A time to rejoice, and time to weep

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The following news is cause to both rejoice and weep:


Jury Punishes Catholic Church 

Today a Toronto civil jury delivered a judgment in the total sum of $2,570,181 which included $500,000 in punitive damages against the Basilian Fathers of Toronto (“Basilians”). The Basilians are a Roman Catholic Religious Order of priests who operate on three continents, including all of Canada and the United States, with their headquarters located in Toronto, Ontario.

The case involved the historical sexual abuse of Rod MacLeod, a student at St. Charles College high school in Sudbury from 1963-1967. The abuser was Father Hodgson Marshall, then a Basilian priest who in 2011 was ultimately convicted of abusing 17 young people over his 38 year career. Shockingly, it was disclosed in the trial that the Basilians had in fact received at least three complaints of sexual misconduct by Father Marshall before he was assigned to St. Charles College. The Basilian pattern of response to such complaints appeared to simply be to transfer Marshall. The plaintiff, Mr. Rod MacLeod, now 68 years of age responded to the verdict by saying “I hope this outcome will cause the Basilians to rethink their position on how they treat sex abuse victims; stop listening to their legal experts and listen to their hearts and the teachings of Jesus Christ”.

Punitive damages are a rare and exceptional device only used by the Courts to note reprehensible conduct which offends society’s sense of decency. The goal of punitive damages is to punish, denounce and deter. This represents the largest award of punitive damages against the Catholic Church in Canada and is the first time that a jury of average citizens has judged the Church’s handling of sexual abusive priests. It marks a turning point for the Church in Canada who to date have only been required to pay for the damage they caused victims but have never been fined or punished for their institutional conduct and complicity.

The jury heard evidence that Father Marshall who served in Rochester, Toronto, Windsor, Sudbury, and Sault Ste. Marie was reported a total of SIX times over his career but was allowed to continue in his role as a priest and teacher. The reports of sexual abuse of boys started in 1947, occurred twice in the 1950’s, twice in the 1970’s and again in 1989 around the time of his retirement from teaching. A further report in 1996 was the most disturbing. Father Marshall, then ministering on the Caribbean island of St. Lucia, ultimately admitted to his Basilian superiors that he had abused upwards of almost 90 boys over his career. The Basilian response was limited with no effort at outreach to the boys, no involvement of police and no publication of the fact that one of their own had left such a wake of devastation across the land.

The hope is that this outcome will motivate change within the Catholic Church.

The media contact person for this matter is Robert Talach who can be reached at

(519) 639-2807 (c) or rtalach@beckettinjurylawyers.com.

Imagine.  Marshall told his superior that he had sexually abused in the order of 90 boys!  Ninety!!!

And, imagine.  By the time a young Rod MacLeod first encountered Hod  at St. Charles College in Sudbury Hod had been reported for sexual misconduct no less than three times.    Three times!  And, they put him right back with those young boys.

Obviously there was not an iota of concern for the fate of those unfortunate boys.  That I do believe is a given.   But, from I purely spiritual perspective I wonder why was there no  concern for the state of the soul of their fellow priest?  What I mean by that is, why was there not a inkling that in putting Hod back in the midst of or in the company of boys  they were in fact deliberately  placing him in a occasion of sin?  Deliberately.  If they had an ounce of concern for the state of Hod’s soul surely they wouldn’t put him in the company of young boys?  But they did.  Time and time again.  Truth be told, it seems they had as little concern for the state of Hod’s soul as they did for the souls of the young boys on whom Hod was allowed to prey.

I don’t understand.  I really and truly do not understand the minds of Roman Catholic priests who constantly recycled Hod Marshall from school to school.

What does it take?  What is it about the biblical millstones these clergy did not and do not understand?  Or, as Rod MacLeod is quoted as saying above:  “I hope this outcome will cause the Basilians to rethink their position on how they treat sex abuse victims; stop listening to their legal experts and listen to their hearts and the teachings of Jesus Christ”.


Well done Rod MacLeod for persevering and seeing this through to the bitter end.

Well done all you victims who testified at trial.

Well done Rob Talach.

Truly, it is a time to rejoice, and a time to weep.

Enough for now,


PS:  The judge at the three-week jury trial was Anthony Gans.  The Basilian defence comprised of Chris Blom and Susan Adam-Metzler.

It was trial by jury:  2 male and four female (in civil cases there are six jurors).


This entry was posted in Accused or charged, Basilians, Bishops, Canada, Clerical sexual predators, Scandal, Trials and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to A time to rejoice, and time to weep

  1. Patrick McMahon says:

    What a perfect heading for this story Sylvia. I sat in that courtroom and wept many a day, especially while having to watch that convicted pedophile admit his crimes on video. And to hear repeatedly in court the consensus agreement on his admission of the abuse of “two to three boys a year from the early 1950s to 19179” and “no other incidents since then” when the courts know full well his criminal convictions in court included multiple instances of abuse occurring in the 1980s with multiple victims of which I was but one.
    So yes, I wept. When the verdict was read I wept in sadness for all the pain, in relief at seeing some furtherance of justice against the true criminals – the ENABLERS, at bearing witness to turning a very significant corner in what for me has been a ten-year pursuit of truth and accountability, and lastly at hearing the powerful words of denunciation the jury read out. Words directed at the basilian order accompanied by the jury’s monetary and verbal reprimand for the basilian’s actions, their failures, their lack of respect, concern, or ministry for those truly in need – children such as myself who should never have been exposed to that monster.
    Congratulations and well done Rod. It was my honour to stand in that courtroom and observe your victory, your strength, and your example. I rejoice and stand with you as your friend always.
    Patrick McMahon
    VICTOR over child-abusers and their enablers!

  2. Sylvia says:

    Yes Patrick, I am sure that it was an extremely emotional few days for those of you who were in the courtroom.

    How I wish I had had time to sit in for even a few days. For the time being I will depend on you Patrick, and all of those who were there, to fill us all in.

    It’s been a long journey for all of you. And, my goodness Patrick, has it really been ten long years since you started the ball rolling?

    And eight years since the Windsor trial?

    And now, finally, all of these years downstream, thanks to Rod, the public will learn of the magnitude of the cover-up, and of Hod’s Basilian superiors’ total disregard for the safety and well-being of the children entrusted to their care, and of the depth of Hod’s depravity, and of the Basilian’s abject failure to exhibit an iota of concern for those children who (i) were willfully exposed to this known molester and (ii) may be enduring or had definitivley endured sexual abuse at the hands of Hod Marshall. As for the concern these clergy had or should have had regarding the salvation of the souls of every boy with whom Hod came in contact , well, sadly, it seems to me to have been non existent.

    The enormity of the scandal and sacrilege is mind boggling.

  3. James Victor says:

    Paradigm Shift in CSA Cases

    This is enormous in terms of the impact for civil attorneys and their clients involved in the pursuit of justice in CSA cases.

    In my own case, the teacher involved (as I learned at the criminal trial) was moved from school to school throughout a 30 year career. Sometimes he lasted a few months. I believe it was 15 or more schools/boards in 30 years. Talk about a quiet shuffle.

    He has since been convicted in tree cases, acquitted in two and another two cases pending. Expect many more to come.

    Attorneys have a much stronger hand to play on behalf of their clients than ever before and that can’t be a bad thing.

  4. A Victim/Survivor says:

    I feel like there is some vindication after all. Knowing that the priests and the church will actually be held responsible for their abuse and complicity has made me a little stronger now. I am more than 2 years into my lawsuit with the church, I am waning and feeling worse and worse, wanting to just call it quits, I am losing my wife and family and my mind, therapy has helped a little bit but with more than 50 sessions already completed I can honestly say that I do not feel like I am getting significantly better. The results of this trial gives me some hope, knowing that the church will have to sit up and take every single case seriously and not just throw some money at the survivors and have them sign a non disclosure agreement, and feel like it and others will just go away. The church’s bottom line is what they truly care about, so if it is a settlement like this man got is what it will take for the church to STOP these monsters from hurting another child, then so be it. This man, Rod, is strong, it has taken years and years and he remains strong, I only hope that I could have a tenth of what he has inside. I don’t want to lose my family, I want an end to this before that happens. I need a chance to remedy these issues. Thank you Rod, thank you for giving others like me, more hope and more strength to go to the end. Also thank you Sylvia for reporting this on your site, I hope other survivors of any priest can come forward, knowing that there is hope and that help is available. RT

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