Please note PJs post
There will be NO ‘Father John Sullivan” trial in Sudbury next week. Those who were planning to attend please note that there was an out-of-court settlement at the 11th hour. There will be NO trial.
PJ, I am happy for you and relieved. I never like seeing victims head into the lion’s den. However, if I am to be truly honest, there is a little part of me that is disappointed: in Canada an out of court settlement generally means a gag order, therefore all documentation related to diocesan cover-ups and tap dancing and so will never see the light of day.
I struggle with my feelings on this. There has to be a way to ensure release of documents in these cases. There should be transparency from the dioceses and bishops and so on. They should be jumping at the bit to be honest with us. No more secrets. They just shouldn’t be allowed to keep things under lock and key.
You know PJ that I don’t say this to lay a guilt trip or anything. That’s not it at all. I truly am relieved for you and happy that it’s finally ‘over.’ But, those who know me know that I do wrestle with this, and constantly wonder what can be done in a civil suit to both avoid putting victims through the ordeal of a trial and put the diocese’s feet to the fire. I believe that all Roman Catholics have a right to know what has been happening behind closed diocesan doors for the past 50 years.
Any ideas, anyone? Help me think it through.
Final comment. Yes, that was indeed Father Sullivan who died. Please keep his many victims in your prayers.
Enough for now,
PS I just spotted an article in the Sudbury Star regarding the lawsuit. I can’t post it right now so will cute and past here. Remember, contrary to the report, the trial will NOT proceed on Monday:
Former altar boy in Sudbury suing priest, church
A now retired Roman Catholic priest preyed on him when he served as his altar boy, a Sudbury man alleges in a $3-million lawsuit that goes to trial on Monday.
The plaintiff, known only as “P.J.J.,” is seeking damages for pain and suffering, emotional and/or mental distress and aggravation from Rev. John Edward Sullivan and the Roman Catholic Episcopal Corporation of the Diocese of Sault Ste. Marie,
The plaintiff alleges the sex abuse occurred when he served as an altar boy under Sullivan’s guidance.
None of the allegations contained in the lawsuit have been proven in a court of law.
Sullivan, who at one time served at the long-closed Falconbridge Canadian Forces Base in the Hanmer area, is a convicted sex offender.
The lawsuit is being led by Ledroit Beckett Litigation Lawyers of London, Ont., which has been involved in lawsuits against Sullivan, another former Sudbury priest Bernard Cloutier, and the diocese.
Cloutier was convicted in 2005 of sexually assaulting four boys in the 1970s.
Sullivan is now about 90 and living in Quebec. He was convicted in 1992 of having committed sexual offences against three brothers in the late 1960s while chaplain at Falconbridge Canadian Forces Base.
He was also convicted in 1990 of numerous offences of sexual assault on boys in several communities, including Sault Ste. Marie, Wawa and North Bay.
Sullivan was ordained in 1958.
The lawsuit states the diocese was Sullivan’s employer at the time.
“The Diocese had a duty of care to the Diocese’s parishioners owing to the close proximity of its priests to the lives of the parishioners as well as to the level of trust and faith which the parishioners and others extended to the Diocese, its priests and employees. Sullivan also owed a duty of care to the plaintiff by the nature of his position as a parish priest.”
The lawsuit alleges Sullivan used his position of “ecclesiastical authority” to develop a close and personal relationship with the plaintiff.
“Sullivan used his position as a parish priest of the Diocese, which was a position of authority, to develop a close personal relationship with the Plaintiff when he was young. The relationship that Sullivan developed with the Plaintiff, under the guise of a priest-practitioner relationship, allowed Sullivan an opportunity to be alone with the Plaintiff and to exert total control over him, prey upon him and sexually abuse him.”
The lawsuit alleges Sullivan fondled and masturbated P.J.J., and committed other sexual actions.
The suit alleges the priest engaged “in a pattern of behaviour which was intended to make the Plaintiff feel that he was special in the eyes of Sullivan, the Church and God.”
The trial is scheduled to run all week.