Supreme Court says Basilian Fathers responsible for $2.5M in damages to sexual abuse victim Rod MacLeod


May 1, 2020

Canada’s highest court upholds decision from Ontario Court of Appeals that religious order liable for damages

Rod MacLeod, the victim of a pedophile priest in the 1960s at a Sudbury high school, said he hopes his latest legal victory will inspire other sexual abuse victims to come forward and “seek justice through the court.”

MacLeod made the comments on April 30 when the Supreme Court of Canada rejected the Basilian Fathers of Toronto’s bid for a further appeal after they were held responsible when one of their priests was convicted in 2011 of abusing 17 students at schools over a 38-year period.

MacLeod was one of those students. He was abused by Father William Hodgson Marshall when he attended St. Charles College from 1963-1967.

MacLeod received $500,000 in punitive damages and more than $1.5 million for lost earnings.

“It is possible to achieve justice in Canada,” MacLeod said in a news release following the decision from the Supreme Court of Canada.

Marshall worked in Rochester, Toronto, Windsor, Sudbury and Sault Ste. Marie, and was reported a total of six times over his career, but continued in his role as a priest and teacher. He died in 2014.

Instead of reporting Marshall to the police, the Basilian Fathers moved him to another school when abuse complaints emerged. The Basilians are a Roman Catholic Religious Order of priests who operate on three continents, including in Canada and the United States, with their headquarters located in Toronto, Ontario.

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