.
I would like him not to walk away with his own copies of these. There is a lot of strange references on this site. These are only the most recent.
Rhea Tregebov, who is Associate Professor Emerita at UBC Creative Writing, originally remained publicly neutral and stayed out of the public debates involving Galloway. She was actively courting Galloway’s US literary agent to represent her novel. “I realize this is a strange time to be contacting you in terms of Steve's painful predicament,” Tregebov wrote, “but since I believe the novel should be seen, and we don't know when Steve's situation will be resolved, I thought I would go ahead with my inquiry.”
After Galloway’s agent rejected Tregebov’s novel, she sided with her colleagues and began posting negative information about Galloway which perpetuated AB’s allegation that Galloway targeted Wagner.
Given that Wagner married Galloway at a time when he had no power whatsoever, and given that she has stayed married to him and co-parents four children with him, the notion that he was exerting power over her is absurd. Holding a M.A. in Sociology with a feminist focus, it is more likely that Wagner is an adult woman who is capable of deciding for herself who to partner with. What is truly amazing is that Tregebov feels completely comfortable publicly impugning the life choices of a female graduate of the program in order to perpetuate the narrative of Galloway’s predatory evil which, when it suited her career, she referred to as his “painful predicament”
The day after making her December, 2013 complaint, AB phoned the Equity Office in a panic telling them that she was too anxious to come forward and demanding that no one know that she made a complaint or even that “a student” had made a complaint. The same day as that phone call she texted Galloway out of the blue:
“Ha! I might have a nice surprise for you next week. Don't worry! It doesn't cost anything and you will like it. Nothing artsy. And you aren't expected to give anything to me!!”
AB’s Second Cross-examination
After AB finally disclosed the Equity Report and other documents, Mr. Burnett held his second cross-examination of her on January 21st of this year. Once again AB changed her story about her July 2013 complaint. Under oath she was now contradicting her previous testimony that she had only reported choking. Her latest version was that she did report rape as she had told UBC in 2015 but that no one at UBC bothered to jot that part down.
Mr. Burnett read aloud from AB’s July 2013 complaint as recorded by UBC’s head of security and asked her to confirm that there is not a single word about sexual assault in it. She responded:
Yeah. I am totally aware of that, and this makes me furious, and this is a clear case of institutional betrayal by UBC. This is one of the reasons why I was willing to speak to Ronna Syed about this terrible experience I had in this office.
Then AB made what is perhaps her most stunning claim to date:
AB: I, in fact, have not seen this particular report until you have just showed it to me. It makes me so angry because UBC has mishandled this particular case in so many ways, and you know, one of the things that this reminds me of is that this is not the only way that UBC has let down me as a victim of Steven Galloway and others.
Burnett: Okay. What you're claiming, I gather, is the most important thing you told them on July 22, 2013, was that he had committed some sexualized violence towards you, and they entirely omitted that in their recording of that meeting?
AB: Absolutely I am saying that.
So after obtaining the freedom of information request during the Boyd investigation in 2016, fighting for nearly two years to stop an order to produce it, and then disclosing it to Galloway, AB claimed she had never seen it before.
Imagine for a moment that this claim, as made to Keith Maillard in an email, is true:
“The Head of Campus Security—his name is Steve—was the one who helped me put my safety plans in place and told me that Steve was a serial predator. He would remember Steve Galloway’s name for sure. He might have a file.”
Had Bohnen’s file recorded AB’s claims, this would have been an enormously helpful piece of evidence for her. But AB says she simply chose not to look at it, at any point, over the past six years.
There are times when this story reads like a thriller and there are times when it reads like a sitcom. Not only does AB resist telling the truth about major facts and events, she also does so about minor ones.
In her first cross-examination Mr. Burnett asked AB about a Twitter account which is widely known to have been hers.
BURNETT: And that was -- that was you; right?
AB: Oh, no. It's not. And I told her she couldn't do this, because people would think it was me.
BURNETT: Okay. So just looking at the post that is --
AB: This is -- this is -- this is my mom. This is my mom. My mom's very upset, as you can imagine. And I -- so, you know, she was watching things as they unfold. And she wrote these things without my permission and without my agreement. And then when I saw that she had done this I told her that she couldn't do this. And I was really unhappy that she had done that. But, you know, I couldn't be -- she was upset herself. And so when you're ineffectual -- this is an ineffectual way that you try to respond to, you know, terrible things that are happening that are beyond your control, so -- yeah.
BURNETT: So your evidence -- your testimony is that you didn't write that posting? That was your mother?
AB: Yeah, it's my mom.
After swearing this evidence, the defendant Alicia Elliott testified under cross-examination that she communicated with AB by sending DM’s to the account in question. Mr. Burnett returned to the subject in his second cross-examination of her.
BURNETT: Well, did you ever communicate with Alicia Elliot using that Twitter handle?
AB: I don't know.
BURNETT: Well, she's testified that you did on a number of occasions.
AB: Like publicly -- but definitely publicly no. Possibly privately.
BURNETT: So -- okay, so sometimes you use this Twitter account and sometimes you didn't; is that --
AB: This was – [REDACTED] is my mom's name. It's her account, and yes, I did not remember that I had spoken privately to Alicia Elliot, and I do – now that you're saying that, I do remember reaching out to her privately.
BURNETT: So the significance is it's an account that has posted thousands of times and is followed by Mr. Maillard and various others. But your evidence is firmly that you have not posted publicly using that Twitter handle?
AB: Well, I haven't -- I haven't posted any original -- I was re-posting things so that my mom could see what was happening because my mom was overwhelmed by what was happening, and there was a lot that was going on with UBC accountable, and so what I was doing was re-posting things that were relevant so that my mom could see what was happening, and then unfortunately, when she read some of the things that were being said and she became upset and having no effectual way to speak, she wrote original posts to people, which we spoke about at the last -- during our last conversation.
BURNETT: Okay. So am I understanding you correctly you're saying that there were some occasions when you re-Tweeted some articles using that [Redacted] Twitter handle but you didn't post original --
AB: I posted one original. I have a clear memory of posting one original thing, and I was posting about a very particular book, and it was by a British author, and I can't remember the name of the book, but it had -- it was not related at all to the case.
AB: I have the book in -- if you want me to find the book, I can find the book, and I can get the title of the book.
BURNETT: Okay. One of the articles that you re-Tweeted using the [REDACTED] Twitter account was a media article about Steve Galloway's suspension, right?
AB: If it's there, then yes.
BURNETT: Okay. Just going to a different --
AB: And that would have been very relevant to my mom.
AB’s sworn testimony then is that she communicates with her mother by using a twitter account that is followed by multiple defendants and complainants. She posts articles and retweets for her mother’s benefit using her mother’s account - which her mother then used in her “original” posts.
Despite the total implausibility, if not certain impossibility of AB’s shifting explanations under cross-examination, in her oral submissions to the Court Ms. Birenbaum affirmed AB’s claims that she reported sexual assault to UBC in July 2016 despite the fact Birenbaum herself had the report in her possession for nearly six years. As Ms. Birenbaum told the Court:
“A.B. of course did not review the notes -- those notes by that security officer at the time, and she strongly disputes their accuracy and completeness in terms of her disclosure to Janet Mee of the equity office. And frankly it wouldn't be the first time that notes of a security person at a university were found wanting.”
There is of course a simpler explanation to all of this which is already a proven fact admitted by AB herself under oath: She lies.
In her open letter, Ms. Birenbaum also wrote that it was false that AB denied having a relationship with Galloway once Galloway demonstrated otherwise by providing evidence proving the affair. As Ms. Birenbaum wrote:
“It is also untrue, contrary to comments attributed to Mr. Galloway and made by others, that “in her report to UBC [AB] denied a relationship with Mr. Galloway, and that she changed her story after confronted with their text messages. MC [AB] never denied a relationship existed, but rather described it as abusive.”
This statement by Ms. Birenbaum is patently false.
“Near the conclusion of this investigation,” Madam Justice Boyd wrote in her report, “following disclosure of the Respondents’ evidence, MC filed a Responsive Statement of Evidence in which she substantially amended the allegations advanced.”
In November of 2015 AB emailed Annabel Lyon an audio recording of a voicemail message Galloway had left for AB, in which he addresses AB with intimacy by saying “It’s me again,” and then asks her for a chance “to turn myself in.” By this Galloway meant a chance to disclose their affair to Maillard and take responsibility for it. AB presented the voicemail to Lyon as Galloway confessing to violently raping her, but for this interpretation of the voicemails to work, AB had to deny the affair.
To do this AB wrote to Lyon:
“Context to all of these messages. I haven't had any sort of contact/communication with Steve since May 2014. We have no "relationship" whatsoever. The implied intimacy of the "hi it's me" bit is really creepy and inappropriate coming from the Chair of my department.”
AB also denied the affair in another email to Lyon in which she wrote:
“Steve was/is not sexually attractive to me at all.”
This is further supported by Timothy Taylor’s sworn affidavit in which he states that at the emergency meeting led by Lyon and Maillard that would decide Galloway’s fate, Lyon played the voicemails for faculty with AB’s commentary explaining them as a rape confession. As Taylor swore in his affidavit:
“Lyon provided commentary and interpretation of these messages that she told us had been given to her by A.B. For example, we were instructed to ignore Galloway's use of the phrase "Hi, it's me" in the opening of his voicemail message.”
AB began her allegations by denying the affair and claiming that Galloway raped her in 2012. By the time she got in front of Madam Justice Boyd she changed the allegation from a single accusation in 2012 to multiple assaults in 2011 with the two-year sexual relationship now being dubbed by AB as a continuation of the abuse. As AB told Boyd:
“We had sex when Galloway wanted it. The sex itself was degrading and rough. There was no kissing or caressing. No gentle touching. He would make fun of those things. His sexual persona was aggressive, without affection. He forced me to do things I did not want to do and which I experienced as degrading.”
AB then attempts to make Galloway the author of even the idea of her trauma-bonding:
“At some point, I told Galloway, ‘I love you’. He laughed and said meanly, ‘You’ve got Stockholm Syndrome.” I realized that he was right. That I had bonded with him: a traumatic bonding – an emotional bonding with my tormentor as a form of survival and coping. The worst thing was that I did not figure it out for myself. I only realized that was the dynamic when he said it. He knew what he was doing all the way along. It was all premeditated. It was a game to him.”
For eight days in court, counsel for the defendants smeared Galloway as an abuser of women based largely on the fact that Madam Justice Boyd had found that Galloway sexually harassed AB as defined by UBC’s Policy 3. Boyd’s finding was based on the limited amount of evidence she had at the time and relied heavily on AB’s credibility which is now impugned.
AB’s “first incident of sexual harassment” as described to Madam Justice Boyd was that while having drinks at the campus pub Galloway told her that his sex life at home was unsatisfactory and wanted to know how her sex life with her husband was. When she refused to say, AB alleges that Galloway called her a prude. As AB testified to Boyd:
“I recall just staring at the table and then staring off into the distance away from him…I felt muzzled and could not respond. This was the first incident of sexual harassment.”
AB presented herself as a defenseless and vulnerable student who had been violently raped in such a horrific and deliberating manner that her rapist would go on to mind control her into a two-year sexual relationship. Ms. Birenbaum even attempted to bring in a “trauma expert” named Lori Haskell to provide an expert report to Madam Justice Boyd that would “explain the discriminatory misconceptions about women who remain in relationships with men (particularly men in positions of power) despite alleging that they have committed violence against them.”
But this was not a case of an abused woman who could not leave an abusive relationship. This was someone who has manipulated people, threatened people and changed her story to meet any evidence that contradicts her own. Madam Justice Boyd refused to accept the report by Ms. Haskell but AB’s testimony to Boyd depended heavily on trauma theories like those espoused by Ms. Haskell.
On December 18, 2012, AB sent Galloway naked photographs of herself. I haven’t seen them, but she discussed them with Boyd and explained them like this:
“In mid-December 2012, Galloway was writing on a boat on the Island. He texted me at least one photo of his face. What I remember is that he asked me to send a photo too. I sent a photo of me, a photo of my face. I remember that he was not interested in a photo of my face. That hurt me. He wanted a naked photo, or a dirty photo.
I didn’t want to take pornographic or naked photos of myself. When he made demands like this I always felt fear, I felt sick inside, because I was out of control of the situation and out of control of my own body. He was the one in control of the situation and my body.”
AB presented herself as a virtuous and chaste victim at the mercy of a prurient Svengali rapist who literally had the power to make her produce pornography when he was on a boat 100 km away. And best of all, she had a “trauma expert” in Lori Haskell to support her allegations. The evidence of course tells a different story.
AB lies with ease. She can cry on command. Despite the flaws of logic in her stories that are generated at the same frequency of her false statements, she is by all accounts extremely believable and convincing in person.
A Sexualized Department
One of the most easily disprovable allegations against Galloway is that he sexualized not only AB but the entire Creative Writing Department. This is of course a tricky subject to negotiate and Galloway was cross-examined on this by Ms. Birenbaum. At the same time that Ms. Birenbaum suggests that Galloway sexually harassed students, she also accused him of what amounts to “slut shaming” when he provided evidence that some of the students in the department, particularly AB, were hypersexual. As Galloway testified in his cross-examination with Ms. Birenbaum:
“I will say as an operative principle, A.B.'s general attitudes and demeanour towards sex, her manner of dress and any of that is completely irrelevant…to whether or not I physically assaulted her or she deserved to be physically assaulted or any of that. What I am saying and what I have consistently said is that in her representations in this lawsuit and to Justice Boyd, she presented an image of herself and our relationship which is entirely false.”
We agree with Galloway and do not suggest that a woman’s sexualized demeanour and the manner of her dress are relevant to whether she was assaulted, or her credibility per se.
While AB’s “dirty photos” are not in evidence and never will be, there are no shortage of photos depicting her overt sexuality, directly contradicting her claims that she was oppressed or sexually dominated by Galloway.
In this story you have two explanations to what happened. The first explanation is the one preferred and proffered by UBC, AB, the student complainants who filed their own complaints to support hers, Galloway’s closest friends and colleagues who took action to destroy him, and the thousands of academics, writers and journalists who publicly supported the campaign to bury it all by claiming that asking questions and demanding a fair investigative process was a form of abuse towards survivors of sexual assault. It’s a simple explanation: Steven Galloway is evil and to blame for all of it.
The second explanation is based on the actual facts of the case. It’s a more complex story and not only a more difficult one to tell, but for those that went all in on Explanation 1, it is a difficult explanation to accept: A woman with apparent mental health issues, a proven track record of rage, and who has an established track record of dishonesty, falsely accused her former lover of rape. She convinced not only the President of UBC to take action against him, but also his closest friends who had been most proud of his rise from a student in their program to becoming one of the most commercially successful Canadian writers of his generation. She then mobilized an entire community to ferociously quell any opposition to the narrative that Galloway was evil, culminating in the absurd proposition that 90+ of Canada’s most respected writers were rape apologists for taking a principled stand.
On April 16th of this year the Canadaland “news site” published a brief article by Taylor Lambert called “Why is No One Talking About Steven Galloway?” In a flare of naivety and bias that is not uncommon at Canadaland, Lambert interviewed three media experts, including Lisa Taylor, a professor of journalism at Ryerson who, Lambert discloses, contributed to a crowdfunding campaign to raise money to pay the legal fees for the defendants in the case, of which 50% was given to A.B..
Taylor suggests part of the problem is that the media can’t admit when they are wrong and that they were wrong about Galloway because Madam Justice Boyd did find that he sexually harassed AB. She then calls on The National Post to run a correction on the matter.
“There’s deeply problematic interpretations of the Boyd report in Galloway’s first-person account,” Taylor told Lambert, “and the Post does have an obligation, I would say, to correct the record.”
What Taylor’s demand for a correction tells us is that she actually doesn’t know anything about the case. The Boyd Report is not binding on the case, the harassment finding will likely be deemed out of scope of the stings of defamation being sued over, and Madam Justice Boyd didn’t have all the facts before her. It also overlooked the fact that Galloway’s account focussed on AB’s assault allegations.
What Taylor, like many, tries to assert is that because Boyd found that Galloway violated UBC Policy 3, that finding negates the findings that he did not sexually assault AB, as though sexual harassment based on a relationship where a power imbalance exists is evidence that a person committed a crime on par with choking and violently raping someone. Canadaland’s complete unwillingness to confront the ramifications of the evidence at bar speaks volumes about their integrity and claims that they are qualified to consider themselves a media watchdog.
But there’s something else going on in relation to Taylor’s demand for a correction at The National Post. Her reputation as a “media expert” is now, like thousands of people who made the same mistake, married to AB’s credibility. The answer to Canadaland’s question, Why is No One Talking About Steven Galloway?, is simple: To do so in any meaningful way is to impeach the integrity and actions of thousands of individuals and dozens of institutions, including Canadaland.
To even know what the allegations are, and how they were brought forward, is to know that they are not true. That is why no one is talking about Steven Galloway.
Putting aside how AB fabricated a rape allegation, she has lied about other pieces of her story to Boyd, the Court, and others that include but are not limited to: Keith Maillard, Annabel Lyon, Chelsea Rooney, Sierra Gemma, the UBC Creative Writing Faculty, the UBC Equity Office, Campus Security, Martha Piper, and through her lawyer’s two open letters, the media and general public.
For nearly six years now, UBC and those involved in destroying Galloway, all of whom have direct evidence that AB has lied to them, have fought to hide the true facts of the case while portraying Galloway as the central cause of it all. The facts do not support this. But the exculpatory facts were never needed before passing judgment and condemning Galloway as a rapist. All that was needed before passing judgment was the presumption of innocence, a fair investigation, and a commitment to respect the results of that investigation.
AB was not weak or meek. She was treated like an equal and had a strong hold on a number of faculty members over and above Galloway to the point that she conducted herself as if she was one of them, going so far as to crash a faculty meeting held in Seattle at the 2014 AWP.
Much has been made about boundaries Galloway crossed with students, but he was by no means the only faculty member to do so. AB had strong friendships that transcended the student/teacher relationship with at least seven faculty members. None more so than with Keith Maillard. In his affidavit David Mount swore that:
I believe that A.B.'s age and experience as a professor or instructor allowed her to be accepted by the faculty as a peer. This was apparent to me in the way she socialized with the professors. For example, A.B. told me that she provided interior decorating services to Professor Maillard when he was redecorating or redesigning his living room.
Another MFA student in the program at the time, who wants to remain anonymous, told me:
“I believe it was sometime during the second semester that AB mentioned to me (on more than one occasion) that she was driving Keith Maillard home. Keith was her supervisor. The frequency of her chauffeuring Keith to West Vancouver did seem odd to me.”
The text messages Galloway recovered from the cloud also show the extent that AB had ingrained herself into the lives of UBC faculty members. In June 2013, after their breakup, AB texted Galloway to say that she was with his mentor, Maillard, who was suicidal. As was her method, AB requested that what she said not be shared:
“He was openly weeping. He's extremely depressed. It might be better if you don't tell him I called? I'm not sure whatever you think is best. Am I over worrying?”
Galloway told AB that Keith needed to call his wife and she said that she had tried but that he wouldn’t. At 11:11 p.m. she texted:
“Keith and I just parted ways. He'll be home in 25 minutes. He gets extremely depressed at home. Don't believe him if he tells you he's ok.”
Galloway responded that Maillard was fine:
“I just spoke to him. He sounded, and claimed to be, a-ok. I invited him out to dinner with us tonight for Father's Day.”
Was any of this true? Likely not, particularly since AB didn’t want Galloway to disclose to Maillard what she was saying. So it’s likely that it’s not true. What I do know for certain is that anyone who believes anything AB says, does so at their own peril. The MFA student who mentioned AB’s chauffeuring of Maillard continued:
“I believe it during the end of the first semester or early in the second semester of the second academic year, in one of our brief conversations, she [AB] dropped that she had slept over at Keith’s place when his wife was away. I think I was shocked and probably showed it, as I presumed she meant me to understand she might have slept with him. I really did not want to know whether she had or had not and did not ask for clarification.”
In July of 2018 I followed up with Keith Maillard to confirm or deny AB’s allegation that she had sleepovers at his house. Regardless of whether or not AB meant to imply a sexual relationship, if Maillard hosted a student for sleepovers at his house, this was far worse than many of the boundaries Galloway had been accused of crossing.
Maillard’s response in full is as follows:
Dear Brad Cran:
I have no comment on your questions. Based on your questions, I believe that you may use my statement toward a particular issue, that is, the nature of my relationship to AB.
As far as that issue is concerned, if you publish the claim that AB slept at my house, it will be untrue.
You are now on notice that the claim that AB slept at my house will be untrue. If you publish the claim that AB slept at my house knowing it to be untrue, it will cause me damages, personally and professionally.
I do not need proof of damage to bring a civil suit for defamation.
I have consulted with a lawyer. That lawyer has explained to me that if I, as the plaintiff, bring a civil suit against you and the publication for publishing an untruth, that it will be your burden to prove it to be true, and that will be time consuming, costly, and expensive.
I don’t blame Maillard for denying AB’s allegations, claims or inferences about sleepovers at his house, and on this point at least, I would tend to believe him over AB. I don’t present them as being truthful; I present them to show the hypocrisy in Maillard denying them while aggressively affirming AB’s rape allegations against Galloway.
Whatever their relationship, it is difficult to accept the description of it he offered under oath:
BURNETT: Well, you were a good friend of hers?
MAILLARD: No, I wasn't. I was her thesis advisor.
BURNETT: You say you weren't a friend?
MAILLARD: We are not friends with our students. We may become friends with them after they graduate. Being in the role of thesis advisor is a very prescribed role. It can be very friendly. The student can perceive you as their friend and they often do, but you are not really their friend, you're their thesis advisor.
AB’s relationship with Maillard is of course even more problematic considering that Annabel Lyon has now admitted under oath that Maillard pressured her to sign off on AB’s thesis and that they both knew that it was incomplete. Not knowing that Lyon had done this in the morning, Maillard started his cross-examination in the afternoon and denied having done so.
What’s most interesting about the story of AB graduating without completing a thesis is that it in no way shape or form had anything to do with Galloway. It was approved several months before AB made her allegations. He had no part in it, just as he’s had little part in most of this story. He’s neither protagonist nor antagonist. His role in this story has been closer to that of a prop.
The fraudulently awarded thesis tells a story that none of them can escape: AB had the majority of UBC Creative Writing faculty wrapped around her finger. She was not a victim nor was she meek. She was in control even when her story began to fall apart. In fact, this is perhaps when she had the most control over those who had helped destroy a person they once loved.
Most of them should have known better. Some of them may have been compromised. Others did her bidding blindly, almost as if they were in a trance and under the control of exterior forces, similar to how AB described to Madam Justice Boyd the way in which she claimed the Svengali Steven Galloway, the root of all evil, controlled her mind and body, as if she was a trained animal, she said, “like a dog at the end of an invisible leash.”
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