Globe and Mail
APRIL 27, 2018
A jury has awarded $500,000 in punitive damages against a Roman Catholic religious order over a priest’s abuse of a schoolboy, accusing it of betraying the community’s trust by covering up abuse and moving a serial predator along to new posts.
Rob Talach, a lawyer who represented the victim, Rod MacLeod, now 68, said the case represents the largest punitive award by a civil jury in a sexual-abuse case against the Catholic Church in Canada. Over all, the jury award in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice amounted to $2.5-million, which includes money for lost wages, suffering and lost enjoyment of life.
Punitive damages are reserved for particularly egregious conduct, and are meant to deter such conduct in the future.
“I think that the public, as expressed through the jury, is fed up. They want to see more action by institutions,” Mr. Talach said in an interview. “We are moving in a more positive direction. MeToo is part of that. The Cosby conviction is part of that.” (U.S. entertainer Bill Cosby was convicted of sexual offences this week in Pennsylvania.)
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