TORONTO (ONTARIO, CANADA)
The Canadian Press / CTV News
May 22, 2020
By Paola Loriggio
An Ontario woman has won her bid to sue the London Diocese of the Roman Catholic Church for a second time over the sexual abuse she suffered as a child at the hands of a priest.
Irene Deschenes initially filed a lawsuit in 1996 alleging she was sexually abused by Father Charles Sylvestre in the early 1970s, and that the London diocese failed to prevent it.
She settled out of court in 2000 after the diocese maintained it didn’t know of any concerns regarding Sylvestre or his behaviour until the late 1980s — long after what happened to Deschenes.
Court documents show that in 2006, Sylvestre pleaded guilty to having sexually assaulted 47 girls under the age of 18, including Deschenes.
It also came to light that the diocese had received police statements in 1962 alleging the priest had assaulted three girls, prompting Deschenes to seek to scrap her settlement and file a new suit.
A motion judge ruled to allow the new legal action, but the diocese appealed — a challenge that was unanimously dismissed by the province’s top court this week.
Deschenes’s lawyer praised her client’s “strength and conviction” in pursuing the case, and said Deschenes is “thrilled” the Appeal Court upheld the decision to set aside the settlement.
Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.