Category: Child Abuse

Diocese Ignored Sex Abuse Claims Against Priest: Vermont

by John McKiggan

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Vermont has been sued over allegations that the Bishop ignored previous allegations of sexual abuse when the Diocese hired Rev. Edward Paquette.

In a trial that started this week, Monsignor John McSweeney, who was chancellor of the Vermont diocese and handled details of hiring priests for then-Bishop John Marshall in the 1970s, testified that he did not know about such allegations until he reviewed church documents recently.

The documents, which chronicle the steps the Vermont diocese took while considering whether to hire Paquette in 1972, include several mentions of the alleged misconduct in letters from out-of-state church officials to McSweeney.

Ex-Cop Facing Jail Refuses to Testify at Cornwall Ont. Sexual Abuse Inquiry

by John McKiggan

Perry Dunlop told the judge in charge of the inquiry into sexual abuse claims in Cornwall Ontario that:

“I will never go to that public inquiry in Cornwall even if you put a gun to my head,”

CBC news has reported that lawyers for Ontario’s attorney general and the inquiry commissioner offered Dunlop one last chance to testify before the inquiry on Monday, but he refused.

Autistic Child who was Sexually Abused Files Lawsuit Against New Brunswick Government

by John McKiggan

A child who suffers from a form of autism called Asperger’s Syndrome was jailed, sexually abused and subdued with stun guns while he was in the custody of provincial authorities. The New Brunswick government is now being sued over its alleged failure to properly care for the boy.

A recent report by Child and Youth Advocate Bernard Richard, that I wrote about last week found gaping holes in the province’s support system for troubled children.

The lawsuit alleges that the boy was taken from his parents when he was 14 and placed in the protective care of provincial authorities.

Set Back for Ontario Sex Abuse Class Action

by John McKiggan

A class action lawsuit on behalf of former students of St. Andrew’s College in Ontario who say they were sexually abused has suffered a set back. Students who say they were sexually abused by former teacher John Bradley have filed a class action seeking compensation.

In a highly unusual move, the proposed lead plaintiff applied to the court for an order requesting immunity from costs. In other words, if the proposed class action is not certified , or if the claim is not successful at trial, the lead plaintiff does not want to be responsible for paying costs (legal fees) to the Defendants.

Under the Ontario Class Proceedings Act an award of costs is solely within the discretion of the court.

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:

Boy Scouts Sued for Sexual Abuse

by John McKiggan

A Portland Oregon man has sued the Boy Scouts of America and its local Cascade Pacific Council for more than $3 million, alleging sexual abuse by two troop leaders in the mid-1970s.

The Plaintiff’s lawyer, Kelly Clark was quoted in a story reported in The Oregonian as saying:

“We also intend to prove that the Boy Scouts were well aware, by at least the 1960s, that they had a serious, institution-wide infestation of child abuse, stretching across the country, involving hundreds of predators and thousands of children.”

Judge Expands Abuse Claim Time Limits…Catches Up to Canada

by stemwebadmin

Judge John R. O’Malley denied the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph summary judgment Friday, after hearing arguments based on Powel v. Chaminade, which added new wording to how the statute of limitations can be applied in sexual abuse claims. The ruling allows a court to consider when a plaintiff not only recalled the alleged abuse, but recognized the harm it inflicted.
O’Malley’s decision allowed the lawsuit to proceed to a jury verdict. The Diocese settled within days.
The ruling means Missouri’s law is now similar to Canada. The 1992 decision of the Supreme Court of Canada, M (K) v M (H), removed a major barrier to lawsuits by ruling that provincial limitation periods do not begin to run until the plaintiff is reasonably capable of discovering the wrongful nature of the defendant’s acts and the nexus between those acts and the plaintiff’s injuries.
Nova Scotia became the first Province to amend its Limitation of Actions Act to provide that the limitation period for sexual abuse cases does not start to run until the victim is aware of the full extent of the abuse and the injury suffered. In 1994, British Columbia amended its Limitation Act to eliminate all limitations for causes of action ‘based on misconduct of a sexual nature’ or ‘based on sexual assault’. The rest of the Provinces enacted similar legislation shortly thereafter.

Sexual Abuse Settlements Empower Victims to Come Forward

by stemwebadmin

Frank Douglas has posted another interesting article about the Los Angeles priest abuse settlement on his Voice from the Desert blog.
He highlights an important part of the Los Angeles settlement (perhaps the most important part); the requirement for the Archdiocese to release to the public documents about it’s knowlege of the predatory habits of the Archdiocese’s sexually abusive priests.
Sexual abuse thrives on secrecy. Sexual predators manipulate their victims through shame and guilt. The article points out that:
when the predators’ names come out, other victims of the same perpetrator are often empowered to come forward.
Unfortunately, in some cases the names come out too late. In one case I am currently involved in David Martin took his own life because he could no longer deal with the pain of the sexual abuse he had suffered at the hands of Father Hugh Vincent MacDonald. His suicide note disclosing the abuse launched a police investigation that uncovered dozens of MacDonald’s sexual abuse victims, most of whom I now represent. Unfortunately MacDonald died before he could be tried and convicted, robbing his victims of the opportunity to hold him accountable.

Do Myths About Child Abuse Explain The Church Sex Abuse Scandals?

by stemwebadmin

I read an interesting story comparing myths and facts about child sexual abuse. The author points to research which suggests one reason why the Catholic Church has had such difficulty coming to terms with the reality of sexual abuse by it’s priests:
Males are less likely to believe victims complaints – particularly when sexual abuse is involved. Female respondents were more likely to believe victims who speak up. Males were more likely to believe children who made allegations of physical abuse. Men were not so likely to believe allegations of sexual abuse.
This is an interesting finding that needs more investigation. It could explain why it was so difficult to convince predominantly male law enforcement of the pervasive nature of this problem in our society and why it was so hard for the male leadership of the church to believe that their male colleagues were abusing children.
I have represented hundreds of victims of childhood sexual abuse and dozens of victims of priest sexual abuse. In most of those cases I was not convinced that the “male leadership of the church” did not believe the victim. On the contrary, the allegations were believed but the sexual offender was simply shuffled off to a different parish to continue his predations.
However I agree wholeheartedly with one of the authors conclusions:
None of us is immune to making assumptions. It is important to note, however, that these perceptions can and do influence treatment, investigations and community responses. Raising our awareness about these perceptions can help us be open to dealing with the situations that arise before us with integrity, compassion and empathy.
When we do that, we open the door to those who are suffering in our midst to speak up and tell us about their pain. That is the beginning of healing.
Take a look at the rest of the story here.

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