Editor’s note: This article discusses allegations of child abuse.
Francesco Aquilini has responded to the serious allegations levied against him in BC Supreme Court on Tuesday.
The Vancouver Canucks owner has been accused of physically and psychologically abusing his four children.
Aquilini’s children, who are now all adults, submitted affidavits to the court, detailing allegations of abuse when they were minors, according to reports by Keith Fraser in The Vancouver Sun and Bethany Lindsay of CBC.
The allegations against Aquilini include throwing a five-year-old child across the room, and beating a child while they were sleeping and continuing to do so after the child woke up.
“The respondent [Francesco Aquilini] then forced all of us upstairs into our individual rooms, went to each room to physically abuse each child. I saw the respondent throw another child — at that time five years old — across the room,” the affidavit says, according to CBC.
“I locked myself in my bathroom. The respondent broke the lock and was throwing his body at the door to come in and beat me. I called the claimant [Tali’ah Aquilini] and asked her to hurry home, stating I was scared the respondent would kill me, and I was worried that he had already killed my younger siblings.”
The allegations were uncovered during a hearing over whether Aquilini was required to continue paying child support and university expenses for his three youngest children — aged 20, 22, and 24. Aquilini and ex-wife Tali’ah Aquilini divorced in 2013.
“Francesco Aquilini categorically denies, and is outraged by, the accusation made by his ex-wife Tali’ah in family court today that he has ever abused his children,” reads a statement shared with Daily Hive by Aquilini’s personal PR representative.
“The couple were divorced and reached a settlement in 2013. Mr. Aquilini has met and will continue to meet any child support obligations required by the law, but he has concerns about the veracity of the information provided in support of financial demands. It is unfortunate that allegations without merit are brought forward for a collateral purpose. He will have nothing further to say at this time as the matter is before the courts.”
Tali’ah’s lawyer Claire Hunter has responded with the following statement, shared with Daily Hive.
“Ms. Aquilini is disappointed that she has had to go to court once again to try to enforce Mr. Aquilini’s obligation to pay child support for their adult children enrolled in full-time university programs,” said Hunter. “Each of the four children and Ms. Aquilini have filed affidavit evidence in court, some of which was read out in the course of the hearing yesterday. Mr. Aquilini has been in possession of all of the affidavits for many months and, as I mentioned in court, he has not given any evidence denying any of that affidavit evidence. Ms. Aquilini will not be making further comment at this time as the matter is before the court.“
The NHL, meanwhile, is “monitoring the situation.”
“We are aware of the allegations that have been made in the Family Court proceeding in Vancouver and have been in touch with Mr. Aquilini and his lawyers regarding same,” a league spokesperson said in an email response to Daily Hive. “Clearly, the parties have been involved in a most contentious divorce. Mr. Aquilini has advised us that he categorically denies the allegations. We plan to continue to monitor the situation and, if necessary, will respond as we learn more as events unfold.”
Francesco and Tali’ah are reportedly in a dispute over details of the children’s university education being withheld from their father.
Aquilini’s oldest child, who no longer needs support, allegedly sent her father a scathing letter on behalf of her three younger siblings in March 2020. Tali’ah’s lawyer read out part of the letter, according to CBC.
“Your relationship with us is a direct consequence of your treatment toward us, whether you’d like to acknowledge it or not. We all hold many individual accounts of your abuse towards us,” the oldest child wrote.
“I would like to formally state that myself and my siblings… wish to have no contact with you, nor would we like you to have access to any of our contact, medical information, or other information regarding our lives.”
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