Antigonish Diocese Sexual Abuse Class Action Certified and Settlement Approved!

by John McKiggan

Sex Abuse Class Action Certified

I am pleased to announce that on September 10, 2009, Justice David MacAdam of the Nova Scotia Supreme Court certified Ronald Martin’s class action lawsuit against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Antigonish.

Settlement Approved

Justice MacAdam also approved the settlement agreement which sets up a private and confidential compensation process for victims of sexual abuse by priests of the Diocese of Antigonish.

Landmark Decision

Justice MacAdam’s decision is extraordinary because it marks the first time that the Catholic Church has ever been successfully sued in a class action lawsuit. It also marks the first time that the Catholic Church has agreed to set up a compensation program specifically to provide compensation to survivors of sexual abuse by priests.

There are three important deadlines for class members to be aware of:

Notify Class Counsel: Class members should notify me on or before December 4, 2009 if they want to participate in the class action settlement. You can do so by contacting me by email at

Opt Out: If a class member does not want to take part in the class action settlement, and wants to file an individual lawsuit at their own cost, they must file an opt out form with the lawyers representing the Diocese on or before December 4, 2009.

Claims Deadline: Class members have until March 10, 2010 to submit a fully completed claim form requesting compensation. Claim forms are available by contacting my office or on the class action website

Trigger Dates

There are two “trigger dates” in the settlement agreement. If anyone opts out of the class action, the Diocese has the right to pull out of the class action settlement.

Similarly, if more than 70 survivors come forward indicating that they want to file a claim for compensation, Ronald Martin has the right to pull out of the settlement agreement. The deadline for making this decision is December 4, 2009.

Congratulations and Thanks

Ron Martin is to be congratulated for all of his efforts in bringing forward this landmark claim on behalf of all of the sexual abuse survivors of the Antigonish Diocese.

I am honoured to have been able to assist Ron Marin in this landmark case. I want to thank him for trusting me with this important claim.

More Information

You can find out more about the terms of the class action settlement on my website

If you or a family member were sexually abused by a priest that was a member of the Antigonish Diocese between 1950 and 2009 you may be eligible for compensation under the class action settlement. You can contact me for more information or call my assistant Sarah Winfield toll free in Atlantic Canada at (877) 423-2050 to arrange an appointment.

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