David Cloux was now living in England and finally ready to confront his abuser when he made the call to Abercrombie Golf and Country Club, in New Glasgow, just over three years ago.
He was looking for Tom Kilgour, who Cloux had learned was working as the club’s groundskeeper.
A friendly voice greeted Cloux, and he was happy to connect the caller to Kilgour, who happened to be close by.
A decade had elapsed since he was a 15-year-old boy at a Switzerland boarding school and had been sexually assaulted in Kilgour’s guest room.
The reality hit home, he recalls, upon hearing Kilgour’s reassuring voice on the other line.
Cloux, 26 at the time, froze. He wanted to talk to the man he had once considered a father figure.
“Who is this?” enquired Kilgour.
Unable to summon the strength to speak, Cloux hung up.
Not long after that, on the morning of Oct. 1, 2014, he wrote Kilgour an email.
“By now I assume that you’ll have realized what I am undertaking,” he wrote. “I write to you to confirm that I am pressing charges on you for sexual abuse during the school year of 03-04 at College Alpin Beau Soleil.”
To this day Kilgour, who up until recently was living just outside of New Glasgow, has never admitted to the events that played out in a Swiss court this past year. Last May, Kilgour was found guilty of sexual acts with children and sexual coercion and subsequently received a 30-month jail sentence.
Because of ailing health and mounting financial debt, Kilgour was not required to attend the trial. The lifelong teacher, who holds a master of science degree from Oxford University in England, is appealing the decision.
It took 10 years for Cloux, who’s now employed as an architect assistant in London, England, to press charges. He insists that if Kilgour admitted guilt and pledged to get professional help, he wouldn’t have gone to the media with his story.
The ordeal forced Cloux into therapy and subjected him to years of emotional torment. He says he received no support from College Alpin Beau Soleil after he reported the sexual assault in 2004. Kilgour was fired and, according to court documents, returned to New Glasgow the same year.
But Cloux was able to get through it. He’s found a job he loves and a supportive partner.
But the memories remain.
“For me, it’s a story about human tragedy,” said Cloux, now 30. “I was a kid and terrible things happened to me. For me, it’s about how to overcome very difficult, almost traumatic events. It wasn’t just what he did. It was the whole psychological game. I felt so humiliated. It took me so many years to do anything about it.
“I want what he did to be recognized, that he did this to me and he does this to people, and that he be held accountable, punished and treated. I would love for him to get treated.”
Court documents paint a picture of a man who preyed on young boys during his time as director of residence of College Alpin Beau Soleil.
Like Cloux, many of the students had arrived at the school from different countries and were separated from their families. Kilgour had lived on campus, taught and coached different sports at the school. Cloux’s relationship with Kilgour lasted three years.
“I’ll remark that Mr. Kilgour once told me that if he were to have a son, he would have liked him to be like me. I think that was in second year,” testified Cloux at the trial.
Kilgour’s sentence was damning.
“In multiple cases, Kilgour committed acts of (sexual touching) with several of his students, notably under 16 years of age. These acts generally took place in his apartment, which was located on campus, following evenings in which he invited certain students and during which he authorized them to drink alcohol,” stated an excerpt from court documents.
The case ultimately centred on six different encounters involving Kilgour and four different students at the school. Three of the incidents involved Cloux.
One particularly disturbing incident, also involving another student, happened after the trio had spent an evening drinking in late 2003.
According to both victims, Kilgour convinced both boys to spend the night in his guest room. Kilgour later joined both boys while they were sleeping in the same bed and proceeded to touch both boys’ genitals.
Much of Kilgour’s defence hinged on his alleged unstable state of mind at the time of the offences, suggesting he was suffering from severe anxiety and depression. But it was a tactic ultimately dismissed by the court.
“He acted methodically, and therefore intentionally,” stated an excerpt of Kilgour’s sentence. “His lawyer claimed he was unable to fly to Switzerland as a result of his anxiety/depression, yet Kilgour was in good enough health to consult with a total of three lawyers in Canada to defend his interests…. He acted with substantial lack of regard for his victims.”
According to court records, Nova Scotia RCMP did attempt to help with the investigation but Kilgour refused to co-operate.
Jennifer Clarke, Nova Scotia RCMP spokeswoman, said she couldn’t disclose whether Kilgour is currently under any type of police surveillance.
Meanwhile, it is not clear when a final decision on Kilgour’s appeal will be reached.
The Chronicle Herald was unsuccessful in reaching Kilgour by email or by visiting the address listed as his residence on court documents. A woman at that residence, appearing visibly distraught, said that Kilgour had moved recently but was unsure of his whereabouts.
A couple living just a few doors down from that residence, who did not want to be identified, said that they were surprised by Kilgour’s conviction, and that he had been a good friend and neighbour over several years.
Kilgour is no longer employed at Abercrombie Golf and Country Club. An employee there, who did not want to be identified, said Kilgour had been a good employee. He said Kilgour abruptly quit his position at the club about two years ago, saying he had personal business to deal with.
According to his resumé, Kilgour had an accomplished academic record. It also showed he had worked as a teacher at other schools around the world as well as locally. During the 1998-99 school year he was employed by the Chignecto-Central Regional School Board as a junior and senior high school history and English teacher.
Records show Kilgour has no criminal record in Nova Scotia.
For Cloux, who’s also opened up about his ordeal with media in Switzerland, he’s hoping his actions might encourage other potential victims of Kilgour’s to come forward.
“Whether it’s in Nova Scotia or anywhere else,” said Cloux. “Ultimately, I don’t know if Kilgour will spend a day in jail, but I want to share this story and help brighten the light that is currently being shone on these issues. I’m convinced that it’ll help.”