Church liable for sex assaults

Brandon Sun

February 19, 2020

By Erin DeBooy

[The Anglican C]hurch is liable for the sexual assaults a woman experienced more than 50 years ago at the hands of a priest.

“It is clear that the Anglican Church of Canada did not and does not condone the sexual abuse of children by priests acting on their behalf. However, that fact is not determinative in deciding if the Diocese of Brandon should be held vicariously liable for the sexual assaults inflicted on the plaintiff by (Jack) Hopper,” Justice John Menzies wrote in his decision delivered last month.

“The sexual abuse committed by Hopper and the placement of Hopper as priest in the community of Grand Rapids by the Diocese of Brandon are strongly connected. I have little hesitation in finding that the Diocese of Brandon is vicariously liable for the sexual abuse inflicted on the plaintiff by Hopper.”

In the lawsuit against The Anglican Church of Canada, The Diocese of Brandon filed in 2014, the plaintiff, now 63, claimed she was sexually assaulted twice by Hopper, an Anglican priest, in the basement of an Anglican church in Misipawistik Cree Nation (Grand Rapids First Nation).

The woman told the court during a three-day trial for the lawsuit in Brandon Court of Queen’s Bench in September that Hopper assaulted her on two occasions after Sunday school a few months apart.

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