Tess Richey's family sues killer, police over mental distress caused by her death

Tess Richey

TORONTO - Months after a Toronto man was convicted of sexually assaulting and killing Tess Richey, the young woman's family is suing him, police and others over the psychological devastation they suffered as a result of her death.

Richey's mother, Christine Hermeston, and her sisters allege Kalen Schlatter _ who was convicted of first-degree murder in March _ ought to have known his actions would inflict humiliation, injury and death on Richey, and cause her relatives mental and emotional distress.

They also allege Toronto police, and particularly the two officers who investigated Richey's disappearance, failed to properly search for her, which led Hermeston to conduct her own search and eventually discover her daughter's lifeless body steps from where she was last seen.

The statement of claim further alleges police, including Chief Mark Saunders, then falsely reported that Richey had died from misadventure, and that she had been working as an escort.

It alleges lack of police presence in the Yonge and Wellesley area _ a neighbourhood known as Toronto's gay village _ emboldened predators such as Schlatter to ``commit crimes without fear of being caught.''

The allegations have not been tested in court and the defendants, which also include the nightclub where Richey and Schlatter were earlier in the night and the property where she was killed, have yet to file their statements of defence.