Catholic diocese slashing funding for priest abuse victims: Lawyer

The London Free Press

June 29, 2018

By Jonathan Sher

The Roman Catholic diocese in Southwestern Ontario has slashed funds to pay for counselling of those abused by priests and adopted American-style tactics by using a top-dollar legal team to go after those who support victims, a London lawyer says.

The change in tactics by the Diocese of London came suddenly and left victims vulnerable, said lawyer Rob Talach of London, who has represented many victims and complainants since becoming a lawyer in 2002.

“(The diocese) unilaterally decided (to) squeeze back,” Talach said of a diocese in which at least 21 priests have been convicted, charged or sued for sexual offenses, including about 80 claims alone against Charles Sylvestre, who was convicted of abusing 47 victims and died in prison.

The diocese, which serves a region with 440,000 Catholics and stretches between lakes Erie and Huron, has paid counselling bills for years, because when it first started settling lawsuits against its priests, it refused to pay lump sums for counselling to victims, insisting that the church look after their care, Talach said.

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