Que. Man Alleges Sexual Abuse at School for the Deaf

Montreal Gazette
September 1, 2010

Alleging sexual and physical abuse started when he was nine, a former resident of a school for deaf children is seeking leave to launch a class-action lawsuit against the school and the order of Catholic brothers who staffed it.

If granted by the Superior court, Serge D'Arcy is seeking a total of $600,000 for alleged abuse between 1967 and 1982: $250,000 for loss of revenue; $250,000 for physical and psychological suffering; and $100,000 in punitive damages.

For other victims who would become part of the class-action, the suit is seeking $100,000 in punitive damages for each, plus other compensation to be determined on am individual basis.

D'Arcy, 54, named four members of the Clercs de Saint Viateur who staffed the school as having committed the abuse. The building in question is the non-residential Institut Raymond-Dewar, a rehabilitation centre affiliated with Universite de Montreal and specializing in deafness and communication.

Having met another student who said he was similarly abused, D'Arcy decided to sue the brothers who "took advantage of (the students') vulnerability and innocence . . . with no way of defending themselves and being far from parents."

D'Arcy said various sexual acts were inflicted against him by the brothers.

He alleges one brother once forced him to strip and beat the boy's buttocks with a wooden spoon for communicating with another student using sign language, which was banned at the school. D'Arcy said he felt sick to his stomach after each incident, was unable to complain and suffered from sadness, extreme anxiety and an inability to leave the house and use mass transit, he said in the motion.

At 20, he began abusing alcohol and drugs, could not support himself financially or keep a job, was fired regularly because of his emotional state and instability and three times attempted suicide.

He also was confused as to his sexual orientation and had difficulty developing relationships with women, until his current stable relationship.

There is no way of knowing how many former residents of the school might be part of an eventual class-action lawsuit, lawyer Pierre Boivin said.

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