Justice David Little issued a damning decision today castigating former Bishop John Sherlock and the Roman Catholic Church for years of covering up sexual abuse by Canada’s most notorious pedophile Father Charles Sylvestre.
In a strongly worded judgement Justice Little stated:
“There was a coverup by the Diocese. There was a coverup by the Roman Catholic Church itself. The coverup was for the benefit of the Diocese and church and the expense of the victims…”
Justice Little awarded the plaintiff K.M.M. over $600,000.00 compensation for pain and suffering, income loss and out of pocket expenses.
No Punishment Necessary
Unfortunately Justice Little did not see fit to order the Diocese of London to pay punitive damages. Punitive damages are awarded when a defendant’s conduct is so outrageous and reprehensible the court feels it is necessary to award further damages as a deterance.
Little said “the serious nature of the negative impact upon the victims” has only recently been studied and that the Diocese of London has taken “substantial steps to address the issue of sexual abuse.’
“It would appear that numerous positive steps have been taken to rectify the problem so that at least the Diocese itself need no longer be punished for failing to act appropriately…”
I say the same thing to all of my clients before they take the step to file a sexual abuse compensation claim. No amount of money is enough. No amount of money will make a survivor forget or erase what happened. Unfortunately money is the only way the civil courts have of holding abusers, and those that protect them, responsible.
However I have to say that I am disappointed that Justice Little did not think the Diocese intentionally covering up Charles Sylvestre’s years of sexual abuse was worthy of punishment because the Diocese has issued an apology to victims.
I applaud K.M.M.’s courage for coming forward and actually proceeding through what was no doubt a difficult and exhausting trial.