Bromley: Father Ronald Bromley

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Ronald M Bromley

priest Diocese of Grand Falls Newfoundland. Ordained 1963.

I hope I have this right – it’s a little convoluted and I’m still sorting it out:

1998:   31 charges  related to  sex abuse by nine boys, the charges included buggery, gross indecency and sexual assault – charges dated from 1959 to 1984.   Some charges were withdrawn before trial, he was acquitted of othersv – CONVICTED on 11 offences against four of his nine accusers.    2001 conviction appealed – ordered back to trial on the 11 charges.    Back to trial in 2002.   CONVICTED on one charge of gross indecency.  Conviction appealed.  The 2002 conviction was OVERTURNED in 2004 by the Newfoundland Court of Appeal.

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19 April 2013:  Province liable in case involving boys’ home

09 April 2013: Rich vs Bromley Estate 2013, Reasons for Judgment (Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador Court of Appeal)

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The following dates and information are drawn from available Canadian Catholic Church Directories (CCCD), media (M),  and The Story of the Roman Catholic Dioceses of Harbour Grace & Grand Falls Newfoundland (HGGF).  Additional time-lines will added as information becomes available.

September 2004:   Died in a car accident, age 68. (M)

Conviction overturned by Court of Appeal

2002:  address Chancery office, Diocese of Grand Falls (Chancellor Brian Dunn)  (CCCD)

retried. GUILTY on one charge f gross indecency.  Conviction appealed

2001:  conviction appealed – ordered back to trial (Bishop Martin Currie, installed as Bishop of Grand Falls, January 2001)

1999:  address Chancery office, Diocese of Grand Falls (Chancellor Brian Dunn) (seat vacant) (CCCD)

 1998: address Chancery office, Diocese of Grand Falls (Chancellor Brian Dunn) (Bishop Faber MacDonald) (CCCD)

July 1998:  GUILTY on 11 offences involving four of his nine accusers (M)

1992-97:  Pastor, St. Patrick’s RC Church, Brigus, Newfoundland (HGGF)

1997:  Charged (M)

1997:  pastor, St. Patrick’s RC Church, Brigus, Newfoundland, with mission at Marysvale (CCCD)

in charge of diocesan Ministry to Priests Program (CCCD)

 in charge of Lay Leadership for the diocese (CCCD)

contact for diocesan Presbyterium (CCCD)

1996:  pastor, St. Patrick’s RC Church, Brigus, Newfoundland, with mission at Marysvale (CCCD)

in charge of diocesan Ministry to Priests Program (CCCD)

1995: address for Chancery Office, Diocese of Grand Falls, Newfoundland (CCCD) (Chancellor Sr. Sarah Moore pbvm, jcl)

in charge of diocesan Ministry to Priests Program (CCCD) 

in charge of diocesan Religious Education (CCCD)

1994: pastor, St. Patrick’s RC Church, Brigus, Newfoundland, with mission at Marysvale (CCCD)

in charge of diocesan Ministry to Priests Program (CCCD)

in charge of diocesan Religious Education (CCCD)

RCMP investigation into allegations of abuse at Whitbourne Boy’s Home commenced (M).

1993:  pastor, St. Patrick’s RC Church, Brigus, Newfoundland, with mission at Marysvale (CCCD)

in charge of diocesan Ministry to Priests Program (CCCD)

in charge of diocesan Total Stewardship Program (A program of Faith Renewal for Parishes) (CCCD)

1992:  Pastor, Sacred Heart RC Church, Bishop’s Falls, Newfoundland with missions in Botwood and Fortune Harbour, Newfoundland (CCCD)

in charge of diocesan Ministry to Priests Program (CCCD)

in charge of diocesan Total Stewardship Program (A program of Faith Renewal for Parishes) (CCCD)

1988-1992: Pastor, St. Theresa’s RC Church, Buchan’s, Newfoundland (HGGF)

1988-92:  Pastor Sacred Heart RC Church, Bishop’s Falls (HGGF)

1991: Pastor, Sacred Heart RC Church, Bishop’s Falls, Newfoundland with missions in Botwood and Fortune Harbour, Newfoundland (CCCD)

in charge of diocesan Ministry to Priests Program (CCCD)

1983-88:  Rector, Immaculate Conception Cathedral (HGGF)

1985-86:  Rector, Immaculate Conception Cathedral, Grand Falls, Newfoundland, with mission at Fortune Harbour, Newfoundland (Bishop Faber MacDonald) (CCCD)

1979-84: Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Norris Arm, Newfoundland (HGGF)

1971-79:  Pastor, St. Alphonsus RC Church, Whitbourne, Newfoundland (HGGF)

1971-72:  not listed in index (CCCD)

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03 February 2011: N.L. not legally responsible for alleged sex abuse by priest

02 February 2011:  Off the hook

20 March 2002:  Bromley traded cigarettes for sex: witness (Trial 2)

15 March 2002:  Complainant testifies priest abused him (Trial 2)

13 March 2002:  Witness faces accused (Trial 2)

1998:  Witness says priest had sex with him on camping trip (Trial 1)

25 June 1998: Witness says priest tried to have sex with him (Trial 1)

18 June 1998:  May have only dreamed assaults, witness now says (Trial 1)

12 August 1998: Priest to sentenced today for sexually abusing boys (Trial 1)

24 June 1998: Witnesses wanted to keep sex abuse hush hush (Trial 1)

09 April 1998: Priest faces more charges

20 October 1997 (The Advertizer):  RCMP lays more charges against priest (The Advertizer)

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Abuse victims continuing legal fight

The Western Star

Published on Febuary 19th, 2009

Rosie Gillingham RSS Feed
The Telegram

They’ve settled with the Roman Catholic Church, but three former residents of the Whitbourne Boys Home are continuing their legal fight against both Father Ronald Bromley’s estate and the provincial government.

“Bromley committed the abuse …,” said Jack Lavers, the lawyer representing the men in a civil lawsuit.

“And the government let the fox out of the hen house.”

The men, now in their 40s, say they suffered physical and sexual abuse at the hands of Bromley in the 1970s and ’80s while they lived at the youth rehabilitation facility and visited the priest’s cabin near Placentia Junction with him. 

ST. JOHN’S – They’ve settled with the Roman Catholic Church, but three former residents of the Whitbourne Boys Home are continuing their legal fight against both Father Ronald Bromley’s estate and the provincial government.

“Bromley committed the abuse …,” said Jack Lavers, the lawyer representing the men in a civil lawsuit.

“And the government let the fox out of the hen house.”

The men, now in their 40s, say they suffered physical and sexual abuse at the hands of Bromley in the 1970s and ’80s while they lived at the youth rehabilitation facility and visited the priest’s cabin near Placentia Junction with him.

Bromley – who was parish priest at Whitbourne when several offences allegedly took place – died in 2004, but the men carried on with their case against his estate.

The suit also included claims against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Grand Falls and the provincial government (naming the minister of human resources and employment as the representative).

But once a settlement was reached with the church, the men agreed to drop the action against the diocese.

The amounts of the settlement are confidential as part of the agreement, Lavers said, and the diocese expresses no liability or admission of guilt.

The application to discontinue the civil action against the diocese was granted Tuesday by Justice Maureen Dunn in Newfoundland Supreme Court.

However, Lavers said the suits will continue against Bromley’s estate and the provincial government, since they held the most responsibility for the abuse.

Bromley was originally charged with 31 sex-related counts, including sexual assault, buggery, indecent assault and gross indecency, involving nine complainants – none of whom are involved in the current civil case. But he was eventually cleared of all charges – several were withdrawn, he was acquitted of others, and in May 2004 the Court of Appeal overturned a 2002 conviction on a remaining charge of gross indecency.

“But that has no bearing on this case at all,” Lavers pointed out.

“(Bromley) was never tried on our cases and even if he had been and was acquitted, it wouldn’t matter anyway, since there is a lower standard (of conviction) in civil action.”

The criminal standard for conviction is “beyond a reasonable doubt,” while in civil action, the standard is “balance of probability,” which is usually easier to prove.

Lavers said the provincial government deserves the most blame for the abuse.

“We feel the provincial Crown was the entity most responsible for the abuse by Bromley because all the boys were wards of the estate under the direction of Child Welfare. They were all in closed custody at Whitbourne,” he said.

“The people who operated Whitbourne had permission from the government of Newfoundland and Labrador to give Bromley access to these boys and to take them out (to his cabin).”

Lavers pointed out that the Bromley case differs from the cases involving two other disgraced priests – Father Kevin Bennett and the late Father James Hickey, who were convicted of numerous counts of sexual abuse – since there was no church involvement.

“These boys weren’t all necessarily Catholic. They were of all faiths,” Lavers said.

“But Bromley had standing written permission from higher-ups at Confederation Building to have access to the boys and to take them out of the facility, even though Bromley ceased to be a parish priest in Whitbourne.”

Lavers said the abuse has had a negative impact on the men’s lives.

Bill Collins, who represents the Bromley Estate, and Randy Piercey, who is representing the provincial government in this case, plan to challenge the allegations.

“We’re not entering into any agreement because we’re claiming no abuse took place …,” Collins told Transcontinental Media. “In our opinion, we have a valid defence.”

Lavers’ next step will be to file an application on behalf of one of the claimants for summary judgment, or an abbreviated process which he hopes will help avoid a trial.

The Telegram

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Whitbourne abuse cases can’t be tried together: court

Last Updated: Friday, February 9, 2007 | 9:36 AM NT

CBC News

The Newfoundland Supreme Court has ruled that a string of civil lawsuits involving physical and sexual abuse at a boys’ correctional facility cannot be tried together.

Twenty-two former residents of the former Whitbourne Boys Home are suing over abuse they said happened decades ago.

The suits name various parties. The Newfoundland and Labrador government is named in all of them. Most suits name now-deceased Roman Catholic priest Ronald Bromley and the Roman Catholic Episcopal Corp. of Grand Falls, which supervised Bromley.

One suit is against the Salvation Army, while two actions name two former employees at the Whitbourne Boys Home.

In a recent decision Justice James Adams rejected an application to have all of the cases heard at one time, noting that the actions are in various states of readiness for trial, and not all of the suits have common issues.

Adams ruled that the suits can be handled relatively expeditiously on an individual basis.

“The issues are not particularly complex,” he wrote.

“They relate to allegations of sexual and/or physical assaults occurring decades ago, in addition to allegations of vicarious liability, negligence and breach of fiduciary duty. While serious in nature, they are matters which have come before the court quite often in the past and the law is fairly well settled in respect of the issues raised.”

A key figure in many of the suits was Bromley, who provided pastoral care at Whitbourne Boys Home.

Bromley was killed in a September 2004 car accident. He had been convicted in 1998 on 31 counts of sexual assault, but subsequently was found not guilty after a second trial was ordered.

The Whitbourne Boys Home was replaced by a Newfoundland and Labrador Youth Centre, a correctional facility in Whitbourne for young offenders.

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Witness faces accused: First of four complainants testifies against priest

St. John’s Telegram

13 March 2002

Bonnie Belec

The first of four complainants accusing a Roman Catholic
priest of sexually abusing them when they were boys testified
Tuesday money is not the reason he came forward.

The man, whose name is banned from publication, said he wanted
closure when it came to Rev. Ronald Bromley and what he did to him
when he was a resident at the Whitbourne Boys Home during the late
1970s.

“I want that man to face what he did and go to jail. I don’t want
the money. I want my life back,” he said looking in Bromley’s
direction.

The man was responding to questions by defence lawyer Bob Simmonds,
who suggested he came forward in order to participate in a civil
action launched against his client.

The witness said he wasn’t the one who went looking for a civil
suit — it was the lawyers who came to visit him in the penitentiary
telling him to pursue it.

Bromley, 65, is on trial at Newfoundland Supreme Court on 11 counts
of sex-related offences against four former residents of the home.
The offences include gross indecency, indecent assault and buggery.
They allegedly occurred between 1974 and 1984.

Bromley was a parish priest in the Whitbourne-Placentia area and
paid visits to the home where the complainants spent part of their
childhood. He was charged with the offences in 1996 following an
RCMP investigation that began in 1994 into allegations of abuse at
the home.

This is Bromley’s second trial for sex-related offences. However,
Justice Keith Mercer has told the jury not to concern themselves
with the outcome of that trial or what led to this trial.

The witness told the jury Tuesday he was abused on two occasions by
Bromley, both times at the priest’s cabin in the Whitbourne area.

The details of the sexual acts were questioned by Simmonds under
cross-examination.

The man said he was by the pond fishing when Bromley came down and
told him he wanted to be taken care of like Bromley took care of him
weeks before.

The man said at that time Bromley performed oral sex on him.

He said he unbuttoned Bromley’s pants and pulled them down a little
and proceeded to masturbate him.

Simmonds said the man told police Bromley took his own pants down.
“Which is it?” he asked.

The witness said he wasn’t sure.

Simmonds went through a number of statements the man gave which
indicated Bromley may have been wearing his robe at the time.

Simmonds asked if the witness could tell the jury what Bromley was
wearing that day.

The man said he couldn’t say for sure. He said he knew he had his
robe on during one of the four times he was in his company but he
couldn’t pinpoint which time.

Simmonds asked him why he went with Bromley a second time, after
the first incident.

“I don’t know. I still ask myself that. I wanted to get out of
Whitbourne, maybe I misled him in some way. I don’t know,” he said.

Simmonds also focused on the man’s criminal record, which he
admitted was quite extensive.

His record spans more than 20 years and includes armed robbery,
fraud, break and entry, resisting arrest and mischief.

Crown prosecutor expects to call about 25 witnesses during the
course of the five-week trial.

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Lawsuit against priest put on hold until new trial held

Last Updated: Tuesday, January 30, 2001 | 6:33 PM ET

CBC News

Twenty-seven men suing a former priest will have to wait a little longer to get their day in court.Last week, a court of appeal judge ordered a new trial for Fr. Ronald Bromley. Bromley was convicted two years ago on sexual assault charges stemming from his time at the Whitbourne Boys’ Home.

The 27 men won’t have their lawsuit heard until Bromley’s new criminal trial is over.

“It affected my life. Mentally, physically it just ruined me.”

Bromley was tried and convicted two years ago, but he appealed. Last week, a judge ordered a new criminal trial.

That trial must be over before lawyer, Richard Rogers, and his cliients can begin their civil action against Bromley.

“The difficulty I have is I can’t force him to the discovery table. I can’t force him to engage in a question and answer period while any kind of criminal proceedings are on the go. This’ll slow that up a little bit.”

Rogers says he continues to get calls from former Whitbourne boys about being a part of the lawsuit against Bromley.

As for Ronald Bromley, he’s got other worries. Besides his new trial on the old charges, Bromley’s facing new accusations of indecent assault. He’ll be in court on those charges in May.

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Witness says priest had sex with him on camping trip

The Evening Telegram

26 June 1998

Bonnie Belec

The last complainant to testify against Father Ronald Bromley
told the court Thursday the priest forced him to have anal
intercourse when he took him on a camping trip.

The 29-year-old man was the last of nine complainants to testify
against the priest during his Newfoundland Supreme Court jury trial.

“First he was in bed with the other kid and I woke up to the other
kid saying no. Not longer after he came over to my bed and he was
naked,” said the man who can’t be identified.

“He took my pajamas off and forced intercourse. I was scared and
crying. I told him not to do this. I felt dirty and degraded,” he
said.

He said Bromley got off him and told him not to say anything.

Under questioning by Crown prosecutor Kathleen Healey the witness
said the next day his “bum” was bleeding for three days after the
incident.

He said the incident occurred when Bromley took him and another boy
on a camping trip from the Whitbourne Boys home.

Nine men have accused Bromley, 61, of sexually assaulting them when
they were children. He was a parish priest in the
Whitbourne-Placentia area and paid visits to the Whitbourne Boys
Home. He is facing 31 counts of sexual assault against the nine
complainants, who spent some part of their childhood as residents at
the home.

Bromley was charged with the offences following an RCMP
investigation in 1994 into allegations of abuse at the home. The
offences allegedly occurred between 1970 and 1984 and involved
sexual assault, indecent assault, gross indecency and buggery.

The witness said on the drive home from the cabin Bromley again
told him not to say anything about what happened. “He said even if
I did I wouldn’t be believed anyway because he was a priest,” he
said.

The witness said when he returned to the boys home he did tell one
of the staff members what had happened.

“He said it wasn’t true and that it didn’t happen. He said I was
just saying that to get out of the boys home,” he said adding he
was asked to go on camping trips after that but refused.

He also told the court that on a previous camping trip to the cabin
he had awakened to Bromley standing over his bed masturbating.

The trial is scheduled to continue today.

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Witness says priest tried to have sex with him

St. John’s Evening Telegram

25 June 1998

A 43-year-old man testified Wed-nesday that a Roman Catholic
priest tried to have anal intercourse with him when he was a young
boy.

“We were playing around in the water and he came up behind me and
put his arms around me,” the man told the Newfoundland Supreme
Court jury trial of Father Ronald Bromley.

“He tried to have sex with me,” said the witness following a long
silence.

“He tried but he couldn’t do it that way. It kept slipping away.
He put his penis between my legs. I think he finished when he
ejaculated,” said the man, who cannot be identified.

Nine men have accused Bromley, 61, of sexually assaulting them when
they were children.

He was a parish priest in the Whitbourne-Placentia area and paid
visits to the Whitbourne Boys Home. He is facing 31 counts of sexual
assault against the nine complainants, who spent some part of their
childhood as residents at the home.

Bromley was charged with the offences following an RCMP
investigation in 1994 into allegations of abuse at the home.

The offences allegedly occurred between 1970 and 1984 and involved
sexual assault, indecent assault, gross indecency and buggery.

The man told the court the incident occurred one day when Bromley
took him and two other boys on an outing to a cabin in the area.

He said there was a place to go swimming but Bromley didn’t tell
the boys they were going swimming.

He said when they got to the pond Bromley took his clothes off
first and so did the boys. Then they all went into the water.

“I tried to get away, but I couldn’t. He was holding on to me. I
was crying and he was trying to reassure me, saying that it wasn’t
bad,” he said in response to questioning by Crown prosecutor
Kathleen Healey.

He said he had been on outings with Bromley before but after the
incident at the pond he was never asked to go again.

The man also testified that while he was in detention at the boys
home Bromley often visited him.

He said Bromley would rub his leg and genitals outside his
clothing.

He said he never told anyone at the time about the allegations, but
about five years ago he said he told a lawyer that there was abuse
at the home.

“I never told stuff to anyone because from my experience at the
boys home nothing was ever done about anything and all I got was
punished when I complained,” he said.

He told the court he heard about the investigation into allegations
of abuse at the home while he was an inmate at Springhill
Institution in Nova Scotia. He said he wrote a statement to the RCMP
outlining his allegations.

The trial is scheduled to continue today.

3 Responses to Bromley: Father Ronald Bromley

  1. Sylvia says:

    I am told that one of the men who filed allegations against Bromley was incarcerated at Springhill at the same time as Bromley. The story as I understand it is that the man was harrassing Bromley – the other inmates took exception and Bromley’s accuser was killed.

    Does anyone know any more on this?

  2. Mary says:

    I am so sorry for what these kids went through – the above accounts are haunting. Bromley’s crimes against children were not limited to the Boy’s Home in Whitbourne. You can be sure that the list is long amongst boys who lived at home under their parents’ supposed protection, who were alone with Bromley during confession, who were forced to be altar boys by their parents, who were offered a ride by the priest, etc etc. My heart aches for these victims who are now husbands and fathers. And as a family member of a victim within the diocese of Whitbourne, I have great compassion for the families of these victims. I am glad that he is gone – an hope that the gates of heaven were slammed in his face.

  3. Still A Victim says:

    Being a victim of this fiend and of a system which at that time 1976, seemed to have no care for vulnerable children has had tremendous, far reaching impact on all areas of my life that I have come to understand will not be healed or forgotten.
    I have attempted for over 35 years to put this issue behind me but the impacts continue to be present and the incidents still haunt me.
    The system continues to victimize me in this issue by not believing what I am saying despite having documentation of me being at Whitbourne and my supplying similar stories to my lawyer and the crown about the abuse inflicted upon me by Bromley, the staff at Whitbourne Boys Home and the neglect practiced by the system in caring for vulnerable youth in care at that time.
    I am still in the process of addressing my issues in relation to sexual abuse through the legal system in Newfoundland in hopes to at least get some closure and maybe some peace from coming forward and telling my story.
    From what I understand I cannot expect anyone to take responsibility for the abuse and neglect inflicted upon me, nor will there be any admission of guilt or an apology of any type in a favorable outcome to this process.
    Since embarking on this process I’ve had to tell my story several times to strangers at different venues, for the purpose of convincing others that the incidents actually occurred, so that they can try to prove that they didn’t by filtering my words, my character, my demeanor and behavior through legal terminology and precedents.
    This process has re victimized me and have made the incidents fresh in my mind again
    and affect me daily.
    But this is the final option available to help me move on from these horrible, intrusive experiences.

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