Landmark sexual abuse case a ‘beacon of hope’ for other victims


October 17, 2020

By Adrian Ghobrial and Jessica Bruno

A sexual assault survivor’s Supreme Court win against the Catholic church has established an expensive deterrent against covering up abuse.

After an eight-year legal battle, Canada’s top court dismissed a request to appeal from the Basilian Fathers of Toronto earlier this year. The decision put an end to the religious order’s quest to reduce a landmark civil jury award that punished the Church for its role in facilitating abuse.

Survivor Rod MacLeod says as the years went on, his motivation never changed.

“It was about putting an end to childhood sexual abuse, especially by huge powerful rich organizations … moving the abuser from place to place, keeping them safe and allowing them to continue to do what they do,” he says.

MacLeod was sexually assaulted by Basilian priest William ‘Hod’ Marshall in the 1960s while he was a student at St. Charles Catholic High School in Sudbury, where Marshall was a teacher. The abuse occurred throughout MacLeod’s high school career.

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