Property management company that gave rapist keys to dozens of apartments refuses to compensate victim

A Calgary property company that gave a convicted rapist keys to dozens of apartments has refused to compensate a woman who was forced to move after she was victimized by the sex offender.

In February 2017, Lisa woke up to find Phillip Skulnec — her building’s caretaker — hovering over her bed in the early morning hours. 

“I’m sure he was about to get in my bed but I woke up and I screamed so loud,” said Lisa in an interview with CBC News.

Lisa isn’t her real name. CBC News has agreed not to name the 36-year-old in order to protect her children and because she still fears for her safety. 

Skulnec had used the keys given to him by Marri Properties to get into Lisa’s apartment in the southeast’s Willow Green Estates complex. 

Within hours of the break-in, Lisa learned Skulnec had previously been convicted of raping a woman in Edmonton. He also broke into that woman’s apartment. 

“That’s when I just broke down and knew immediately that I could never go back to that apartment. This was a really bad person and I was really lucky to not get hurt.”

Earlier this year, Skulnec pleaded guilty to break and enter with the intent to sexually assault his victim. He was sentenced to one year in jail plus two years probation.

$12K trip to Africa cancelled

The costs associated with Lisa’s victimization have accumulated over the last year and a half.

Unable to be in her home after the break-in, Lisa uprooted her daughters — including one with special needs — and moved right away.

She’d also won a trip to Africa worth about $12,000, which she cancelled. Lisa was supposed to leave within 10 days of the incident. She’d developed an ulcer and was worried about suffering physically and mentally in a far-away country.

And then there were costs associated with therapy and taking stress leave from work. 

Abuse not covered by insurance 

Marri Properties manager Colin Wagner hung up the phone when contacted by CBC News immediately after saying: “I don’t want to talk to you … I have no comment.”

When Lisa’s father tried to help his daughter recoup some of the costs she was facing, Marri Properties refused compensate its former tenant, sending the family to its insurer Intact instead.

Lisa says she’s been unable to get the insurance company nailed down on where they stand with her claim. For now, it seems to have stalled.

A spokesperson for Intact said the company was “sorry to hear about what happened” to Lisa, in a written statement.

Because of privacy concerns, Intact was unable to provide details of Marri Property’s coverage contract but the insurer said not all types of risks are covered under insurance, according to communications manager Hazel Tan. 

“For businesses, some risks such as terrorism, nuclear, and abuse are not typically covered under an insurance contract,” wrote Tan.

Do background checks, victim urges

The whole experience — which also involved showing up at court and facing her would-be attacker — has been “unbelievably emotional” for Lisa. She suffers from anxiety and wakes up around 3:00 a.m. every night — the same time she found Skulnec at her bedside.

She’s never felt like Marri Properties took her situation seriously.

“They really had a wall up right away … They didn’t seem to care about what had happened to me.”

Lisa also wants to see the company and others do background checks on employees who are given access to people’s homes. 

“He should have never had that job.”

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