Damian Lawrence Cooper
Father Damian Cooper
Priest, Archdiocese of Vancouver, British Columbia. Ordained 1986. Lawsuit filed December 2012 alleging sex abuse of teenage girl in the late ’80s to early ’90s. Diocesan officials advised of the abuse in 1994 – Father Cooper ended up across the border serving in the Diocese of Rockville Centre, New York. He is not listed in the current Church directories.
03 February 2014: examination for discovery defendants and plaintiff in Vancouver, Washington (not open to public);
06 September 2913: 09:30 am, application for files will be argued before a judge or Master in the Vancouver, BC courthouse (800 Smith Street)
TRIAL date set for 29 September 2014 – estimated to take 20 days
08 August 2013: Notice of Application (to Lawrence Cooper a.k.a. Father Damian Lawrence Cooper, and to the Roman Catholic Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Vancouver, and to their Solicitors) (this is a request for documents) (this is a request for documents, including those in the Secret Archives of the Archdiocese of Vancouver)
03 January 2013: Letters to Ed. re Father Damian Cooper media coverage
Archbishops of the Archdiocese of Vancouver, British Columbia from the time of Father Damian Cooper’s ordination: James Francis Carney (08 January 1969 – 16 September 1990 ); Adam Joseph Exner, O.M.I. (25 May 1991- 10 January 2004); Raymond Roussin, S. M. (10 January 2004 – 2 January 2009); John Michael Miller, C.S.B. (Coadjutor Archbishop: 1 Jun 2007 – Archbishop 02 Jan 2009 );
14 December 2012: BLOG Where is he now?
The following information is drawn from those Canadian Catholic Church Directories (CCCD) which I have on hand, media (M) and the above 12 December 2012 Press Release (PR)
2012, 2010: not listed in directory (CCCD)
2005: One of four priests serving as Spiritual Directors for the Fraser Valley Pregnancy Centre ( Page 4 Fraser Valley Pregnancy Centre newsletter – Winter 2005 )
2002: USA (CCCD)
2001 (?): around this time was transferred to Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Lindenhurst, N.Y. (M) Time at OLP unknown. (at that time there was an elementary school , Our Lady of Perpetual Help School, affiliated with the Church)
From 08 May 2011 Our Lady of Perpetual Help bulletin in Lindenhurst, NY ( click here for bulletin – scroll to page 10):
For our OLPH 140th Anniversary brochure, we would like
to have a small head and shoulders picture of the priests
listed below who were assigned here since 1996.
Please drop them off at the rectory Attn: Helen Brion
before May 15, please, with your name and address
so they can be returned to you.
Rev. Damian Cooper…
2000, 1999, 1998, 1997, 1996: listed as “USA” (CCCD)
St. Hugh Roman Catholic Church, Huntington Station, NY (M)
1995: listed as “on leave” (CCCD)
St. Hugh of Lincoln Roman Catholic Church, Huntington Station, NY (M)
according to media, spent almost six years at St. Hugh’s and then was assigned to Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Lindenhurst, NY (M)
spent time at St. Brigid’s Church, Long Island, New York (PR)
1994: Pastor at St. Jude’s Roman Catholic Church in Vancouver, BC (CCCD)
abuse disclosed to Church officials – Kathleen Taylor was told by then Archbishop Adam Exner that Cooper would be sent to a treatment centre in the States. (PR) The archdiocese provided counselling for Kathleen, and for a spell covered her living costs while she pursued a post-graduate degree in the States (M)
1993-1994: St. Jude’s. Squamish, BC.
The following is a cached page from the former website of St. Jude’s Roman Catholic Church in Squamish, BC:
FATHER L. DAMIAN COOPER
Father L. Damian Cooper became pastor of St. Jude’s on July 28, 1993, after serving as pastor at St. Joseph’s Parish in Squamish, B.C. He had served in various capacities in the archdiocese as a priest for 8 years.
Father Cooper’s first day at St. Jude’s Parish was an auspicious one as it happened to be a Wednesday and, as usual, the parish was celebrating a novena mass to St. Jude. He was astonished to discover the church nearly filled to capacity with people from all over the Lower Mainland. They had come because of their devotion to God and to St. Jude, hoping for help in their needs. As a priest, he was used to seeing Vancouver Catholic churches filled with people on Sundays, but certainly not on Wednesdays! Father Cooper was quite impressed by the devotion and prayerfulness of the people. He felt St. Jude’s was a wonderful place to serve as a priest, and considered himself very fortunate indeed to be part of the community’s simplicity of faith. Father Cooper’s pastorate turned out to be a rather short one as he was reassigned to Oregon in July, 1994.
1993: Pastor at St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church in Squamish, BC (CCCD)
1992: Pastor at St. Ann’s Roman Catholic Church in Aldergrove, BC (CCCD)
1991-1992: Pastor at St. Ann’s (now St. Joachim & Ann), Aldergrove, BC (online – external link)
1991: address for St.Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church in Langley, BC (Parish priest Father J. Comey) (CCCD)
1987: taking Kathleen Taylor to motels (M)
1986: assisting at Holy Rosary Cathedral, Vancouver, BC. (M)
counselling 16-year-old Kathleen Taylor in cathedral offices beside Holy Rosary Cathedral (M)
1986: ORDAINED (CCCD)
1984-1985: vocations director or associate director for the Archdiocese of Vancouver, BC (this information listing Father Cooper as one of those “who have prayed and worked so hard for our current vocations in the Archdiocese of Vancouver” was once on the Archdiocese of Vancouver’s website. The entire section has been expunged. The link to Directors is still there, but it redirects to the Home page. This is what shows on the google search:
View a list of past vocation directors and assistant directors who have prayed and worked so hard for our current vocations in the Archdiocese of Vancouver. … Fr. Damien Cooper. 1984-1985. Fr. Leo Strong, 1984. Fr. Craig Scott. 1980-1983 …
1985: chaplain at Camp Latona on Gambier Island (M)
Woman seeks damages for alleged sexual abuse by Vancouver priest
The Vancouver Sun
14 December 2012
By Gordon Hoekstra, Vancouver Sun December 14, 2012
Vancouver’s Holy Rosary Cathedral. A B.C. woman filed a civil suit Thursday in Vancouver seeking damages for alleged sexual abuse by a priest when she was a teenager in the 1980s. Both the priest, Lawrence Dean Cooper, also known as Father Damian, and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vancouver are named in the notice of claim.
Photograph by Steve Bosch, PNG
A B.C. woman filed a civil suit Thursday in Vancouver seeking damages for alleged sexual abuse by a priest when she was a teenager in the 1980s.
Both the priest, Lawrence Dean Cooper, also known as Father Damian, and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vancouver are named in the notice of claim.
The Vancouver archdiocese does not dispute the woman’s general claims, and said Thursday the church “regrets how she was drawn into a sexual relationship with the priest.”
Vancouver archdiocese spokesman Paul Schratz said Cooper was “removed from the ministry” after the woman disclosed the abuse in 1994. Schratz said this meant he was not able to work as a priest anywhere in the world. However, Schratz said, Cooper went on to work for years as an associate pastor at the New York Diocese of Rockville Centre.
In the notice of claim, Kathleen Taylor says she first met Cooper in 1985 as a 15-year-old when he was acting as chaplain at Camp Latona on Gambier Island, when she was attending a leadership retreat.
She started seeing the priest, who was ordained in 1986, for counselling as a 16-year-old Grade 11 student after school at the Roman Catholic Cathedral offices next to Holy Rosary Cathedral in Vancouver.
Soon afterwards, he was giving her “prolonged embraces” after the counselling sessions.
Then Cooper began driving her home and having long talks with her. By 1987, when she was 17, he was taking her to motels and having sex with her, according to her notice of claim.
In 1992, Taylor broke off contact with Cooper, according to the court documents.
Taylor is seeking damages for sexual exploitation and/or sexual assaults because she says she has suffered psychological damage.
She is seeking general, aggravated, punitive and special damages, as well as loss of past and future earnings.
In an interview, Taylor said that when she came forward with her story to the Vancouver archdiocese in 1994, she did not go to the police because she trusted the church and then-archbishop Adam Exner to ensure Cooper would not be in a position to abuse other girls.
She said she has come forward with her story now because she is finally comfortable to go public with it. She chose a civil suit rather than going to the police because, she said, she feels she has more control in a civil proceeding.
“I was afraid to tell my story. I was carrying a shame,” said Taylor. “So, part of what I’m trying to do by sharing my story is to put that shame back to the church’s leaders where it belongs.”
Schratz, the Vancouver Catholic archdiocese spokesman, said while the church does not agree with every detail of Taylor’s interpretation of the events, it agrees she was wronged by the priest.
“I can say without any hesitation that what happened to Miss Taylor was absolutely tragic. And that we obviously deeply regret how she was drawn into a sexual relationship with the priest,” said Schratz.
“By any definition it’s wrong, it’s hurtful. And so we obviously extend our deepest apologies to her and her family, recognizing that may seem woefully inadequate.”
Now, the church will go to court to try to resolve what is the appropriate compensation for Taylor, said Schratz.
Although all the details are not clear because it was 18 years ago that the abuse was reported, Schratz said the church took steps to ensure Cooper could do no more harm, including counselling and removing him from being a priest.
However, Schratz said that after Cooper’s eight-year tenure at the Vancouver archdiocese, he went to the Parish of St. Hugh of Lincoln in Huntington Station, N.Y., in 1995. The Vancouver archdiocese had nothing to do with him going there, Schratz said.
Cooper then served as an associate pastor in the Diocese of Rockville Centre for almost six years and was assigned to Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Lindenhurst, N.Y. before being let go, said Schratz.
It’s not clear exactly what Cooper’s duties were in New York, but Schratz said an associate pastor is normally a priest.
There’s no record the New York diocese checked back with the Vancouver archdiocese about Cooper’s record, which would have shown he could not be a priest, said Schratz.
Cooper is believed to be living in the U.S., but Schratz did not know where.
When Taylor approached the church in 1994, she was provided with funding for counselling and living costs while she pursued a postgraduate degree in the U.S., noted Schratz. (Taylor acknowledged the church paid for counselling for a period, but declined to discuss the funding in detail because of the civil suit.)
Schratz said the church did not go to police with Taylor’s claim of sexual abuse out of respect for her privacy.
He noted that when Taylor came forward, she was an adult and was accompanied by her brother, a lawyer.
“The practice at the time would have been to advise her if she wished to bring the matter to the police she was absolutely free to do so,” he said.
Cooper served in various capacities in the Vancouver archdiocese, including as pastor at St. Joseph’s in Squamish and at St. Jude’s in Vancouver.
Exner, who was Vancouver’s archbishop when Cooper was removed from being a priest, had been asked in 1992 to develop a national church protocol for dealing with sex abuse issues.
Under guidelines his committee developed, Exner said at the time that Canadian Catholic Church officials concluded they must “fully cooperate” with police when they receive sex allegations against clergy.
With files from Douglas Todd and Chris Reynolds