RE/MAX Island Properties issued a statement Tuesday to say it has fired an agent who has been accused of sexual assault in multiple posts to social media.
He is the fourth Greater Victoria real estate agent to have been fired in the last week.
“As a survivor, I personally know how difficult it is to report sexualized violence, and I commend those who spoke publicly to bring an important issue to the community’s attention,” co-owner Susan Froher wrote. “My team and I explicitly state our support for all victims of sexualized violence, and we join in solidarity with the community to admonish this behaviour and empower survivors.”
On top of firing the accused agent, Froher said RE/MAX has also asked him to surrender his license.
The three other fired agents were all associated with Engel and Volkers Vancouver Island at the time of the alleged assaults, but two of them were working at The Agency Victoria when the allegations arose.
In statements made on March 25 on Instagram, The Agency – a luxury real estate company – said it had just become aware of the allegations made against two individuals and that it was taking appropriate action to resolve the matter.
“The allegations predate the agents working with our brokerage, although, we are extremely concerned and taking these allegations seriously,” the statement read.
A few hours after its first post, The Agency took to Instagram once again to say it had fired the two accused.
At the time of the allegations, the two agents were working as independent contractors with Engel and Volkers Vancouver Island.
Owner of the company Scott Piercy said although the individuals left Engel and Volkers in 2019, the company is taking the allegations seriously and will continue to look into it.
“We support those who have come forward to report sexual harassment and abuse and will do our utmost to eliminate this abhorrent behaviour,” Piercy said in a statement. The company has arranged sexual harassment counselling, trauma support and sensitivity training for its entire team.
On the same day, Victoria pub The Local said it had also become aware of allegations against one of its minority partners and had severed ties with them.
On March 27, another accused individual’s webpage and social media accounts had been taken down and Engel and Volkers Vancouver Island, which the person had been working under, said it had cut all ties with them.
The allegations have been emerging from a social media page intended to give people a space to anonymously report sexualized and domestic violence. It is the same page where allegations emerged earlier this year against employees of Chuck’s Burger Bar and E:Ne Raw Food and Sake Bar. Both of which have fired employees and Chuck’s Burger Bar later closed permanently.
None of the allegations have been tested in court. Charges have not been filed in any of these cases and the Victoria Police Department could not comment on whether it was investigating.
Horrified by the sexual assault allegations arising online about fellow Greater Victoria real estate agents, one agent started a GoFundMe to support survivors. By midday March 30, the campaign had raised nearly $120,000.
Anyone who wishes to report an incident or has information about an incident can call the VicPD report desk at 250-995-7654 ext. 1.
The Victoria Sexual Assault Centre offers counselling, victim services and a sexual assault response team. The centre can be reached 24/7 at 250-383-3232.
-With files from Jane Skrypnek
Editors note: An incorrect image originally attached to this story has been removed.
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