Restaurant Mogul Sued Over Alleged Sexual Assault on Yacht Docked at Bahia Mar

Restaurant Mogul Sued Over Alleged Sexual Assault on Yacht Docked at Bahia Mar
CC Flickr

Canadians love to vacation in South Florida. As an token of appreciation their tourism, the Florida Panthers even put a Tim Hortons coffee stand in the BB&T Center.

Tim Horton's is a multibillion-dollar fast-casual restaurant chain. In Canada, it's like the equivalent of Starbucks, Dunkin' Donuts and Subway all rolled into one. Tim Horton himself founded the Canadian fast casual restaurant more than 50 years ago in Ontario, along with a partner, Ron Joyce. And after Miami-based Burger King bought the company last August for $11.4 billion, Joyce's wealth ballooned from a modest $1.2 billion to several billion more after the deal.

Now, Joyce is being sued in a Canadian court over allegations of sexual assault committed by his son Steven on his mega-yacht last October, reports the Toronto-based newspaper, National Post.

The lawsuit alleges that Joyce's son, Steven, sexually assaulted a woman October 24 aboard the 160-foot Destination Fox Harb'r Too yacht when it was docked at the Bahia Mar Yachting Center in Fort Lauderdale.

National Post reports that the accuser, Elizabeth Kelly, had been in an on-and-off relationship with the younger Joyce for several years and was in Fort Lauderdale celebrating her 50th birthday aboard the yacht with her friends.

The lawsuit alleges that at 4 p.m., Steven Joyce and Kelly had consensual sex in his stateroom. A while later, when Kelly's friend came to check on her, Joyce asked if she wanted to join the fun, but she refused. Steven allegedly grabbed the friend's arm and tried to pull her into bed with the couple. In the ensuing struggle, Steven and the friend both fell onto Kelly, "catapulting" her to the floor and injuring her hand. Kelly refused medical treatment.

Later that night, Kelly and Steven Joyce were naked in the hot tub when Kelly got out and tried to dress herself with a robe. Without warning, the man forced Kelly face-down on a chaise lounge chair and subjected her to "vicious sexual battery" during which she begged him to stop, the lawsuit says.

The attack left Kelly with "serious and permanent personal injuries and impairments," the National Post reported.

Kelly claims that Steven Joyce apologized the next day, and she never reported the incident to police. But when she got back to Canada, she filed a lawsuit against the elder Joyce in Ontario Superior Court, realizing that more damage was done to her than previously thought. She is asking for $5.7 million in damages.

"It affected me a lot more than I realized. As glamorous a surrounding as it was, it just wasn't cool," Ms. Kelly told the National Post. "That is not what love looks like."

Ron Joyce is also listed as a defendant in the lawsuit since he owns the yacht, although he was not there. But because he was the owner, Kelly alleges that Joyce failed to keep the yacht in a safe environment.

Kelly told the National Post that she sent a letter to the Joyces asking for reparations for medical costs before filing her lawsuit, but never received a response.

Ron Joyce thinks he is being targeted because of his wealth.

The Hortons told media outlets that Kelly's claims have no merit.

Send story tips to author David Minsky to his e-mail, Twitter or Instagram.

Sponsor Content


All-access pass to the top stories, events and offers around town.

  • Top Stories


All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >