369 people come forward with abuse claims against Archdiocese of St. John’s in bankruptcy case

CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) [Toronto, Canada]

December 4, 2023

By Ryan Cooke

Decisions by independent claims officer expected by April 2024

 The final tally is in — 369 people have come forward claiming they were abused physically or sexually by people under the watch of the Archdiocese of St. John’s, including the Christian Brothers at Mount Cashel. 

Archbishop Peter Hundt delivered the message to parishioners during Roman Catholic masses on Sunday, saying each of those claims are now being evaluated by an independent claims officer to “provide both a determination of liability and a value for each claim.”

It’s the latest update in the archdiocese’s insolvency proceedings, which began when the organization filed for creditor protection on Dec. 22, 2021. 

Hundt said the claims officer’s decision should come by April.

“I know that the ongoing legal proceedings and the sale of church properties have been a great source of hurt and pain for the communities, parishes, and individuals of this archdiocese,” he said. 

“I am very grateful to all the clergy and parishioners who have provided support and assistance to each other and to the broader Catholic community during this difficult time of change and restructuring.”

A large portion of the claimants are expected to be survivors of the Mount Cashel Orphanage, a St. John’s institution that, for decades, served as a safe haven for child abusers and a house of horrors for the kids that lived there.

The archdiocese’s decision to file for creditor protection came on the heels of an appeal court decision that held the church responsible for actions of the Christian Brothers that ran the orphanage. Allegations of abuse at Mount Cashel span from the late 1940s to the 1980s.  

The group also includes people who have been abused by priests and have not previously sought damages in civil court. 

The claims officer — consulting firm EY — will determine how much compensation is paid to each claimant, and claimants will have the option of appealing to the province’s highest court if they aren’t satisfied.