ípeg Man Claims Sex Abuse at Catholic School

By Paul Turenne
Winnipeg Sun
February 17, 2012

A Winnipeg man has come forward claiming he was repeatedly sexually abused by a priest while he was a student at a North End Catholic school nearly 60 years ago.

The 64-year-old man, who cannot be named to protect his identity, filed a lawsuit with Manitoba's Court of Queen's Bench last week alleging that a priest at Holy Ghost School on Selkirk Avenue fondled and masturbated him two or three times per week in a basement bathroom at the school when he was in Grade 3 in the mid-1950s. The man alleges the priest tried several times to get him to do the same in return.

"The plaintiff would try to run away from (the priest) in order to avoid or stop the sexual assaults, but would be caught and hit by (the priest)," the suit alleges.

None of the allegations has been proven in court.

The man has not filed a criminal complaint with police, as the priest has passed away.

Norman Rosenbaum, the man's lawyer, said his client has had a terrible time dealing with the abuse and that's at least partly why he waited almost 60 years to make the claim.

"He came from a really dark place in his life. He was busy surviving," Rosenbaum said, noting it's not uncommon for sex abuse survivors to wait decades to come forward. "I think the attitude was that priests were next to God, so it was like suing God."

The lawsuit claims the man suffers from "severe emotional and psychological distress and trauma," depression, anxiety, and panic attacks, has had alcohol and substance abuse problems, and has had difficulty maintaining intimate relationships.

The man is seeking unspecified damages in the lawsuit.

The suit names The Oblates of Mary Immaculate, which runs the school, and the local Roman Catholic Archdiocese's legal corporation as co-defendants.

Neither has yet had the chance to file a statement of defence.








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