Billionaire Tim Hortons Co-Founder’s Son Sued For Alleged Rape and Battery

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The son of one of Tim Hortons’ co-founders is being sued for a sex assault and battery that allegedly happened last October. Papers filed on Friday with the Superior Court in Toronto claim that Steven Joyce, 48, raped Elizabeth Kelly, 50, of Toronto, on Joyce’s father’s yacht.

Joyce’s father, Ronald Joyce, owns the doughnut chain Tim Hortons. Ron Joyce is worth $1.2 billion, according to a 2013 Forbes estimate. Kelly is seeking $5.7 million in damages, and the filed claims have yet to be contested in court. Joyce and his father are both named as defendants and have not filed a statement of defense at the time of this writing. Ron Joyce was not present on the yacht but is included in the lawsuit because Kelly alleges that, as the yacht owner, “he had a legal duty under maritime law to keep her safe.”

The National Post in Toronto reached Steven Joyce earlier this week. Joyce said, “I am aware of the allegations. My father certainly has nothing to do with this. They are just allegations. It’s unfortunate. We were friends for a long time.”


That last fact was true, and is part of the reason that Kelly didn’t come forward earlier. Kelly, who has been married three times, dated Joyce after he separated from his wife for three years before the incident. In an interview with the Post, Kelly said, “We really cared about one another.”

But what allegedly happened on the superyacht, worth a purported $30 million, tells another story.

Kelly and a girlfriend (whose name has not been made public) went to Fort Lauderdale to celebrate her 50th birthday and to join Joyce on the yacht. Kelly and Joyce had consensual sex that afternoon. A while later, in the stateroom, Joyce requested that the two women join him for a threesome, which Kelly and her friend refused. According to Kelly, Joyce then “grabbed her arm and tried to pull her onto the bed with them.” As a result, Kelly was thrown off the bed and Joyce and Kelly’s friend landed on top of her. Kelly severely injured her wrist and hand. She declined to go to the hospital that night but stated that she would visit a clinic first thing in the morning.

That evening, Kelly and Joyce spent time on a hot tub on the top deck of the yacht. When Kelly rose naked before putting on a robe, she said it was hard because of her injured hand, the court papers say. They then say that “Steven Joyce, without warning, suddenly and inexplicably forced the plaintiff face down on a chaise lounge and subjected the plaintiff to a vicious sexual battery.” Kelly allegedly begged Joyce to stop and screamed that he was hurting her.

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Despite incurring “serious and permanent personal injuries and impairments,” Kelly did not report the attack to the police. That’s allegedly due in part to the fact that Joyce was apologetic to her, before the ship’s captain drove the three of them to a clinic.

Kelly said she was in too much shock at the time to file a complaint and was unsure of how to make one in a foreign country in her interview with the Post. At the medical clinic, she only showed her hand injury.

Kelly, of course, is telling a different story now, which puts into question why she waited so long to file a lawsuit, especially when her claims say that she suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, suicidal thoughts and “the inability to trust or form intimate relationships” after the alleged assault.

When Kelly spoke about the lawsuit, she was quick to dismiss the “glamorous”  surroundings. “It doesn’t matter if it’s on a $30-million yacht or in the street,” Kelly said. “It affected me a lot more than I realized. [I]t just wasn’t cool.”  When asked about Joyce, Kelly was frank and said, “That is not what love looks like.”

In the same Post interview, Ron Joyce argued that he was being milked because his family is wealthy:

“That’s one of the problems of being wealthy: you become a target for some pretty unscrupulous people.”

Kelly, however, knew Joyce would make such claims. In the report, she said the suit was not a “money grab.”

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