Canucks owner’s estranged children say he beat and psychologically abused them, court hears

The four adult children of Vancouver Canucks owner Francesco Aquilini all allege he physically and psychologically abused them when they were children, a BC Supreme Court judge testified Tuesday.

The disturbing allegations came to light during a hearing about whether Aquilini was obligated to continue to pay child support and cover college costs for her three children. These include claims he hit a sleeping child and threw a five-year-old across the bedroom.

Aquilini denied the abuse allegations, the court heard.

Tuesday’s hearing involved an application from his ex-wife, psychotherapist Tali’ah Aquilini, asking for an order saying the youngest three remain “children of the marriage”, according to the agreement. arrange.

That would force Francesco Aquilini to continue to support his children, even though his ex-wife corrected the names of the universities they attended and other personal information in the receipts filed for reimbursement. She said she made those transactions at the request of the children.

Tali’ah Aquilini’s lawyer, Claire Hunter, read parts of a letter that Aquilini’s eldest sister is said to have sent to her father in March 2020 on behalf of the three brothers, outlining why they were I want to keep my personal information private.

“Your relationship with us is a direct consequence of your treatment of us, whether you want to admit it or not. We all hold numerous personal accounts of your abusive behavior towards us,” she wrote.

“I want to officially state that I and my siblings… do not want to contact you, nor do we want you to have access to any contact, medical or other information. related to our lives.”

Tali'ah Aquilini speaks to reporters outside the BC Supreme Court on September 27, 2022.
Tali’ah Aquilini speaks to reporters outside the BC Supreme Court on September 27, 2022. (Murray Titus / CBC)

The court ruled that the eldest brother was an adult and did not need father support.

Although Hunter said Francesco Aquilini has denied the abuse allegations, his attorney Ken McEwan has not addressed them in court, except to say they are “not involved” in the matter at hand. He said the only question is whether his clients have access to enough information to decide if there is a legal obligation to continue to support the children.

McEwan said Francesco Aquilini would agree to provide unverified receipts to her legal counsel without having to see them herself.

“The transfer of personal information is really a side issue to things like, are children in the right programs for them?” McEwan told the court.

He said he needs to be able to see more information about the children’s learning, including how often they attend classes and pass or fail, as well as justifications for things like student housing, vacations school for unknown reasons, airline flights, and a $48,000 computer.

Aquilinis’ controversial divorce was settled out of court in 2013, shortly before a trial began. The settlement provided Tali’ah Aquilini with sole custody and guardianship over her children.

Mr Hunter said the four children have had very little contact with their father since the divorce.

Child’s affidavit describing allegations of abuse

The court tried three children who are now 20, 22 and 24 years old. A person who is studying a graduate program abroad. One studied mechanical engineering, and the third attended medical school.

Hunter said each child disclosed physical and psychological abuse to their mother, although many specifics were not released until after the breakup.

Each child filed an affidavit with the court outlining their allegations of abuse. As usual in family law, court records were sealed from public access, but Hunter read the excerpts to the court.

The owner of the Canucks, Francesco Aquilini, shown here in a profile photo, has been divorced from Tali’ah Aquilini since 2013. (Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images/file)

One child recounted an incident where they said their father started hitting them while they were sleeping and continued hitting them until they woke up. Another person remembers being punched in the stomach by Francesco Aquilini.

In the longest passage that Hunter read to the court, one child described how their father became angry with the children because they were so loud in the family conference room.

“Respondent [Francesco Aquilini] and then forced us all upstairs to separate rooms, going to each room to physically torture each child. I saw the respondent throw another child – who was 5 years old at the time – across the room,” the affidavit said.

“I locked myself in the bathroom. Defendant broke the lock and threw his body in the door and hit me. I called the claimant. [Tali’ah Aquilini] and asked her to hurry home, saying that I was afraid that the defendant would kill me, and that I was worried that he had killed my brothers. “

Both parties agree that Francesco Aquilini has paid its required support until August 2022.

However, Hunter said court intervention was required multiple times over the years for those payments to be made, and Francesco Aquilini now owes $140,000 in additional college costs.

McEwan, on the other hand, suggested that his client owed nothing and actually overpaid child support.

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