Ex-hostage American Caitlan Coleman accuses Canadian husband Joshua Boyle of
abuse, in court documents
Caitlan Coleman says her husband, Joshua Boyle, deepened the nightmare of her
captivity during their five years as hostages in Central Asia.
In unsealed court documents, Coleman alleges she was physically and emotionally
abused by Boyle while they were being held by the Taliban-linked Haqqani
“J.B. (Joshua Boyle) regularly threatened to kill me by setting me on fire,”
Coleman says in an affidavit filed in June as part of a family court application
to gain sole custody of the couple’s children
The specific allegations contained in the affidavits have not been proven in
Coleman, Boyle and their three children, all of whom were born in captivity,
were rescued in October 2017 by Pakistani security forces after living as
prisoners for five years in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Ontario Superior Court Justice Tracy Engelking also issued an order restraining
Boyle from contacting or coming near Coleman and their children.
“To say that the circumstances of this case are tragic in the extreme would be
an understatement,” Engelking said in her custody ruling.
The judge was presented with wildly different stories by Boyle and Coleman, but
ultimately decided that it was in the best interests of the children to allow
them to return to Pennsylvania with their mother. “Under the exceptional
circumstances of this case, requiring C.C. (Caitlan Coleman) and the children to
remain in Ottawa would be akin to once again holding them hostage.”
Boyle, 34, vigorously denied Coleman’s allegations, and levelled his own
allegations of abuse in documents filed as part of a failed cross-motion to
block his wife from leaving the country with their children.
In his 23-page affidavit, Boyle alleges his wife assaulted him and neglected
their children because of untreated mental health issues.
He also alleges Coleman tried to push him in front of a Toronto Transit
Commission subway car years before they were married.
Justice Engelking, however, said she received no evidence to support the
contention that Coleman suffers from a mental health issue that could affect her
suitability as a parent.
“The court does have evidence, on the other hand, that C.C. is healthily and
protectively parenting the children,” Engelking noted before concluding: “Based
on all of the evidence before me, I can find little to suggest C.C. would not be
a suitable temporary custodian of the children.”
Obtained by this newspaper after a court application, the documents in the case
offer a window into the couple’s deeply troubled relationship and provide new
details about their hellish, five-year hostage ordeal.
Boyle, an aspiring journalist, met Coleman, a Quiznos restaurant manager, online
in 2002. They became romantically involved four years later, but theirs was a
turbulent, on-again, off-again relationship.
Boyle says their shared interests sustained them. “We both enjoyed BDSM
(bondage),” Boyle says in his affidavit. “We both wanted to travel by way of
backpacking, and we both wanted to see the world.”
They married during a trip through Central America in July 2011, but soon
separated. Coleman began divorce proceedings in March 2012.
One month later, Boyle visited Coleman at her home in Pennsylvania where they
reconciled. They agreed to go backpacking through Central Asia, he says, and
decided to leave on the trip even after finding out that Coleman was pregnant
with their first child. They departed in July 2012.
In her affidavit, Coleman insists that she reluctantly agreed to the trip only
after Boyle promised not to go to Afghanistan. Boyle disclosed his true
intentions after they landed in Central Asia, she says, “so that I would not
Boyle insists Coleman knew he intended to go to Afghanistan — a trip designed to
further his journalistic ambitions.
“We crossed into Afghanistan for a short while in hopes that I could meet people
who could give me a story I could write about,” he says in his affidavit. “I had
hoped that personal experience in Afghanistan might help me to land more
permanent journalism work.”
Boyle has previously suggested that they travelled to Afghanistan to do
They were taken hostage on Oct. 10, 2012, after leaving a Kabul guest house in a
taxi. Coleman was five months pregnant at the time.
Boyle says their captors inflicted severe physical and psychological damage on
them for the next five years, during which they were moved to 19 hideouts in
both Afghanistan and Pakistan.
In their affidavits, Boyle and Coleman offer completely different accounts of
their relationship during captivity.
Coleman says Boyle became increasingly erratic and irrational during their
ordeal, and fixated on “depicting me as an enemy in his life.”
“The guards would separate us for a few days, weeks or months at a time,” she
says. “When we were returned together, J.B. would accuse me of betraying him by
accepting niceties from the guards and not asking for him more often.”
After three years in captivity, he became increasingly abusive, she says: “J.B.
had uncontrolled rage, instituted corporal punishment of me, and struck me in a
fit of rage.”
He repeatedly told her that she was “one of the worst people in the world,”
Coleman says, and suggested that “a husband who kills his wife is justified.”
After a disagreement in February 2017, she alleges, Boyle “hit me in the face
hard enough to break my cheekbone.”
Coleman alleges Boyle later confined her to a small shower stall for weeks at a
vs. World: Twitter account offers puzzling window on family
In his affidavit, Boyle alleges that Coleman neglected their children while in
captivity, leaving him as the primary caregiver. “Multiple captors would
reference me as the ‘wife and mother, husband and father’ in the family, noting
that all nurturing of the children was entirely upon me,” he says.
Boyle says he slapped his wife once while in captivity as she attempted suicide
by trying to overdose on stockpiled medication.
He often went without food, Boyle says, to give more to his children or pregnant
wife, and spent hours whittling toys and gifts for them with a spoon.
He built a small garden beside the family’s squat toilet, he says, and planted
okra, bean and mango seeds so that his children could appreciate gardening. He
captured mice for the children to keep as pets, and sewed them clothes from
blankets and scraps. He wrote them songs, taught them sign language, made up
stories to entertain them, and helped them memorize selections of the Bible and
Qur’an, according to his affidavit.
Boyle says he also taught them about their Canadian and Irish heritage.
“Their knowledge of Canada was exhaustive enough to being able to identify
northern islands such as Devon, Banks and Victoria on hand-drawn maps, a desire
to move to the Magdalene Islands due to a Stompin’ Tom Connors song they knew,
bedtime stories often drawn from Road to Avonlea, and pretending to be Emily
Carr when using mud to finger paint pictures of Salish homes (that always looked
suspiciously like our cell, unsurprisingly).”
Nazi women and Khadrs to Star Wars and torture: A look at Joshua Boyle’s vast
Coleman, meanwhile, told court that she was the primary caregiver, and was
responsible for home-schooling the children during the family’s captivity.
What’s more, in a second affidavit filed in response to Boyle’s, Coleman alleges
she did not share her husband’s interest in Central Asia or the extremist
ideologies it harboured.
“I would like to stress, most strongly, that for more than a decade, the
respondent (Boyle) has had an interest in extremist ideologies and in the
complete subservience of women. I have never shared that interest.”
She pointed to his previous marriage to Zaynab Khadr as evidence of his interest
in extremism. Khadr is the eldest daughter of Ahmed Said Khadr, a member of
Osama bin Laden’s inner circle who died in a firefight with Pakistani forces in
October 2003; she outraged many Canadians with her comments in a 2004
documentary in which she suggested that the Sept. 11 terror attacks were
The Boyle family was rescued last October in a dramatic shootout that made
international headlines. Weeks after returning home, the Boyle family met Justin
Trudeau in the Prime Minister’s Office.
or no, it was odd for Trudeau to meet with Boyle family
In his affidavit, Boyle says that readjusting to life in Canada has been a
traumatic experience. “While captivity was the worst thing that ever happened to
me,” he says, “the adjustment to coming home was a very close second.”
Coleman is due to give birth to the couple’s fourth child this month.
Commentary by the Ottawa Mens Centre
This was not a good or unexpected day for Lawrence Greenspan. Every lawyer in
Ottawa knows the background of former CAS lead lawyer Tracey Engleking who
managed to defy all the complaints and get appointed as a judge, most probably
because the CAS "anointed" her as a judge.
When it comes to she said versus a he said, on the surface, its hard to tell the
difference. However, Boyle's many thousands of entries on Wikipedia alone is
sufficient evidence for any average person to draw conclusions that he has at
least obsessions, fanaticizes, delusions, and at worst some serious personality
disorders not to mention a variety of mental health problems.
The Wikipedia entries, show for example that he claimed contact with "families
of alleged terrorists", specifically the Toronto 18. Then there was his marriage
to Zaynab Khadr. HIs own admissions provide a disturbing amount of evidence that
reads like a work of deranged fiction.
The unanswered or to be answered questions re Boyle are numerous and so serious
that he will remain a national security risk for the rest of his life.
That begs the question, as to what advice did Pierre Trudeau receive before he
stupidly decided to meet the family? Thats ammunition on a platter for the far
right to label Trudeau as a terrorist sympathizer.
That's not the end of the story. Caitlan Coleman knew the risks of her
relationship with Boyle and she is highly likely to go onto another
dysfunctional relationship as is Boyle who will attract a real nutbar. By giving
her permission to leave the country,
there will be no supervision or ability to monitor her in future. Her parents
and family will become her minders, just as Boyle's parents are his minders.
Boyle's allegations are not unexpected bearing in mind her decisions to be with
and remain with "Boyle". What is disturbing is that there is NO evidence by
Tracey Engleking or, any other judge, to order mental health assessments for
both of them.
That stinks. It's an obvious order that was needed when it was first filed. What
happened at those preliminary motions? Just reading the litany of at least poor
decisions by Coleman is enough to conclude she does have a mental health
Both of them will have mental health
issues from the experiences that they have been through. That alone is enough to
raise a red flag that what everyone sees, is not necessarily evidence of their
obvious preexisting personality disorders and or mental health problems.
It is evidence that both of them will appear to be nuts because of what they
have been through. That's when Tracey Engleking chose to see what she wanted to
see and not what was actually in front of her.
Tracey Engleking is a psychopath, devoid of empathy and or compassion. This is
where our judges often come from. Once appointed, the power goes to her
head, and her lack of compassion, willingness to fabricate and or obstruct only
increases as her accountability drops to zero.
Judges chambers is a toxic place with
toxic personalities akin to a club house for criminals.
Then there are the public pictures, that
have her wearing a headscarf. Did she take that off before Tracey Engleking?
Justice Tracey Engleking made this "high profile decision" that on the surface,
is an expected one under the circumstances.
Tracey Engleking however has a long track record of fabricating evidence, and
obstructing justice when she was a lawyer for Ottawa's largest criminal
organization, the Children's Aid Society of Ottawa. That should have
disqualified her from hearing any family or child protection matter.
More disturbing, is the failure of the Judicial selection committee
who approved this criminal as a judge.