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HomeNationalCanucks owner's estranged children say he beat and emotionally abused them, court...

Canucks owner’s estranged children say he beat and emotionally abused them, court heardTAZAA News

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Vancouver Canucks owner Francisco Aquilini’s four adult children allege they were physically and emotionally abused as children, a BC Supreme Court judge heard Tuesday.

The troubling allegations came to light during a hearing on whether Aquilini was obligated to continue paying child support and covering university expenses for her three children. There are claims he hit a sleeping child and threw a five-year-old across a bedroom.

Aquilini denied the allegations of abuse, the court heard.

At Tuesday’s hearing his ex-wife, psychotherapist Talia Aquilini, filed an application seeking to have the three teenagers declared “children of the marriage” under the settlement agreement.

That forces Francisco Aquili to continue supporting his children, even though his ex-wife redacted the names of the universities they attended and other personal information on receipts submitted for reimbursement. She said that she made those amendments as per the wishes of the children.

Talia Aquilini’s attorney, Claire Hunter, read portions of a letter the elder Aquilini sister allegedly sent to her father in March 2020 on behalf of the three younger siblings, explaining why they wanted their personal details withheld.

“Your relationship with us is a direct consequence of your treatment of us, whether you want to acknowledge it or not. We all have many personal accounts of your abuse of us,” she wrote.

“My siblings and I … want to make it official that we do not want to have any contact with you, nor do we want you to have access to our contacts, medical information or other information related to our lives.”

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

The court held that the elder sibling was already considered an adult and did not require support from her father.

Although Hunter said Francesco Aquilini denied the abuse allegations, his attorney Ken McEwan did not address them in court, except to say they were “irrelevant” to the matter at hand. He said the only question was whether his client had enough information available to determine whether he had a legal obligation to continue supporting the children.

McEwan said Francesco Aquilini would agree to provide unredacted receipts without seeing his legal counsel himself.

“Are the kids in the right programs for them?” Corrections of personal information are really a bit of a side issue in matters such as McEwan told the court.

He should be able to see more information about the child’s education, including whether he attends class regularly and is passing or failing, as well as justification for student housing, unexplained absences from class, airline flights and the $48,000 computer.

A statement released on Aquilini’s behalf, first published by the Vancouver Sun, said he was “outraged” by the allegations made by his ex-wife in family court and unequivocally denied ever abusing his children.

“The couple divorced and reached an agreement in 2013. Mr. Aquilini has met and continues to meet any child support obligations required by law, but he has concerns about the veracity of the information provided in support of the financial demands,” the statement said.

“It is unfortunate that unmerited allegations are brought forward for collateral purposes. He cannot say anything now that the matter is in court.”

The Aquilinis’ highly contentious divorce was settled out of court in 2013, before trial began. The settlement awarded Talia Aquilini sole care and custody of her children.

Hunter said the four children had little contact with their father after the divorce.

Affidavits from the children detail the alleged abuse

The three younger children are now aged 20, 22 and 24, the court heard. One is attending a graduate program abroad. One is mechanical engineering and the third is medical school.

Hunter said each of the children disclosed physical and emotional abuse to their mother, but not many specifics until after the separation.

Each of the children submitted an affidavit to the court detailing their allegations of abuse. As is common in family law, the court file is sealed from public access, but Hunter read summaries for the court.

Canucks owner Francisco Aquilini, shown here in a file photo, has been divorced from Talia Aquilini since 2013. (Jeff Winnick/Getty Images/File)

A child recalled an incident where their father started beating them while they were sleeping and kept beating them until they woke up. Another one hit Francisco Aquili in the stomach.

In a lengthy passage read by Hunter for the court, one child described how their father was angry with them for being too loud in the family rec room.

“The defendant [Francesco Aquilini] Then he forced all of us upstairs into our individual rooms, going from room to room to physically torture each child. “I saw the defendant throw another child – five years old at the time – across the room,” the affidavit states.

“I locked myself in my bathroom. The defendant broke the lock and threw his body at the door to come in and beat me. I called the claimant. [Tali’ah Aquilini] And I asked her to hurry home, saying that I was afraid that the defendant would kill me and that he had already killed my younger brothers.”

Both parties agree that Francesco Aquilini has given his responsible support until August 2022.

However, Hunter said it took years of court intervention to make those payments, and Francisco Aquilini now owes $140,000 in additional university costs.

McEwan, on the other hand, suggested that his client owe nothing and pay more on child support.

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