Church Faces New Sex Suits
The Claims against the RC Diocese of London Allege Abuse by Two Priests in the 1960s and '70s
By Jane Sims
London Free Press [Canada]
November 8, 2006
Two more lawsuits have been filed against the Roman Catholic diocese of London involving alleged sexual misconduct by two priests -- one well-known from another sex-abuse lawsuit and the other deceased for more than 30 years.
Statements of claim were filed in London on behalf of Richard Corbett of Wheatley and Mary Jane Haslam of MacGregor by the London law firm Ledroit Beckett.
The claims have not been proven in court.
In his $4-million lawsuit, Corbett, 57, claims he was abused in 1964 and 1965 by Rev. Barry Glendinning at Windsor's Our Lady of Guadalupe parish, where Glendinning was the priest.
Glendinning, who is retired and living in Toronto, was found liable with the diocese in 2004 in a high-profile sexual abuse lawsuit involving the Swales brothers.
In a $4.5-million suit, Haslam, 44, claims she was abused by Rev. William R. Ring while he was her priest at St. Paul's parish in Thamesville in 1973.
Lawyer Rob Talach said both priests were seminary professors living across the hall from each other at St. Peter's Seminary during the 1960s and early '70s. Both were transferred to Rome after their first parish assignments.
Two other diocese of London priests convicted of sex crimes, Rev. John Harper and Rev. Charles Sylvestre, were both posted for a time at Catholic education facilities.
Talach said there is a theory that abusive priests were often sent to seminaries as a "quick fix" to keep them away from children and supervise them closely.
Corbett, a former altar boy, said his memories flooded back when he saw Glendinning's photo during a TV news story about priest defrocking more than a month ago.
"That laid me right back in the chair. I shuddered, I vomited, I went into a sweat," he said.
Corbett said he was abused weekly by Glendinning when he was 15, while receiving counselling after his father died.
"I was the prey and he just basically saw right into everything I told him all about my past and he took advantage of it," he said.
Haslam said she was 11 when she was abused by Ring.
She was inspired to come forward by the courage of the 47 women who criminally charged Sylvestre -- who is now serving a prison term.
Ring died a year after her abuse started. Haslam said if he were living, she would have charged him.
"For 30 years, I have been living with the horrors that Father Ring inflicted on me when I was 11 years old. I have had enough."
She said she told a priest about the abuse when she was a teenager. That priest said she likely "misconstrued his actions."
Haslam noted Bishop Ronald Fabbro encouraged anyone abused by a priest to come forward after the Sylvestre case.
In a statement, the diocese said "deep pain is felt by all parties" when there are allegations of sexual abuse.
"The diocese of London deplores all acts of sexual abuse and sexual impropriety, especially by clergy or anyone in the church's employ towards minors and any person," the statement said.
The diocese said it will work to "bring a speedy and just resolution to these claims" and hopes victims are able to "find some closure and healing." It will respond to the allegations through legal channels.
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