Sexual Abuse Class Action filed against R.C. Diocese of Antigonish and Cape Breton

by John McKiggan

Our firm has filed a class action against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Antigonish for compensation for victims of sexual abuse by priests from the Diocese.

The claim is the first class action in Nova Scotia filed under the new Class Proceedings Act.

The representative plaintiff is Ronald Martin. Ron’s brother of David Martin committed suicide 6 years ago. David’s suicide note revealed that he had been sexually abused by Father Hugh Vincent MacDonald, a former priest of the Antigonish Diocese.

A criminal investigation by the RCMP and the Cape Breton Regional Police lead to charges of rape, buggery and indecent assault against Hugh Vincent MacDonald involving more than 15 children in incidents spanning the 1960’s and 1970’s.

Several priests from the Antigonish Diocese have been previously convicted of sexually abusing children from the Diocese including Clair Richard, Claude Richard, and James Mombourquette.

Ronald Martin has written an open letter to other survivors of sexual abuse by priests from the Antigonish Diocese.

In the letter, Ron Martin explains why he was motivated to file the class action:

The only thing that I had asked for was an acceptance of responsibility for what happened to David, to us, and all the others who had been abused by a representative of the church.

The class action claims that the Roman Catholic Church, the Bishop of Antigonish and the R.C. Diocese of Antigonish sent priests from the Diocese for treatment for “sexual deviations”. The class action claims that the Defendants, following the instructions of the Pope, kept the priests’ sexual deviance secret and failed to warn or protect children within the Diocese.

If you or a family member have been a victim of sexual abuse by a priest from the Antigonish Diocese you can contact me for more information through this blog, or by calling toll free 1-877-423-2050.

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