Denied Final Appeal, London Catholic Diocese Doesn't Seem Ready to Resettle Abuse Case
By Jane Sims
London Free Press
February 12, 2021
It wasn’t long after her Supreme Court of Canada victory that Irene Deschenes found out her battle with the Roman Catholic Church is far from over.
On Thursday, the country’s highest court dismissed the church’s application for leave to appeal the reopening of Deschenes’ settled civil suit for the sexual abuse she suffered as a child at the hands of pedophile priest Charles Sylvestre.
The decision was the church’s last chance at stopping the re-litigation of a case that was settled for $100,000 and pushed Deschenes to uncover evidence of Sylvestre’s rampant abuses over four decades when he was a priest in Windsor, London, Sarnia, Chatham and Pain Court.
Within hours of the court’s decision, the Roman Catholic Diocese of London issued a statement that said it was “disappointed” with the ruling, but that the church’s rediscovery of a 1962 Sarnia police report implicating Sylvestre after his sentencing for 47 counts of indecent assault “would not have made a material difference to the final settlement.”
“While there is no financial commitment that can erase the damage posed by sexual abuse, the settlement that was offered to Ms. Deschenes was fair and in line with the limited case law that existed at the time,” the church said.
That was a signal this is far from over. Deschenes’ original settlement has been set aside and she’s suing the church for $4.83 million.
“Whatever I say or ask for, they’ll do the opposite, just to continue interrupting my healing, re-victimize and re-traumatize me,” Deschenes, 59, said after the church statement was released.