Statement of Claim re sex abuse allegations against Father Thomas C. O’Flaherty

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[Note from Sylvia The following is  the text of the redacted Statement of Claim filed against the Diocese of London Ontario and the American Province of the Society of African Missions regarding sex abuse allegations against Father Thomas C. O’Flaherty. ]

____________________________________

 

Court  File  No.  [Redacted]

 

ONTARIO

SUPERIOR COURT OF JUSTICE

 

BETWEEN:

 

[Redacted]

Plaintiff

 

-and-

 

THE ROMAN  CATHOLIC  EPISCOPAL CORPORATION

OF  THE DIOCESE  OF LONDON

and  THE AMERICAN   PROVINCE   OF THE SOCIETY   OF

AFRICAN   MISSIONS

Defendants

 

 

STATEMENT OF CLAIM

 

TO THE DEFENDANTS:

 

                              A LEGAL PROCEEDING HAS BEEN COMMENCED AGAINST YOU by the Plaintiff. The claim made against you is set out in the following pages.

IF YOU WISH TO DEFEND THIS PROCEEDING,you or an Ontario lawyer acting for you must prepare a Statement of Defence in Form 18A prescribed by the Rules of Civil Procedure, serve it on the Plaintiff’s lawyer or, where the Plaintiff does not have a lawyer, serve it on the Plaintiff, and file it,with proof of service, in this court office, WITHIN TWENTY DAYS after this Statement of Claim is served on you, if you are served in Ontario.

If you are served in another province or territory of Canada or in the United States of America, the period for service and filing your Statement of Defence is forty days. If you are served outside Canada and the United States of America, the period is sixty days.

Instead of serving and filing a Statement of Defence, you may serve and file a Notice of Intent to Defend in Form 18B prescribed by the Rules of Civil Procedure. This will entitle you to ten more days within which to serve and file your Statement of Defence.


2

IF YOU FAIL TO DEFEND THIS PROCEEDING,JUDGMENT MAY BE GIVEN AGAINST  YOU IN YOUR ABSENCE AND WITHOUT  FURTHER NOTICE TO YOU.IF YOU WISH  TO DEFEND THIS  PROCEEDING BUT ARE UNABLE TO PAY LEGAL FEES, LEGAL AID  MAY BE AVAILABLE TO YOU BY CONTACTING A LOCAL LEGAL AID  OFFICE.

 

Date:  [Redacted]

Issued  by [Redacted]

Registrar,

Ontario  Superior  Court  of Justice

Ground  Floor,  Unit“A”

Court  House

80 Dundas  Street,

LONDON, ON    N6A 6A3


 

 

TO:       The Roman Catholic Episcopal Corporation    of the  Diocese  of London  in Ontario

1070 Waterloo   Street

LONDON,ON    N6A 3Y2

 

AND TO:        The  Society  of African   Missions, American   Province

23 Bliss Avenue

TENAFLY, New Jersey,  07670


 

CLAIM

 

The  Plaintiff   Claims:

 

1.        The plaintiff,       [Redacted]    claims  damages as follows:

a)        non-pecuniary damages for  pain  and  suffering  in  the  amount   of $300,000.00; 

b)        past  and  future  pecuniary  damages estimated  in  the  amount   of $1,000,000.00;

c)        special  damages in the  amount  of$100,000.00;

d)        damages  for   emotional  and   mental   distress   in  the   amount    of$50,000.00;

e)        aggravated damages in the  amount   of$50,000.00;

f)         punitive  and  exemplary damages in the  amount   of$500,000.00;

g)         pre-judgment   and   post-judgment   interest    on  the   above-noted amounts  pursuant  to  the  terms   and  provisions  of  the   Courts  of Justice  Act,  R.S.O.  1990,  c.C.43,  as amended;

h)        his costs of this  action  on asubstantial indemnity  basis;

i)         an Order  validating service  exjuris   pursuant to  Rule17.02(g)  and 17.02 (h) of the Ontario  Rules of Civil Procedure,  in that  the tort  was committed in Ontario  and damages sustained in Ontario,   and in the alternative,  if deemed  necessary, leave  for  validation  of service  ex juris;   and

j)           such further   and other  relief  as to this  Honourable Court  may  seem to  be just.

 

Parties:

2.        The plaintiff,   [Redacted]  (the “Plaintiff”), was born on  [Redacted]

[Redacted] and presently resides in the City of [Redacted] in the  Province  of [Redacted]

3.        The  Plaintiff   was  at  all  material   times  a member   of  the  Roman  Catholic Church  through   the   Roman  Catholic   Episcopal Corporation  of  The  Diocese  of London  (the  “Diocese”).  Specifically, the Plaintiff was a member of Andrew The Apostle  Parish.

4.        The perpetrator, Father Thomas C. O’Flaherty (O’Flaherty”), is deceased and was during all material  times  a priest  of the  Roman Catholic  Church  and was employed by the  Diocese. He was also for part of the material time a priest of the American Province of the Society of African Missions (the “Order”).  O’Flaherty was also for the majority of the material time a parish  priest at  St. Michael’s parish (the “Church”).   As a parish priest O’Flaherty had a duty of care to the Plaintiff.

5.        The  Diocese  is a diocese  of the  Roman  Catholic  Church  charged  with  the administration  of parishes of the Roman Catholic  Church  within  their  geographical jurisdiction.  The Diocese’ head office is located in the City of London, in the Province of Ontario.

6.         The   Diocese, during all material times,  had the following purpose and responsibility:

(a)        the   establishment and   maintenance of  a  uniform set  of  rules   and principles which collectively define the ideology of the Roman Catholic religion;

(b)        the   establishment of  churches and  schools to  teach   and   inculcate these  rules and principles in their members;  and

(c)        the   recruitment,  selection  and  training of priests  to carry out their purposes.

7.         The  Diocese had  a duty of care  to  its  parishioners,  like the  Plaintiff,  owing to  the  close  proximity  of  its  priests   to  the  lives  of  the parishioners   as well  as the level  of trust   and  faith   which the parishioners and others  extended to the  Diocese, its  priests   and  employees.   O’Flaherty also owed a duty of care to  the   Plaintiff.

8.         The  Order is a  subcomponent known as  a  province of  a  Roman   Catholic Religious  Order which is a men’s  religious community  of   priests  and lay missionaries   who   minister primarily in  African nations and  to  people   of  African descent   in the  United   States  .. The  Order’s   operations are  based  out  of  the  City  of Tenafly,    New  Jersey   in the  United   States.

9.        The  Order  had  a duty  of  care  to  parishioners its  priest  would  come  into contact   with   it  the  pursuant of  their   ministry  or  pastoral duties,   including the Plaintiff.

 

The  Actions  of O’Flaherty:

10.      O’Flaherty was originally ordained to the  priesthood in 1948  by the  Order and  later  was  incardinated to  the  Diocese in  the  late  1970’s  in  following their recruitment,  selection and training   of him.  He was immediately posted  to  parish work  within  the  Diocese and was during  all material times  a priest  of the  Roman Catholic Church  and was employed by the  Diocese.

11.      In or about  1976,  the  Plaintiff  met  O’Flaherty who was a local priest  known to  him  and  his family.

12.      O’Flaherty engaged in activities with the  Plaintiff  in his capacity as a  priest, counselling him  in  religion, Catholic education and  other  matters.  His activities included providing spiritual guidance, hearing confessions and conducting Mass.

13.      Through his position as a priest and representative of the  Diocese and/or the  Order,  O’Flaherty was to the  Plaintiff  the  ultimate ecclesiastical authority.

14.      O’Flaherty used  his position as a priest  of the  Diocese and/or   the  Order, which   was   a  position  of  authority   and  trust,    to   develop  a  close   personal relationship  with   the   Plaintiff    when   he  was   young.   The   relationships  that O’Flaherty developed with  the  Plaintiff, under  the  guise  of  a priest-parishioner relationship, allowed O’Flaherty an opportunity to be alone with the Plaintiff and to exert  total  control  over  him,  prey  upon  him  and  sexually abuse  him.

15.      Commencing in or about  1976,  when  the  Plaintiff, was approximately [Redacted] years  of  age,  and  on  many   occasions over  the  following  5  years,   O’Flaherty repeatedly sexually abused, assaulted and molested the  Plaintiff, exposed him to prurient sexual  behaviour.  The particulars of same  include, but are not limited  to the  following:

(a)       hugged and  kissed the  Plaintiff;

(b)        fondled  the  clothed  body of the  Plaintiff, including but not  limited  to his penis,  scrotum and  buttocks;

(c)        fondled  the  naked  body  of the  Plaintiff, including but  not  limited  to his penis,  scrotum and  buttocks;

(d)       exposed his naked  body  to the  Plaintiff;

(e)       bathed  with  the  Plaintiff;

(f)        masturbated the  Plaintiff;

(g)        directed the  Plaintiff  to fondle the naked body of O’Flaherty including but  not  limited  to  his penis,  scrotum and  buttocks;

(h)       directed  the  Plaintiff  to  masturbate  O’Flaherty;

(i)        engaged  in oral  sex with  the  Plaintiff;

(j)         directed  the  Plaintiff  to  provide  oral  sex to  O’Flaherty;

(k)       sodomized the  Plaintiff  anally  with  his penis;

(L)        took  pictures  of the  Plaintiff  naked;

(m)      engaged  in other  sexual  activities   with  the  Plaintiff;

(n)       in order  to  facilitate   the  abuses  O’Flaherty engaged  in a pattern   of behaviour which  was intended  to make the  Plaintiff  feel that  he was special  in the  eyes of O’Flaherty, the  Church  and God;  and

(0)        in order  to facilitate  the abuses O’Flaherty also engaged  in a pattern of behaviour which  was intended   to  make  the  Plaintiff  feel that  his soul was in jeopardy;

 

 

16.      The aforementioned  behaviours occurred  on premises, which  were  owned or controlled  by the  Diocese,  primarily   the  rectory  at the  Church  and  later  at a chapel  on the  grounds   of  what  is present   day  London  Health  Sciences  Centre Victoria  Campus.   Some assaults also took place in hotel rooms.

17.      The aforementioned behaviour occurred on a regular and repeated  basis, increasing in frequency,  nature  and  intensity   as it progressed.

18.      All of the aforementioned behaviours were related   to priest/parishioner activities.

19.      Throughout  the  period  of  time  that  the  aforementioned  behaviour  was occurring,  O’Flaherty  used  his  position  of  authority  and  trust,   as  well  as  the dependency relationship that  he had fostered  with the  Plaintiff,  to ensure  that  the Plaintiff  did not tell  anyone  about  the  behaviours in which  they  had engaged in. O’Flaherty continued to  minister   to the  Plaintiff  during  this  time,  which  included acting  as a mentor/counsellor  while  the  Plaintiff  was in temporary  foster  care.

20.      O’Flaherty’s behaviour constituted sexual  abuse and assault.  It was also a breach  of the  duty  of care that  he owed to the  Plaintiff  in that,  inter  alia,  he did wilfully  and/or  negligently inflict  pain and suffering, mental  suffering,  humiliation and degradation upon the  Plaintiff,  assaulted the  Plaintiff  and  interfered with  his normal  upbringing and  childhood solely  for the  purpose  of his own  gratification. O’Flaherty also breached the  fiduciary duty  which  he owed  to the  Plaintiff.

The  Actions  of the  Diocese:

21.      The  Diocese taught   the  Plaintiff  as well as other  members of the  Catholic Church  the  following:

(a)        that  the  Roman  Catholic  Church  is the  one true  religion  and  is the representation of God’s true  teachings on earth;

(b)       that  the  authority   of the  Roman  Catholic  Church  is supreme;

(c)        that  by following   the  rules,  principles and  ideologies of the  Roman Catholic  Church  one will gain the  right  to go to  Heaven  and that  by failing  to follow  same  one will  not go to  heaven  and  will  go to  Hell;

(d)        that  parents  must  bring  their  children  up in the  ways  of the  Roman Catholic  Church  and that  children  must  attend  at Catholic  schools so that  they  can be educated  with  respect  to the  ways  of the  Church;

(e)       that  you must go to church  at least once a week and attend  Catholic schools  where  the   rules,  principles  and  ideologies of  the   Roman Catholic  Church  and  religion  are taught;

(f)        that  the  rule  of God is supreme  and that  to disobey  the  rule of God is a mortal  sin which  will  cause one to go to  Hell;

(g)        that  God’s representation  on earth  and the teaching  of God are done through   priests;

(h)        that  priests  are the chosen representatives on earth  of God and have special  powers;  and

(i)         that  priests  are to be viewed  with  special reverence, power,  respect, honour  and authority.

 

 

22.      The Diocese employed O’Flaherty to carry  out the  purposes  and teachings referred  to above  in dealing  with  the  Plaintiff.  They  provided  a/Flaherty  with  the opportunity  and  means  to  come  into  contact   with  the  Plaintiff.  They  fostered   a relationship  between  O’Flaherty  and the  Plaintiff.  They provided  O’Flaherty   with  a position   of respect  and  trust   which  the  Plaintiff  was  bound  by the  rules  set  out above  to follow  and honour.  They  provided  a/Flaherty   with  control  of the  Church and  related  rectory  which  further   added  to  his position  of power  and  respect.

23.      The Plaintiff  pleads that,  at all material  times,  O’Flaherty   was acting  in the course  of his duties  as a priest  of the  Roman Catholic  Church  and the  Diocese and was  using  the  aforementioned   rules,   principles   and  ideologies   to  further    his attempts   to  manipulate the  Plaintiff  and engage  in deviant  activities.

24.      The Plaintiff  pleads that  the aforementioned  rules,  principals  and ideologies of the  Diocese created  an opportunity  for O’Flaherty  to exert  power and authority over  the  Plaintiff.  This  power  and  authority   allowed  O’Flaherty   to  engage  in the aforementioned  behaviour   and to continue  to engage  in same  without   resistance or  question   of the  Plaintiff  for  many  years  without   risk  of  getting   caught,   and thereby   put  the  Plaintiff  at risk of being  abused  by O’Flaherty.

25.      The Plaintiff  pleads that  O’Flaherty   was, as a result  of his position  with  the Diocese which  allowed  him to  use the  premises  owned  by the  Diocese where  the aforementioned  behaviours  and  activities   occurred,   and  to  gain  access to  the Plaintiff,   affording   him  an opportunity  to  foster  a trusting   relationship  with  the Plaintiff  and engage  in the aforementioned  behaviours for a considerable period oftime  without   the  risk  of  getting   caught   and  thereby  put  the  Plaintiff  at  risk  of being  abused  by O’Flaherty.

26.      As a result,  the  Diocese is vicariously responsible and  liable for the  actions of O’Flaherty.

27.      The Plaintiff  pleads that  the  Diocese was negligent and failed  in its duty  to the  Plaintiff, the  particulars of which  are set out  below:

(a)        it failed  to  recognize that  a certain  percentage of the  priests  would become  sexually  deviant    and  would   make   sexual   advances to children and young  people;

(b)       it failed  to instruct   priests  in training   and ordained priests  about  the possibilities of becoming sexually deviant  and/or  making  advances to children and young  people;

(c)       it failed  to  properly investigate O’Flaherty’s background, character and  psychological state  prior  to accepting him  into  the  Diocese;

(d)        it failed  to  follow  it’s  own  internal   policies in allowing O’Flaherty to practice in the  Diocese and/or  incardinating him  to the  Diocese;

(e)       it failed  to  warn  O’Flaherty’s immediate supervisors,  parishioners, students and  others  who  may  come  into  contact  with  O’Flaherty of his difficulties previously within  the  Order;

(f)        it  failed   to  educate    members   of  the   Roman   Catholic    Church   about the  possibilities   of  such  deviant    behaviours;

(g)        it  failed   to  have   any,   or  a  proper,    system    of  self-reporting,     other­ reporting    or  counselling   in  place   for   priests    who   engage    in  such behaviour;

(h)        it fostered    a system,    based  on the  rules,   principles  and  ideologies  of the  church,    in which   deviant   sexual   practices  were  bound   to  develop among    a percentage   of  the  priests;

(i)           it fostered    a system,    based  on the  rules,   principles  and  ideologies  of the    church,     in   particular,     the    rule    that     priests     have    absolute authority,   whereby  the  reporting   of such  deviant   sexual   behaviour  of a priest   by  its  members   would   be  considered   to  be  “wrong”;

(j)        it  denied    the   existence,   or  alternatively     was   wilfully     blind   to   the existence  of  the   behaviours   described  herein;

(k)        it  implemented    and   maintained    a  system    which    was   designed   to cover-up  the  existence  of such  behaviour   if such  behaviour   was  ever reported;

(l)         it failed  to  protect   the  Plaintiff   from   O’Flaherty   when  it knew  or ought to        have    known    that    he   was   vulnerable    to   the    attentions     and influence  of  O’Flaherty:

(m)        it  failed   to   properly    supervise,   control    and   give   guidance   to  their employee   O’Flaherty:

(n)          it failed  to  screen  and/or   monitor   the  character, sexual  orientation and  sexual  activity   of O’Flaherty;

(0)        it  failed   to  warn   the   Plaintiff   and  others   of  the   propensities  of O’Flaherty;

(p)       it failed  to  remove  O’Flaherty from  his duties  upon  learning   of the allegations  of  sexual   and   other    inappropriate   conduct   thereby leaving  the  Plaintiff  exposed to  O’Flaherty and  his actions  without protection;

(q)       it failed  to  protect  the  Plaintiff;

(r)        it failed  to take  steps to investigate the  activities of O’Flaherty once it was fully  aware of his shortcomings in an effort  to locate and assist any victims;   and

(s)       it failed  to  identify,   counsel  and  assist  the  Plaintiff  once  it knew  of O’Flaherty’s prior  behaviour.

 

 

28.      In addition  to,  and in the  alternative to, the above the  Plaintiff  pleads that the  Diocese  knew that  O’Flaherty had the  propensity to  engage  in such deviant behaviours and that  he was, in fact,  engaging in such deviant  behaviour because of the  following:

(a)       O’Flaherty’s difficulties as a seminarian;

(b)       O’Flaherty’s difficulties with  alcohol;

(c)       O’Flaherty’s difficulties with  his sexuality;

(d)        O’Flaherty’s  difficulties  with   his  physical,  mental   or  psychological health  which  effected  his abilities  as a priest;

(e)       O’Flaherty’s difficulties prior  to coming  to the  Diocese;

(f)        The concerns of other  clergy,  parishioners, students and others;

(g)        the  frequency with  which the  Plaintiff  and other  children  and young people  were  involved  with  O’Flaherty;

(h)        the   unusual   interest   that   O’Flaherty  took   in  young   people   and children, particularly  the  Plaintiff;

(i)        the  duration   of time  in which the  Plaintiff,  other  children  and young  people  spent  regular  time  alone  with  O’Flaherty:

(j)         the  fact  that  parents  and others  from  previous parish  postings had complained about  his actions  with  young  people;

(k)        the fact that  he had been reported to Diocesan officials  or officials  of other  dioceses for sexual  misconduct in previous postings;

(I)        the fact that  he had been sent for a retreat  as a result  of allegations of misconduct while  at a parish;

(m)       the  fact  that   he  had  been  previously  had  difficulties  with  sexual misconduct while  in the  Order;  and

(n)        the  fact  that  O’Flaherty would  have,  in accordance with  the  rules of the  Roman  Catholic  Church,  confessed about  these  deviant   sexual behaviours (i.e.  sins) from  time  to time  to one or more  of the  other priests.

 

 

29.      Despite  their   knowledge of same,  the  Diocese took  no steps  to  stop  the behaviour or to protect  the  Plaintiff  and,  instead,  took  steps to attempt   to cover­ up the  behaviour.

30.      In  the  alternative,  if the  Diocese  did  not  have  direct   knowledge of  the aforementioned  behaviours, the  Plaintiff  pleads  that  the  Diocese  ought  to  have known  about  same  because of the  circumstances, as detailed  above.

31.      If  the   Diocese  did  not   know  of  the   aforementioned  behaviour,  it  was because of the existence of its own rules,  principles and ideologies which  allowed O’Flaherty to conceal  his activities and cover  up his deviant   behaviour.

32.      The Plaintiff  pleads that  the  Diocese owed a special duty  to the  Plaintiff  by virtue  of its relationship with  him to identify  the  Plaintiff  and counsel  and  render assistance to the  Plaintiff  once they  became aware of the behaviour of O’Flaherty. Furthermore, they  should  have sought  out  O’Flaherty victims  upon  later  learning of his misconduct.

33.      The Diocese knew or ought  to have known  that  O’Flaherty had engaged in deviant   behaviour while  ministering  and  failed  to  investigate  such.  In  failing  to investigate and identify   any past failings  of O’Flaherty they  also failed  to identify any  victims  who  may  have  been  in need of counselling,  assistance  and  support because of the actions  of O’Flaherty. Such assistance  would  be necessary  in order to  minimize   the  consequences of O’Flaherty’s actions  and  the  affect  of same  on the  Plaintiff.  They have failed,  to this day, to investigate the extent  of O’Flaherty’s past behaviour   and have failed  to render  any assistance  to the  Plaintiff,  contrary to their  own internal  policies and the policies of the Canadian  Catholic  Conference of Bishops.

34.      The  Plaintiff   states  that  the  relationship  between   him,  the  Diocese  and O’Flaherty   commenced when  the  Plaintiff  was  a child,  as such,  the  defendants owed  to  the  Plaintiff  a high  duty/standard   of  care  and,  in particular,    a duty  to protect   him  from   harm   by  its  employees  (Le.  priests)   and  specifically  sexual abuse.

35.      The Plaintiff  says that  the Diocese, for the aforementioned reasons, failed in its duty  of care to him and was thereby  negligent.  The Diocese has also breached its fiduciary   duty  to the  Plaintiff.
The  Actions  of the  Order

36.      The  Order,   in  partnership  with   the  Diocese,  engaged   in  the  teachings referred  to  in paragraph   21, above.

37.      The Order  employed O’Flaherty and  other  members of the  Order  to carry out the  purposes and teachings referred  to above  in dealing  with  the  Plaintiff.  It provided O’Flaherty with the opportunity and means to come into contact  with the Plaintiff.    It fostered    a  relationship  between  O’Flaherty  and  the   Plaintiff.      It provided O’Flaherty with  a position  of  respect  and  trust   which  the  Plaintiff  was bound  by the rules set out above to follow  and honour.  It provided O’Flaherty with a  residence at  the  Church  which  further    added  to  his  position   of  power  and respect.

38.      The Plaintiff  pleads that/  at all material  times,  O’Flaherty was acting  in the course of his duties  as a priest  of the Roman Catholic  Church,  the  Diocese and the Order,   and  was  using  the   aforementioned  rules,   principles  and  ideologies to further   his attempts to  manipulate the  Plaintiff  and engage  in deviant   activities.

39.      The Plaintiff  pleads that  the aforementioned rules,  principals and ideologies of the  Order,  created  an opportunity  for O’Flaherty to exert  power  and authority over  the  Plaintiff.  This  power  and  authority  allowed  O’Flaherty to  engage  in the aforementioned behaviour and to continue to engage  in same without   resistance or  question of the  Plaintiff   without   risk  of  getting   caught   and  thereby   put  the Plaintiff  at  risk of being  abused  by O’Flaherty.

40.       The Plaintiff  pleads that  O’Flaherty   was, as a result  of his position  with  the Order,  allowed  to  use the  premises  owned  and/or   controlled   by that  defendant Diocese where the aforementioned  behaviours and activities   occurred  and to gain access to the Plaintiff  affording   him an opportunity  to foster  a trusting  relationship with the  Plaintiff  and engage  in the aforementioned  behaviours without  the  risk of getting  caught  and thereby  put the  Plaintiff  at risk of being abused  by O’Flaherty.

41.      As a result,  the Order  is vicariously   responsible and liable for the  actions  of  O/Flaherty.

42.      The Plaintiff  pleads that  the Order was negligent  and failed  in its duty to the  Plaintiff,  the  particulars   of which  are set out  below:

(a)       it  failed  to  recognize   that   a  certain   percentage  of  priests   would become sexually  deviant  and would  make sexual  advances  to young persons;

(b)       it failed  to instruct   priests  in training  and ordained  priests  about  the possibilities of becoming  sexually  deviant  and/or  making  advances to young  persons;

(c)        it failed  to  properly   investigate  O’Flaherty’s  background,  character and  psychological state  prior  to  allowing   him  to  be a priest  of the Order;

(d)        it   failed   to   document,   discipline,   or   expel   O’Flaherty   for   his shortcomings  as a seminarian;

(e)       it failed  to follow  its own  internal   policies  in ordaining   O’Flaherty to  the  priesthood and/or  allowing  him  to work  within  the  Order;

(f)         it failed  to  warn  O’Flaherty ‘s immediate  supervisors,  parishioners and  others  who  may  come  into  contact  with  O’Flaherty of his prior difficulties  as both  a seminarian and  a priest;

(g)        it failed to educate  members of the Roman Catholic Church about the possibilities of such deviant   behaviours;

(h)        it failed  to  have  any,  or a proper,  system  of self-reporting,   other­ reporting  or counselling in place for priests  who engage  in such behaviour;

(i)        it fostered  a system,  based on the rules,  principles and ideologies of the church,  in which deviant  sexual  practices  were bound to develop among  a percentage of the  priests;

(j)        it fostered  a system,  based on the  rules,  principles and ideologies of the   church,    in   particular,   the   rule   that    priests    have   absolute authority,   whereby  the reporting  of such deviant  sexual  behaviour of a priest  by its members would  be considered to  be “wrong”;

(k)       it  denied  the  existence, or  alternatively  were  wilfully   blind  to  the existence of the  behaviours described herein;

(I)        it  implemented  and  maintained  a system   which  was  designed to cover-up the existence of such behaviour if such behaviour was ever reported;

(m)       it failed to protect  the Plaintiff  from  O’Flaherty when it knew or ought to  have  known   that   they   were  vulnerable  to  the  attentions  and influence of O’Flaherty:

(n)        it  failed   to  properly   supervise,  control   and  give  guidance to  its employee, O’Flaherty:

(0)        it failed  to screen  and/or   monitor   the  character,  sexual  orientation and sexual  activity   of the  defendant, O’Flaherty:

(p)       it  failed   to   warn   the   Plaintiff,    the   Diocese   and   others   of  the propensities of O’Flaherty:

(q)        it failed  to  remove  O’Flaherty from  his duties  upon  learning  of the allegations of sexual  and inappropriate conduct  thereby   leaving  the Plaintiff  exposed to O’Flaherty and  his actions  without   protection;

(r)        it failed  to  protect  the  Plaintiff;

(s)          it failed  to take  steps to investigate the  activities of O’Flaherty once it was fully  aware of his shortcomings in an effort  to locate and assist any  victims;   and

(t)           it failed  to  identify/counsel  and  assist  the  Plaintiff  once  it  knew  of these   behaviours.

 

 

43.      In  addition  to and  in the  alternative to the  above,  the  Plaintiff  pleads that the  Order  knew  that  O’Flaherty had  the  propensity to  engage  in such  deviant behaviours and that  he was,  in fact,  engaging in such deviant  behaviour because of the  following:

(a)       O’Flaherty’s difficulties as a seminarian;

(b)       O’Flaherty’s difficulties with  his sexuality;

(c)       The  state   of  O’Flaherty’s  emotional,  psychological  and   physical health;

(d)       The concerns of other  clergy,  parishioners and  others;

(e)        The concerns and reports  of misconduct by O’Flaherty from  parishes and assignments prior  to the  material  time,  including those  outside Canada;

(f)       The frequency with  which the  Plaintiff  and other  young  persons were involved  with  O’Flaherty:

(g)      The   unusual   interest   that   O’Flaherty  took   in  adolescent  males, particularly  the  Plaintiff;

(h)        the  frequency with  which  the  Plaintiff  and  other  adolescent males were  at  the  churches and  rectories where  O’Flaherty worked   and resided;

(i)        the frequency of activities and outings  in which  O’Flaherty would  be alone  with  adolescent males;

(j)         the  duration   of time  and the  number   of years  in which  the  Plaintiff and other    adolescent   males    spent    regular    time    alone    with O’Flaherty;  and

(k)        the  fact  that  O’Flaherty would  have,  in accordance with  the  rules of the  Roman  Catholic  Church,  confessed about  these  deviant   sexual behaviours (i.e.  sins) from  time  to time  to one or more  of the  other priests.

 

 

44.        Despite   its  knowledge  of  same,   the   Order   took   no  steps   to  stop  the behaviour or to  protect  the  Plaintiff.

45.      In  the   alternative,   if  the   Order   did  not  have   direct   knowledge  of  the aforementioned  behaviours,  the  Plaintiff   pleads  that  the  Order  ought  to  have known  about  same because of the circumstances, as detailed  above,  surrounding the  acts.

46.        If the Order did not know of the aforementioned  behaviour, it was because of  the   existence  of  its   own   rules,   principles  and   ideologies  which   allowed O’Flaherty to conceal  his activities   and cover  up his deviant   behaviour.

47.      The  Plaintiff  pleads  that  the  Order  owed  a special  duty  to  the  Plaintiff  by virtue  of its relationship with  them  to  identify,   counsel  and  render  assistance tothe  Plaintiff  once it became  aware  of the  behaviour of O’Flaherty.

48.       The Order  knew  or ought  to  have  known  that  the  Plaintiff  was in need of counselling, assistance and support  because of the actions  of O’Flaherty, and that such  assistance would  be necessary in order  to  minimize   the  consequences of O’Flaherty’s actions  and the effect  of the same on the  Plaintiff.  It has failed  to this day to  investigate  the  extent  and severity   of the  abuse  and  has failed  to  render any  assistance to the  Plaintiff.

49.      The  Plaintiff  state  that  the  relationship  between  them  and the  Order  and O’Flaherty,  commenced  when  the  Plaintiff   was  a young   person,   as  such,  the defendant owed to the  Plaintiff  a high  duty/standard  of care and,  in particular,  a duty  to  protect  them  from  harm  by  its  employees (i.e.  priests)   and  specifically sexual  abuse.

50.      The  Plaintiff  says  that  the  Order  for  the  aforementioned  reasons  failed  in their  duty  of care to them  and were,  thereby,   negligent.

Damages:

51.      The Plaintiff  states,  and the fact  is, that  as a direct  result  of the  behaviour of the defendants he has suffered  damages  and losses the particulars of which are as follows:

(a)       physical  pain;

(b)       mental  anguish;

(c)       nervous  shock/  humiliation/  degradation;

(d)       shame/  guilt/  low self-esteem and feelings  of worthlessness; (e)       depression;

(f)        loss of enjoyment of faith;

(g)       loss of religious life/beliefs;

(h)       impairment  of  his  opportunity  to  experience a  normal   childhood/adolescence and adulthood;

(i)         impairment  of his ability  and opportunity  to obtain  and complete an education appropriate to  his abilities/aptitude;

(j)         impairment of his ability  to earn an income  and support  himself  and time  off work  due to  emotional trauma;

(k)        impairment of his physical  health/  mental  health  and emotional well being;  and

(I)        a loss of enjoyment  of life.

52.      The Plaintiff  has suffered  and will continue to suffer  physical/ emotional and mental   pain  and  suffering  and  a  loss  of  enjoyment  of  life.    The  Plaintiff   was deprived of a normal  healthy  childhood and adolescence as a result  of the actions or in-actions of the  defendants.  The  life of the  Plaintiff  was fundamentally  and forever  changed by the  above-noted behaviour.

53.      The Plaintiff  was so profoundly negatively affected  by these behaviours and activities that  he spent  many  of the  formative  years  of his life struggling to deal with  the  physical, mental,  psychological and emotional sequelae of these  events. The Plaintiff  has suffered  the  following:

(a)       impaired performance in education and  employment;

(b)        inability  to develop  and engage  in normal  human  relations, including trust   issues  and  severe   difficulty    in  establishing  relationships  of intimacy;

(c)        the   questioning   of   sexual   identity,     sexual   dysfunction,   sexual abstinence, impotence and other  sexual  problems;

(d)       suicidal  ideation  and suicidal  thoughts;

(e)       drug  and alcohol  abuse  and addiction; (f)        anger  problems;

(g)       symptoms of post-traumatic  stress  disorder; (h)       mistrust   of authority  figures;

(i)        hyper-vigilance;

(j)         feelings  of self worthlessness, inadequacy and  hopelessness; (k)       anxiety,   and  panic;

(I)        sleep disturbance, including nightmares and “flashbacks”; (m)      depression; and

(n)       a propensity to engage  in reckless  and careless behaviour.

54.      The  Plaintiff   has  suffered   a  tremendous  loss  of  enjoyment   of  life  and ongoing   pain  and  suffering.      His  ability   to  carry   in  a  normal   life  has  been extinguished  or impaired.

55.      The  Plaintiff   has  suffered   physical,   mental,   psychological and  emotional stress,  shock  and suffering   which  will continue  forever.

56.      The   Plaintiff    has   been   required    to   undergo    medical   treatment    and psychological counselling and will continue  to require  same indefinitely throughout his lifetime.

57.      The Plaintiff  has sustained out-of-pocket  expenses, the  particulars of which will  be provided   prior  to the  trial  of the  within  action.

58.      The  Plaintiff   has  suffered   and  will  continue   to  suffer   economic  losses, including,  past  income  loss, future   and  ongoing   income  loss,  and  various   other out-of-pocket  expenses, the  particulars of which  will  be provided.

59.      The  Plaintiff   pleads  that  the  conduct   of  O’Flaherty described herein  was harsh,   high-handed,   and   malicious  and,   as  such,   should   be  punished   with aggravated and/or   punitive  damages, for  which  the  Diocese is vicariously liable.

60.      The Plaintiff  further  pleads that  the conduct  of the Diocese and/or the Order described herein  was harsh,  high-handed, and malicious and,  as such,  should  be punished  with  aggravated and/or  punitive  damages, including   but not limited  to:

(a)       failing   to   appropriately   react   to   reports    of  O’Flaherty’s   sexual misconduct  and  instead   transferring   him  to  new  postings   where further   unsuspecting victims  awaited;

(b)       consciously and deliberately suppressing information  concerning his sexual   misconduct  in  an  effort   to  protect   the   reputation   of  the Diocese and the  Order  over the  safety  of children;   and

(c)        promoting a culture  of secrecy with  respect  to the sexual misconduct of clergy  which  was intended   to  benefit  the  Diocese  and the  Order rather  then  stop  the  misconduct or assist the  victims.

 

61.      The Plaintiff  has only recently  been able to face these  effects and still to this day  has  not  fully   realized  the  extent   of  his  victimization.  The  Plaintiff   became sufficiently  capable  of  appreciating  the  impact   of  O’Flaherty’s  actions   in  early 2011.   The   Plaintiff   relies   upon   the   discoverability   rule   and  the   doctrine    of fraudulent  concealment. The parties  were in a special relationship with each other, and given that  relationship the defendant’s abovementioned actions amount  to an unconscionable thing   and the effect  of the defendant’s conduct  has given  rise to a concealment of the  cause of action.

62.      The  Plaintiff  claims,  in the  alternative  to  damages, compensation  for  the above  losses.

63.      The Plaintiff  relies  on the  Criminal  Code of Canada,  R.S.C.  1985,  c. C-46, the  Negligence Act,  R.S.O.  1990,  c. N.1, as amended, the  Victims  Bill of Rights, 1995, S.O.  1995,  c.6,  and the Limitations  Act 2002,  S.O. 2002,  c.24  Schedule B, the  Occupiers’  Liability  Act,  R.S.O. 1990,  c. 0.2,  and any predecessor legislation.

64.      The  Plaintiff  also  relies  upon  the  1917  Code of  Canon  law and  the  1983 Code  of  Canon  Law  and  related   canonical and  papal  pronouncements  as the internal   policies  and  procedures of the  Diocese.

65.      The Plaintiff  proposes  that  this  action  be tried  in the  City  of London  in the Province  of Ontario.

 

Date of Issue:  [Redacted]

R.P.M. TALACH (LSUC#  45130J)

Ledroit  Beckett  Litigation Lawyers

630  Richmond Street

LONDON, ON    N6A 3G6

Tel:   (519)  673-4994

Fax:  (519)  432-1660

Solicitors  for the  Plaintiff

1 Response to Statement of Claim re sex abuse allegations against Father Thomas C. O’Flaherty

  1. SONNY KING says:

    AMAZING WORK AND DILIGENT EFFORT(S) BY THIS STELLAR LAWYER++++.

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