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Churches Criminally Responsible for Child Sexual Abuse?

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Yesterday I posted about the CBC documentary The Good Father. I mentioned that I found it incredible that the Church knew about Sylvestre’s abuse for decades and did nothing to stop him.

For many years, I have represented survivors of clergy sexual abuse in civil suits for compensation. While no amount of money can ever change what happened or repair the damage caused by sexual abuse, at least compensation is a recognition of the harm. But what can be done about those in authority that knew about the abuse and allowed it to continue?

I was reminded of an article by Dawn Russell, fomer Dean of Dalhousie Law School, entitled “Paedophilia: The criminal responsibility of Canada’s churches”.

Dean Russell argued, convincingly, that religious organizations that knowingly allow children to be sexually abused can (and should) be criminally charged in the same way that corporations can be subject to criminal sanctions.

I don’t believe the article is online, but if you want to read it here’s the cite: DALHOUSIE LAW JOURNAL. 15(1992):380-427

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