Lawsuit claims Catholic priest sexually abused Calgary girl in 1980s

Calgary Herald [Calgary, Alberta, Canada]

November 1, 2022

By Kevin Martin

The lawsuit claims that Father Joseph John Toole, who died in 2010, sexually abused a young girl repeatedly at Holy Spirit Church

The Catholic Church in Calgary is facing a $3.2-million lawsuit over allegations a since-deceased priest sexually abused a young girl in the 1980s.

 But in a statement of defence, the Roman Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of Calgary denies the plaintiff was abused and said if Father Joseph John Toole committed any sexual assaults it was without the knowledge of church officials.

The statement of claim filed last month says the sexual abuse of the plaintiff began in 1985 when she was seven, or eight years old and continued for about four or five years.

The sexual abuse ranged from Toole exposing his naked body to the girl, to anal and vaginal rape.

“In order to facilitate the abuses, Toole also engaged in a pattern of behaviour intended to make the plaintiff feel that her soul was in jeopardy,” the lawsuit states.

It says Toole, who died in April 2010, at the age of 81, used his position of trust over the child to repeatedly sexually abuse her at Holy Spirit Church and the Catholic school she attended at the time.

The lawsuit says the plaintiff has suffered decades of anguish over Toole’s conduct and only became sufficiently aware of the impact of the priest’s actions in late 2021.

“The plaintiff has suffered physical, mental, psychological and emotional stress, shock and suffering which will continue forever.”

But in its statement of defence, filed last week, the Diocese denies any wrongdoing.

“The Diocese denies that the plaintiff attended at the Holy Spirit Parish in Calgary,” it says.

“The Diocese denies that Father Toole engaged in any sexual activities with the plaintiff as alleged, or at all.”