Judge rules Roman Catholic corporation not liable for abuse at Mount Cashel

National Observer/The Canadian Press

March 21st 2018

By Sue Bailey

The Roman Catholic Episcopal Corporation of St. John’s, N.L., is not liable for abuse in the 1950s at the notorious Mount Cashel orphanage because a senior priest likely didn’t believe boys who reported it, a judge ruled Tuesday.

One of the lawyers representing many of the more than 80 plaintiffs swiftly announced plans to appeal.

Justice Alphonsus Faour of the provincial Supreme Court says in a 174-page judgment that he believes men who testified they told a senior priest about abuse at least seven times. Plaintiffs in the case are from an earlier era — long before sexual and physical abuse emerged as a public scandal with criminal convictions and a public inquiry starting in 1989.

But Faour concludes it’s doubtful whether that priest, who can’t be named under a publication ban, would have fully understood or believed the boys who reported similar horrors decades before.

“I do not doubt that the disclosures were made,” Faour wrote, but said they must be put in historical context. “The testimony and statements provided indicate only seven disclosures out of potentially hundreds of confessions heard by the priest during the relevant period.

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