Former Premier Accused of Sexual Abuse Cover Up

by John McKiggan

The former premier of the Northwest Territories, Joe Handley, has been accused of covering up allegations of sexual abuse of Inuit students in isolated Arctic schools.

The Globe and Mail has reported that lawyer Geoffrey Budden represents 69 Inuit who say they were victims of convicted sex offender Ed Horne when they were between six and 17 years old. Mr. Horne was their teacher in the 1970s and 1980s.

Budden claims:

“Rather than the school reporting it to the police, the teacher being fired and investigated and charged, the practice seems to have been to allow the teacher to resign or perhaps transfer,”

Premier Handley has been linked to the abuse claims because Budden has filed a motion claiming there is evidence that the government, like the Catholic Church, had “policies or procedures” that treated child sexual abuse by teachers as an internal matter.

The allegations of systemic abuse in the NWT lawsuit are similar to the widespread physical, sexual and racial abuse that took place in Canada’s Indian Residential Schools. The Residential Schools class action settlement is the largest class action settlement in Canada and, to date, the largest abuse claims settlement in the world. I posted details here and here and here.

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