St Dominic’s Home says legal action too long after alleged abuse

Trinidad and Tobago Guardian

October 6, 2022

By Joel Julien

The St Dominic’s Children’s Home and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Port-of-Spain have responded to the threat of legal action following claims of abuse against children, saying that it happened too long ago to be considered.

On August 30, attorneys representing six former wards issued a pre-action protocol letter to the St Dominic’s Home, Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Port-of-Spain and the Attorney General’s Office, threatening to sue for as much as $2.5 million in damages as a result of that alleged abuse.

On September 28, attorney Gregory Delzin responded to the pre-action protocol letter on behalf of the St Dominic’s Home and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Port-of-Spain.

“I have carefully considered the content of your letters. I note that the proposed action concerns alleged abuse committed against your clients in the mid-1990s, close to 30 years ago. In the circumstances, I have advised my clients that there are provisions of the Limitation of Certain Actions Act Chap 7:09 which will impact upon this action,” it stated.

“It is my considered position that it would further the overriding objective to address the issue of limitation at the pre-action stage.

“If, in fact, on the circumstances of this case it is clear that the actions will be defeated on a preliminary point, it would save the parties the significant costs of investigating the substantive issues. I therefore call upon you to indicate your position on the applicability of the Limitation of Certain Actions Act and the question of whether the proposed action is in fact statute barred.”

According to the Limitations of Certain Actions Act Section (5), the limitation on personal injuries is four years from the date on which the person injured first acquired knowledge of the accrual of the cause of action.

“Further, I am constrained to point out that the details you have provided on the facts of your clients’ respective cases is gross deficient. In most cases, the most basic information is not disclosed, such the time periods during which your clients were wards at the institution. This will need to be corrected before any substantive response is provided,” Delzin stated.

Junior Dexter Peters, 51, a former employee at St Dominic’s Home, is currently charged with offences arising out of claims of sexual abuse at the St Dominic’s Children’s Home 25 years ago.