Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of January 28, 2002
Suit filed against religious orders
By ART BABYCH
Canadian Catholic News
A class-action suit has been launched against a Toronto-based Catholic order of Christian Brothers alleging breach of trust in connection with a multimillion dollar compensation deal in 1992 to hundreds of victims of sexual abuse.
The suit was filed by David McCann, who was president of Helpline, an association of former students who reported sexual or physical abuse at St. Joseph's Training School for Boys at Alfred, near Ottawa, and the St. John's Training School for Boys at Uxbridge, near Toronto.
The former students claimed they were abused at the schools - operated by separate orders of the Christian Brothers - in the 1950s and 1960s.
Douglas Roche, the founding editor of the WCR, who has since been appointed to the Senate - chaired mediation efforts that resulted in a $23-million compensation package that was ratified by about 700 alleged abuse victims at the two schools through Helpline.
The deal was also signed by the Archdiocese of Ottawa, the Archdiocese of Toronto, the Ontario government and the Christian Schools of Ottawa - which is not affiliated with the Toronto Christian Brothers.
The Toronto order was to contribute $3 million but refused to sign the agreement, its lawyer calling the demand for money "blackmail."
Without the participation of the Toronto order, victims at the Alfred school voted 100 per cent to share their compensation equally with those of the Uxbridge school, which was operated by the Toronto brothers.
In turn, the Alfred students were to receive a share of any settlements reached with victims from the Uxbridge school.
McCann's suit claims the Christian Brothers in Toronto committed a breach of trust in settling with some of the Uxbridge victims by paying them directly, rather than ensuring that the money was shared with the Alfred victims.