“Sex assault victim resists gag order” & related articles

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Raymond Jacob says sharing his story is more important than cash

by Jody Porter, CBC News

Posted: Apr 4, 2013 8:25 AM ET

Last Updated: Apr 4, 2013 8:24 AM ET

'I would have liked to see our story be heard and told, that would have been something,' says Raymond C. Jacob. Instead going to court got him a settlement and a gag-order.

‘I would have liked to see our story be heard and told, that would have been something,’ says Raymond C. Jacob. Instead going to court got him a settlement and a gag-order. (Jody Porter/CBC)

The victim of a childhood sexual assault in northwestern Ontario is sharing his story for the first time, despite a court order meant to keep him silent.

Raymond C. Jacob, from Webequie First Nation, is one of hundreds of victims of former Anglican priest and boy scout leader Ralph Rowe.

Former Anglican priest and boy scout leader Ralph Rowe has been convicted of more than 50 sex crimes.

Former Anglican priest and boy scout leader Ralph Rowe has been convicted of more than 50 sex crimes. (Courtesy of the Surrey-North Delta Leader)

Rowe travelled through remote First Nations in northern Ontario during the 1970s and early 1980s preying on young boys. He’s been convicted of more than 50 sex crimes and more victims continue to come forward.

Still, Jacob said many people, especially elders with strong religious beliefs, deny the abuse.

“People have to come to terms with the fact that it did happen on the reserve and to their kids,” Jacob said. “A lot of people are in denial, especially the old folks. The old folks would say ‘ahh, don’t talk about this person because he is a priest and he didn’t do things, he was a good person.’ Some people tell their kids not to say anything about that. But it did happen to us.”

Silence comes at a cost

Jacob has been silent because of a confidentiality clause in a 1998 settlement agreement made after several men sued the Anglican church and the boy scouts for the abuse.

But that silence comes at too high a price, he said.

“I want to be a positive person to other people so they can come out saying that it happened to them too,” Jacob said. “Because a lot of kids go through with suicide and they’re always asking, ‘why are we losing our youth and people?’ You have to break the circle if you want to move on.”

Jacob said he never wanted to sign the deal that bought his silence more than a decade ago.

“I would have liked to see our story be heard and told, that would have been something,” Jacob said. “I would have probably liked that more than taking the money.”

Some American states limit ‘gag-orders’

Jacob said the claimants were supposed to get about $100,000 each, but once legal fees were paid, they received less than half that.

“I just blew it on being a big shot,” he said. “Buying stuff for people, going to bars and buying drugs, everything, because I didn’t like that money that we were given.”

‘“I used to blame myself and blame my parents, if this didn’t happen, I wouldn’t be like this.’—Raymond Jacob

For breaching the confidentiality agreement, Jacob could be ordered to pay the money back.

He says he’s not worried about that, but London Ontario-based lawyer Rob Talach is.

Talach’s client list includes many sexual assault victims. He said perpetrators benefit from confidentiality clauses, while victims suffer in keeping their silence.

“The government needs to get involved here,” Talach said. “There is a Victims’ Bill of Rights already. You simply amend it to add a provision that says in cases of civil lawsuits involving crime, gag orders are not allowed.”

Ontario’s Attorney General’s office does not have any plans to change the Victims’ Bill of Rights. A spokesperson said, generally, people involved in civil suits should be free to negotiate the terms of settlement.

Talking brings healing

Jacob said after the lawsuit he felt silence was the only option, but he has since found that he needs to talk about the abuse in order to heal. For years, Jacob said he buried the pain with alcohol and drugs. He has lost a leg and several fingers to diabetes, and recently had to move to Thunder Bay to receive dialysis.

Still, he said, sharing his story makes him stronger.

Here’s what Jacob said happened to him when he was about eight-years-old, living in Wunnumun Lake First Nation:

“I guess Ralph approached my parents to see if I wanted to join boy scouts and sure enough I did. We would have trips, outings and sleep overs.

“Most of the abuse happened at night time at the house where Ralph was living. I remember the first time when Ralph abused me because I was sleeping with the other boys and he came and took me from one of the rooms and took me to his room. I remember clearly what he did and I remember what I did to him too. It’s hard to deal with the abuse sometimes.

“I used to blame myself and blame my parents, if this didn’t happen, I wouldn’t be like this. Well eventually we found out that Ralph is just sick. He’s a pedophile.”

______________________________

Boy scout abuse victims seek justice

New allegations of sex-crimes committed by Ralph Rowe

CBC News

Posted: Oct 25, 2011 10:24 AM ET

Last Updated: Oct 25, 2011 10:36 AM ET

Ralph Rowe, a former Anglican priest, pilot and Scoutmaster, molested dozens of boys in northern communities in Manitoba and Ontario. Investigators suspect Rowe molested more than a 100 victims over the years, while mental health authorities in the north say the tally could be as high as 500. Ralph Rowe, a former Anglican priest, pilot and Scoutmaster, molested dozens of boys in northern communities in Manitoba and Ontario. Investigators suspect Rowe molested more than a 100 victims over the years, while mental health authorities in the north say the tally could be as high as 500.

More than a dozen men who say they are victims of sexual abuse at the hands of a former priest and boy scout leader in northwestern Ontario are pursuing criminal charges. But it’s not clear whether they will proceed to court.

The men said they were abused by Ralph Rowe, who lived and travelled in remote First Nations during the 1970s and 80s. The 72-year-old has already been convicted of more than 50 counts of sex-related crimes. His lawyer made a deal when Rowe pleaded guilty to some of those crimes back in 1994, so that Rowe wouldn’t be sent to jail again on similar charges. But other men continue to come forward regularly with fresh allegations.

‘This guy is walking around free …’—36-year-old man who CBC News agreed not to identify

“This guy is walking around free, you know what I mean, while we’ve suffered through our lives,” said a 36-year-old man who CBC News agreed not to identify over concerns his remarks could influence any future court case.

“He’s done a little time, but it’s nothing compared to the damage he’s done. People tell me, ‘why don’t you forgive [Rowe].’ I can’t, because I can’t forgive myself for the things I’ve done. I’ve served time since I was eight years old with the damage he’s done. It’s a horrible thing what he did. I live with it every day.”

A spokesperson for the Attorney General’s office in Ontario told CBC “the Crown has not made a decision with respect to prosecuting any future charges” against Rowe.

‘For the men’s sake, they want their day in court’

But a retired O.P.P. officer who works with the victims said some of the men who have made new allegations against Rowe have already received letters from the Crown saying the charges won’t be pursued in court.

“Their [criminal court] option is closed off somewhat because of an agreement that the crown attorney and Mr. Rowe’s lawyer made back in 1994,” Don Hewitt said.

Rowe was convicted of 29 counts of sex-related crimes against 16 victims in 1994. CBC News obtained the April 1994 letter from assistant crown attorney John O’Hallaran to Rowe’s then-lawyer Robert Young.

“I have no further authority to bind the Crown not to proceed on any future, similar allegation,” O’Hallaran wrote.

“I do, however, make the representation that if substantially similar allegations against your client arise in the future in the Kenora District that those matters will be dealt with by way of concurrent sentences.”

The letter has been used in sentencing decisions in subsequent criminal convictions against Rowe in 2005 and 2009.

Hewitt said it’s not unusual for victims of sexual abuse to take years to come forward. A total of 130 men have already been identified by a support group funded by the Attorney General as victims of Rowe. Hewitt said new men ask for help from the group each week and he expects that to continue for years to come. He said the court process is an important part of their healing.

“For the men’s sake, they want their day in court, because that’s really their first vindication when they hear the judge pronounce a sentence of guilty, that anyone has really believed them.”

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Scouts lawsuits over prolific pedophile quietly settled

Ralph Rowe abused boys in northern Ont., Man.

CBC News

Posted: Oct 24, 2011 4:16 AM CT

Last Updated: Oct 24, 2011 4:56 PM CT

At least two lawsuits against the Boy Scouts of Canada over a scout leader who molested dozens of boys in northern Ontario and Manitoba First Nations communities have been quietly settled out of court, CBC News has learned.

The civil suits pertain to Ralph Rowe, a former Anglican priest, pilot and Scoutmaster. He’s one of Canada’s most prolific pedophiles, but not well known outside of the northern communities where he used his positions of authority to prey on boys.

Ralph Rowe molested dozens of boys in northern communities in Manitoba and Ontario.

Ralph Rowe molested dozens of boys in northern communities in Manitoba and Ontario. (Courtesy of the Surrey-North Delta Leader)

Investigators suspect Rowe molested more than a 100 victims over the years, while mental health authorities in the north say the tally could be as high as 500.

The two settlement agreements contain confidentiality clauses that prevent the plaintiffs from publicly discussing the settlement amount.

A CBC investigation uncovered 13 civil cases against Scouts Canada across the country, including the two related to Rowe, where out-of-court settlements involving confidentiality clauses were signed. In at least one case, the victim is forbidden from discussing any details about the abuse.

The two lawsuits related to Rowe, filed by 39 plaintiffs in total, are among the largest.

Rowe joined the Scouts in the ‘50s and spent decades with the movement.

Rowe has been convicted of more than 50 charges of child sex abuse that happened during the 1970s and ‘80s, when he was an Anglican priest flying into First Nations to conduct church services, organize youth groups and lead Boy Scout outings.

The Rowe-related lawsuit settlements don’t forbid victims from speaking about the abuse they suffered, only the amount of money they received.

Victims feel silenced

Rob Talach, a London, Ont.,-based lawyer who specializes in child sex-abuse cases, says confidentiality agreements protect the institution and the perpetrator.

“It does nothing for victims in general and really harms society in the long run,” he says.

Talach says victims feel forced to sign the confidentiality agreements at the end of a difficult road through the court system.

Rowe has been convicted of more than 50 charges of child sex abuse that happened during the 1970s and ‘80s, when he was an Anglican priest flying into First Nations to conduct church services, organize youth groups and lead Boy Scout outings.

Rowe joined the Scouts in the ‘50s and spent decades with the movement.

But CBC’s Jody Porter in Thunder Bay says that victims she spoke to largely interpreted the agreements to mean that they can’t talk about anything relating to the case, including the abuse.

About 20 men plan to meet this week in Thunder Bay to prepare for new set of criminal allegations against Rowe. They, too, have been told not to discuss their case in public, in case their words could be used against them in court.

Porter said some victims feel the imposed silence continues to send the message that there’s something to be ashamed about and also makes it more difficult to heal.

Pain haunts community

Ralph Winter, who was allegedly abused by Rowe as a teenager in the early ‘80s, is one of the few who can speak freely about his allegations because he’s never gone to civil or criminal court.

But even so, Winter says speaking out is hard. Winter said it felt physically painful when he first told a gathering in Kenora, Ont., five years ago about the abuse.Split Lake, Man., is one of the many northern communities where Rowe abused boys.

Split Lake, Man., is one of the many northern communities where Rowe abused boys. (CBC)

“It was hard talking about it before but I knew I had to keep talking about it and keep bringing up what happened to me and how it affected my life,” said Winter.

Winter works as an alcohol and drug abuse counselor in northern Ontario’s Wunnumin Lake First Nation, one of the communities where Rowe molested many boys.

Rowe started several scouting groups in the Wunnumin Lake community. He abused boys on scout camping trips, church outings, at his cabin and even at an out-of-province Scout jamboree.

In northern Manitoba’s Split Lake community, where Rowe also molested many boys, no victims were willing to speak about the abuse.

But Ernest Spence, who lives there but was not a victim, says the pain of the abuse continues to haunt the community.

“This really hurt a lot of people,” he says. “People started sniffing to forget the past. It changed the personality of most of my friends.”

“He was a priest and I trusted him and he was a likeable person,” said Spence, who was nine years old when Rowe started a scout troop in Split Lake. “He was a pilot too. He used to give us rides and all that, show us slides at his house.”

But soon Spence says he witnessed questionable goings-on, such as “taking off his clothes and telling us it was natural [and] showers. He wanted to have showers all the time.”

Convicted in 1980s

In 1988, Rowe was convicted of 10 counts of sexual abuse and buggery relating to his time in Split Lake. It was just one of a set of criminal charges, totaling over 50, that were laid against Rowe over the years.

In 1994, Rowe pleaded guilty to 26 sex-related charges against more than a dozen boys in Ontario. In 2007 and 2009, he was found guilty of similar charges.

Among the allegations in the lawsuits against the Boy Scouts of Canada is that the organization failed to make appropriate inquiries that would have revealed earlier allegations of sexual misconduct. Boy Scouts denied all the allegations made in the statement of claim.

Though victims named in the civil lawsuits wouldn’t speak, the court documents reveal that many of them say they’ve been plagued by drug and alcohol dependencies, failed marriages and suicide attempts. Some have even struggled with sexually deviant behaviour themselves.

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