Short: Brother Kevin Short

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Kevin Short

– member of the Christian Brothers.  Served at Mount Cashel orphanage in St. John’s Newfoundland.   Began teaching at St. More Collegiate in Burnaby, BC in 1976.  By the time sex abuse charges were laid he was Principal of the school.    1990 – GUILTY to sex abuse of boy at St. Thomas More Collegiate.  1991 – GUILTY plea to sex abuse of boys in the ’70s at Mount Cashel orphanage in St. John’s Newfoundland and abuse of one boy at a nearby school. (school not identified)

The above pictures are from Brother Kevin Short’s years teaching at St. Thomas More College in Burnaby, BC.  This group are from 1982.   (Click photos to enlarge)

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The following information is drawn from media reports (M)

November 1991:  GUILTY plea in Newfoundland to four charges of gross indecency and three of sexual assault.  One charge was dropped. Sentenced to four years in prison. (M)

December 1990: convicted in Burnaby, BC court for sex abuse of 14-year-old boy at St. Thomas More Collegiate, Burnaby, BC.  Sentenced to three months in prison. (M) Studying journalism in his “home province” of Newfoundland (M)

01 November 1990:  arraignment on Newfoundland charges postponed to 03 December 1990 (M)

June 1989:  charged with one count of indecent assault and one count of gross indecency related to abuse of boys at Mount Cashed and one boy in a neighboring St. John’s school. (M) age 38 when charged.

Prior to facing sex abuse charges Short was first a Math teacher and then Principal at St. Thomas More Collegiate in Burnaby, British Columbia when charges laid (M)

1976:  transferred from Mount Cashel to teach at St. Thomas More Collegiate (M)

native of Newfoundland – somewhere in St. John’s area  (M)

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Judge rejects effort to stop Catholic schools’ liquidation: Any further legal challenges will have to go to Ontario, B.C. Supreme Court judge says

The Vancouver Sun

04 June 2002

Douglas Todd

The six-year-old court battle over the fate of two Greater Vancouver Catholic schools was delayed again Monday, amidst rising allegations Christian Brothers who abused boys at a Newfoundland orphanage also molested children in B.C.

B.C. Supreme Court Chief Justice Don Brenner turned down the B.C. government’s application for an injunction to stop the liquidation of Vancouver College and St. Thomas More Collegiate to compensate 90 victims of abuse at Mount Cashel orphanage.

Brenner told lawyers for Attorney-General Geoff Plant they would have to take any further legal challenges to the Ontario court that first appointed a liquidator in 1996 to sell all assets of the Christian Brothers to pay victims.

The next move is now up to the attorney-general’s ministry. The B.C. government intervened in the bitter court case two weeks ago after the Supreme Court of Canada cleared the way for the schools to be sold to pay more than $67 million in compensation to the victims of 12 pedophile Christian Brothers.

David Wingfield, a lawyer for the liquidator, Arthur Anderson Inc., who is planning to sell the schools this summer, said in a brief statement he expects the matter to be dealt with “promptly” in the Ontario court.

George McIntosh, lawyer for Vancouver College, said Brenner’s decision “fully preserves the status quo.” He said he was confident the schools would remain open this fall and beyond.

Plant did not return phone calls Monday.

Meanwhile, one of the Mount Cashel victims and his lawyer were raising allegations that several Christian Brothers also abused boys in B.C.

In an interview from his home in Newfoundland, Wayne Newman, 35, recounted how he was not only repeatedly molested by a Christian Brother at Mount Cashel (for which the brother was convicted in the 1980s) but was also abused by the same brother during two trips across the country to Vancouver College.

“Everywhere the brother went, he’d take me with him. When I was in Vancouver, he kind of hid me. I wasn’t even a teenager yet,” said Newman, who ended up becoming a prostitute and a petty criminal.

Douglas Garbig, a lawyer appointed by the courts to represent Newman and many other victims of Mount Cashel, said it was common for Christian Brothers to take young children on private trips, particularly to Vancouver College, “because it’s such a nice place to visit and has a residence for the brothers.”

Six Christian Brothers, who were later charged with molesting boys at Mount Cashel, were transferred in the 1980s to teach at Vancouver College or St. Thomas More. They included Brothers Douglas Kenny, Edward French, David Burton, Edward English and Joseph Burke, who was eventually cleared of sexual abuse but convicted of physical assault.

A sixth Mount Cashel figure transferred to B.C. was Brother Kevin Short, who became principal of St. Thomas More. He was convicted in 1990 of gross indecency involving one of his Burnaby students.

Newman was not the only one to file sworn affidavits in court alleging abuse took place at either Vancouver College or St. Thomas More Collegiate in Burnaby, Garbig said.

A former teacher at Vancouver College filed a report with police in 1995, Garbig said, because she was concerned administrators were not properly responding to allegations of abuse.

As well, former students of a now-defunct Christian Brothers school in Victoria have presented statements in court alleging abuse by former Mount Cashel brothers.

Vancouver archdiocese official Greg Smith said the constant rehashing of the Mount Cashel sex scandal in the media has not been good publicity for the church. But he said Vancouver Archbishop Adam Exner will “fight to the finish” to save the schools and ensure the uninterrupted education of more than 1,600 students at the schools.

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Mount Cashel brother gets 4-year term for sex abuse

The Windsor Star

19 November 1991

ST. JOHN’S, Nfld. (CP) – Christian Brother Kevin Short was sentenced to four years in prison Monday, hours after pleading guilty to sexually abusing boys at Mount Cashel orphanage.

Short, 40, of Burnaby, B.C., is the first man charged in the widespread sex scandal to plead guilty and apologize to his victims in court.

“A tough decision had to be made,” the bespectacled, dark-haired man said in Newfoundland Supreme Court. “For any part I’ve played in this very unfortunate, tragic and sad event . . . I apologize to anyone I’ve offended. I hope these young men receive the help they need to heal themselves.”

Justice David Riche said Short’s plea was a major factor in his sentence on four charges of gross indecency and three counts of indecent assault against four boys at the St. John’s orphanage and one student at a nearby school in the 1970s.

An eighth charge was dropped.

“That statement he has made to me indicates that he does have remorse and he is sorry for what he has done,” said Riche.

Short will be eligible to apply for day parole after serving eight months in prison and can apply for full parole after serving 16 months.

He is the seventh man to be sentenced for abusing boys who lived at the home run by the Roman Catholic lay order for nearly a century. Mount Cashel closed last year.

The others, including a man who lived near the orphanage, were handed sentences ranging from one to 12 years in prison.

Short’s victims complained they were forced to fondle him and perform oral sex after he arranged to get them alone, court was told.

In all, eight present or former Christian Brothers and one neighbor have been charged with sex crimes since 1989, when police launched a new investigation into a 14-year-old scandal.

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Burnaby man jailed 4 years for abusing boys

The Vancouver Sun

19 November 1991

ST. JOHN’S, Nfld. – A member of the Christian Brothers was sentenced Monday to four years in prison after pleading guilty to sexually abusing boys at a St. John’s orphanage.

The surprise plea came while the jury was being selected for Kevin Short’s trial. The sentence was handed down hours later by Justice David Riche of the Newfoundland Supreme Court.

Short, 40, of Burnaby, pleaded guilty to four charges of gross indecency and three charges of indecent assault. An eighth charge was dropped.

The charges date back to when Short worked at the Mount Cashel orphanage in the 1970s. All but one charge involved orphanage boys. The remaining offence involved a boy from a nearby school.

Short was principal of St. Thomas More Collegiate boys’ school in Burnaby.

Last December, in Burnaby, a provincial court judge sentenced Short to three months in prison for a 1983 incident in which he molested a 14-year-old student at St. Thomas More.

Dozens of parents and students at St. Thomas More came to the Burnaby courtroom to show support for Short. More than 30 wrote letters to the court praising him as a teacher and principal.

The head of the Christian Brothers order transferred Short from Newfoundland to St. Thomas More Collegiate in 1976.

Three other Christian Brothers charged with sex abuse at Mount Cashel – Edward English, David Burton and Edward French – also ended up teaching at the Burnaby school.

Two additional Christian Brothers charged in connection with the Mount Cashel scandal, Joseph Burke and Douglas Kenny, were also transferred out of Newfoundland and taught at Vancouver College Catholic boy’s school. None still teach.

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Christian Brother apologizes

The Edmonton Journal

19 November 1991

Christian Brother Kevin Short was sentenced to four years in prison Monday, hours after pleading guilty in St. John’s, Nfld., to sexually abusing boys at Mount Cashel orphanage.

Short, 40, of Burnaby, B.C., is the first man charged in the widespread sex scandal to plead guilty and apologize to his victims in court.

“For any part I’ve played in this very unfortunate, tragic and sad event . . . I apologize to anyone I’ve offended. I hope these young men receive the help they need to heal themselves,” he told Newfoundland Supreme Court.

Justice David Riche said Short’s plea was a major factor in his sentence on four charges of gross indecency and three counts of indecent assault against four boys at the St. John’s orphanage and one student at a nearby school in the 1970s.

An eighth charge was dropped.

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Trial date set for ex-brother in abuse case

The Toronto Star

Canadian Press

02 November 1990

ST. JOHN’S, Nfld. (CP) – A former Christian Brother charged with sexually abusing boys was ordered yesterday to stand trial in Newfoundland Supreme Court.

Stephen Rooney is the first of eight brothers or former members of the Roman Catholic lay order accused of sex-related offences to have a trial date set. He is to appear April 15.

His lawyer, John McGrath, told the court he might file a motion for a change of venue because he thinks unbiased jurors will be hard to find in St. John’s.

Other lawyers representing the men have expressed concern it will be impossible for their clients to receive a fair trial here because a nine-month public inquiry was broadcast daily on a St. John’s cable station.

Weeks of shocking testimony from victims emerged at the inquiry, which focused on complaints by former residents of Mount Cashel orphanage. The probe has yet to issue its report.

The eight men were charged last year after police reopened a 1975 investigation of abuse at the orphanage in the 1970s.

Six of them – Brothers Kevin Short, Edward French, Edward English, Alan Ralph, Harold Thorne and former brother Joseph Burke – had their arraignments postponed yesterday until Dec. 3.

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Ex-Burnaby principal sentenced for molesting boy

The Vancouver Sun

18 December 1990

With a final look over his shoulder at a courtroom filled with supporters, Catholic Brother Kevin Short was led away by sheriffs Monday to serve three months in prison for child-molesting.

The former principal of St. Thomas More Collegiate boys’ school in Burnaby – who also faces seven counts of sexual assault in connection with Mount Cashel orphanage in Newfoundland – also smiled at his lawyers after a judge sentenced him for gross indecency against a student.

Defence lawyer Marvin Storrow said he will appeal Short’s conviction. Judge Kimball Husband rejected Storrow’s argument Short should be completely discharged, with no criminal record, because his “disgrace” and ruined teaching career have been deterrent enough.

“The severity of this offence is not just one of gross indecency by a man in his 30s on a boy of 14 years,” the judge said.

It is exacerbated, the judge said, because trusting parents placed their child under the control of Short, who fondled the boy’s private parts beneath his underwear after taking him to a Canucks hockey game and allowing him to drive a school-owned car.

The now-21-year-old victim, who cannot be named, “suffered considerable distress,” the judge said.

Seven years after the 1983 incident, he went to Burnaby RCMP prepared to endure the repercussions of “questioning the reputation” of a former math teacher and principal still admired by many St. Thomas More students and their parents.

The judge emphasized earlier he based his sentence solely on the single incident of molesting presented by B.C. Crown prosecutor Terry Shultes – adding he looked favorably on the 39-year-old Christian Brother’s lack of a prior criminal record.

The judge said he also took into account Short’s apparent remorse and “exceptional” reputation as a teacher.

“He contributed a great deal to that school and the students who attended it,” the judge said. “I am satisfied the disgrace the accused has brought on himself has caused him considerable distress. However, I am still of the opinion that the principles of deterrence, both general and specific, are primary.”

Short gave up principalship of the 640-boy school this year amidst allegations of sex abuse. He now lives with his parents in Newfoundland, where he is studying journalism and preparing for a non-teaching career.

Short is scheduled to appear Jan. 8 in Newfoundland to enter a plea in connection with the seven Mount Cashel charges, which relate to alleged incidents between 1973-76.

Three other Christian Brothers charged this year with sex abuse relating to mid-1970s incidents at Mount Cashel – Edward English, David Burton and Edward French – also later taught at St. Thomas More. The head of the Christian Brothers order for Canada transferred Short from Newfoundland to the Burnaby school in 1976. None of the brothers is still teaching.

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Abused to get help

The Vancouver Province

27 June 1989

Ann Rees

The Roman Catholic Diocese in Nelson has set up a committee to help church victims of sexual abuse.

“With concern for the children, the families and the Catholic community, the bishop has now appointed a committee which includes two qualified counsellors,” a spokesman said yesterday.

A statement explaining the action was read Sunday at 30 churches in the Kootenays and Okanagan, said diocese chancellor Rev. Wayne Pfliger.

He said the announcement follows the recent resignation of a Penticton priest.

RCMP Sgt. Rick Lawton said an investigation into allegations of sex abuse has been completed and the findings sent to Crown counsel.

Regional crown counsel Hermann Rohrmoser refused to say whether charges will be laid.

Pfliger said the alleged incidents go back “14 to 15 years” and involve about eight victims from Penticton and Cranbrook.

The Catholic church in B.C. has been rocked by incidents of sexual abuse in the past two years.

June 13, 1989 – Priest Robert Whyte, 67, was charged with indecent assault for alleged incidents in Radium.

June 12, 1989 – Christian Brother Kevin Short, principal of St. Thomas More Collegiate in Burnaby, and former teacher Edward French were charged with molesting a boy at a Newfoundland orphanage in the 1970s.

June 2, 1989 – Oblate Williams Lake priest Harold McIntee, 59, was sentenced to two years in jail for molesting 17 boys.

April 19, 1989 – Christian Brother Joseph Burke, 40, a Vancouver College vice-principal, and Steven Rooney, 36, of Denver, B.C., were charged with molesting boys at a Newfoundland orphanage in the 1970s.

February 1989 – Christian Brother Rev. David Burton was fired from St. Thomas More after being convicted in 1982 of molesting a Newfoundland boy.

June 15, 1988 – Nelson Msgr. John Monaghan, then aged 81, was sentenced to four years in prison after he pleaded guilty to 14 counts of indecent assault and three counts of sexual assault of young girls.

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Sex charge toll rises in Nfld

The Edmonton Journal

13 June 1989

ST. JOHN’S, Nfld. (CP) — Two men — members of a lay order called the Christian Brothers — were charged in provincial court Monday with sexually abusing a young boy.

Kevin Short, 38, of Burnaby, B.C., was charged with one count of indecent assault and one count of gross indecency against a boy at the local Mount Cashel orphanage.

Edward French, 57, of Vancouver was charged with one count of indecent assault against the same boy during the same period of time.

This brings to eight the number of brothers and former brothers who have worked at the orphanage and now face charges of sex abuse.

Sixteen priests and other members of the Catholic community in Newfoundland have been charged or convicted of sex offences against boys.

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Christian Brothers face sex charges in St. John’s

The Montreal Gazette

13 June 1989

ST. JOHN’S, Nfld. (CP) – The number of sex-offence charges laid against members of the Roman Catholic community in Newfoundland continues to rise.

Two men from British Columbia – members of a lay order called the Christian Brothers – were charged in provincial court yesterday with sexually abusing a young boy.

Kevin Short, 38, of Burnaby, B.C., was charged with one count of indecent assault and another count of gross indecency against a boy at St. John’s Mount Cashel orphanage between 1973 and 1976.

Short will reappear in court Aug. 4 for a preliminary hearing.

Edward French, 57, of Vancouver was charged with one count of indecent assault against the same boy during the same period of time.

His preliminary hearing was set for July 28.

Both men were arrested in British Columbia and brought to Newfoundland to face charges.

Originally from the St. John’s area, the two men were working at the orphanage at the time of the alleged incidents.

The orphanage is operated by Christian Brothers.

This brings to eight the number of brothers and former brothers who have worked at the orphanage and now face charges of sex abuse.

Over the past 18 months, 16 priests, former priests, brothers, former brothers and other members of the Catholic community have been charged with or convicted of sex offences against boys.

The problem is being studied by two Catholic inquiries and a judicial inquiry set up by Newfoundland.

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School Sex Scandal

The Vancouver Province

13 June 1989

Staff Reporter

The principal of Burnaby’s St. Thomas More school and a former teacher at Vancouver College were charged yesterday with sexually abusing a young boy.

Kevin Short, 38, of Burnaby, was charged in Newfoundland provincial court with one count of indecent assault and another count of gross indecency against a boy at the Mount Cashel orphanage in St. John’s between 1973 and 1976.

Edward French, 57, was charged with one count of indecent assault against the same boy during the same period.

Both are members of the Christian Brothers, a Roman Catholic lay teaching order. They were taken from B.C. to Newfoundland to face charges.

Short resigned as principal last Wednesday.

French retired last June from Vancouver College, a Roman Catholic boys’ school.

“(Short) remains a brother in good standing, because we assume innocence until otherwise proved,” said St. Thomas More spokesman Brother Bill Carrothers.

He said staff and students have been notified of the charges.

“On Friday, we met the staff to help them work as support persons for the students,” he said.

“We are in exams, so we gathered together the students who wrote exams this morning.”

In April, similar charges were laid in Newfoundland against two former members of the Christian Brothers living in B.C.: Steven Gerald Rooney, 36, of New Denver, and Joseph Burke, 40, then vice- principal of Vancouver College.

Archbishop James Carney of Vancouver said Catholics deserve assurances that sexual abusers will be “properly dealt with.”

“Parents of children in a Catholic school rightfully expect that teachers will live at all times according to what they teach,” Carney said.

Over the past 18 months, 16 current or former members of the Newfoundland Catholic community have been charged or convicted of sex offences against boys.

The scandal has sparked one provincial and two church inquiries in Newfoundland.

At a church hearing yesterday, outraged residents in the fishing village of Pouch Cove, Nfld., denounced St. John’s Archbishop Alphonsus Penney as incompetent and questioned the objectivity of the inquiry he commissioned.

They accused him of covering up for Pouch Cove’s former parish priest, who was convicted of sexually abusing six young boys for more than a decade.

“I pray to God the archbishop wasn’t involved but I have my doubts,” said one man. “But in any case the archbishop should not be in charge of this commission – he should be investigated.”

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Principal faces sex abuse counts

The Vancouver Sun

13 June 1989

Douglas Todd

The principal of St. Thomas More Collegiate in Burnaby and a former teacher at the Catholic-run school were charged Monday with sexually abusing a young boy at a Newfoundland orphanage.

This brings to five the number of Christian Brothers who went on to work in B.C. after alleged incidents occurred at the St. John’s orphanage for which they were later charged or convicted.

Christian Brother Kevin Short, 38 – principal of St. Thomas More for about five years – was charged Monday in Newfoundland with one count of indecent assault and another count of gross indecency against a boy at St. John’s Catholic Mount Cashel orphanage between 1973 and 1976.

Edward French, a 57-year-old English teacher at St. Thomas More who recently retired, was also charged with one count of indecent assault against the same boy during the same period.

Brother Bill Carrothers, a former principal at St. Thomas More, sent a newsletter home with students Monday telling parents that Short would be replaced as principal because he had to return to Newfoundland in connection with a police investigation.

Carrothers said in the newsletter that he wanted parents to hear about Short’s departure through the school. Carrothers, who has been designated the school’s spokesman, was not available for comment Monday. John Burnell, who has been appointed acting principal of St. Thomas More, would not comment.

In April, Newfoundland police charged the vice-principal of Catholic-run Vancouver College, Joseph Burke, with one count of indecent assault, one of gross indecency and one of assault causing bodily harm involving boys at the orphanage.

Steven Gerald Rooney, 36, of New Denver, was also charged in April with three counts of gross indecency and two of indecent assault at the orphanage.

In February, Rev. David Burton was removed from his teaching job at St. Thomas More after the order decided no member convicted of sexual offences should work with youth. The courts had found Burton guilty in 1982 of gross indecency involving a young boy at Mount Cashel orphanage.

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Boys’ stroll is off

The Vancouver Province

10 April 1989

A Burnaby Catholic high school has dropped abortion-clinic picketing from its field-trip schedule – for now.

Brother Kevin Short, principal at St. Thomas More Collegiate for Boys, said the Grade 12 religion class trip was called off because some students didn’t get permission slips from their parents in on time.

The parents had been asked for written consent for the trip and a final decision was to have been made today.

“I’ve spoken to the teacher involved and he told me that not all the slips were in,” Short said.

“I told him that we were not going to go ahead with it because if we were to allow 10 boys to go on the trip with the teacher, it would leave another group of boys alone without a supervisor.”

The principal said the teacher and 20 students had planned to take a school van to the clinic and remain there for about 90 minutes.

The students were going to walk in front of the Everywoman’s Health Centre in southeast Vancouver and say a few prayers, Short added.

There was no plan to block the clinic entrance, he said.

“They would not be breaking the law.”

Short said he supports the concept of the field trip and also would back other ways to give his students the chance to support the anti-abortion movement.

The abortion clinic has been the scene of several illegal blockades in the last few months, with hundreds of people winding up in court and some in jail.

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Class eyes clinic

The Vancouver Province

09 April 1989

Catholic schoolboys are being asked to protest at Vancouver’s abortion clinic.

It’s a field trip, says the principal of St. Thomas More Collegiate.

The students are being called on to bolster anti-abortionists, who showed up by the hundreds yesterday with activist Joe Borowski, of Winnipeg.

He urged the praying and cheering crowd of about 400 to break the law to close the abortion clinic.

“I will continue to encourage them to break the law . . . until the law is changed,” said Borowski, a veteran of at least a dozen jail terms.

“Fill the jails,” he said.

Brother Kevin Short, principal of St. Thomas More Collegiate for boys in Burnaby, said a teacher wants to take his Grade 12 religion class to the clinic in school time this week.

“I’m giving him the same sort of leeway I’d give any teacher going on a field trip,” Short said. He wouldn’t name the teacher.

Parents have been asked for written consent for the trip, Short said, adding he will decide tomorrow whether to allow it.

“There are some boys who might not want to go. There are somepeople who might feel under pressure to go, and we don’t want that.

“If any group from our school went down there, they would walk up and down the street and perhaps say a few prayers, but they would not break the law.”

It is illegal to blockade the clinic.

Short said about 20 students would take a school van to the Everywoman’s Health Centre at 44th Avenue and Victoria Drive and would stay about an hour and a half.

Short said he has told parents the school wants to become more active in the right-to-life movement.

“The response from parents has been overwhelmingly positive.”

Clinic spokesman Joy Thompson said yesterday’s protest did not affect the clinic’s operation.

* In Washington, dozens of top Hollywood actresses are expected to lead a march by 250,000 people today in support of legal abortion.

Among the stars are Marlo Thomas, Polly Bergen, Judy Collins, Veronica Hammel, Morgan Fairchild, Kelly McGillis and Polly Draper.

11 Responses to Short: Brother Kevin Short

  1. John O' says:

    I was interviewed by him for a teaching position. He mentioned that corporal punishment was no longer employed, which he added a quick “Thanks be to God”. It came quite clear that he had his own ways of assaulting young students.

  2. John Drescher STM grad 1983 says:

    Can’t say I’m disappointed. Short was my math teacher those pictures are from that year. I wonder what would happen now if the rest of us came forward.

    There were many during those years, very dark years.

    Glad to have found this post. It’s been too long.

    Thank you.

    • J. R. Olson says:

      I went to STM in the 60s where we were physically and verbally abused on a daily basis by not only the lay teachers but also by the so called brothers……after reading these posts sounds like nothing much has changed.
      JR

  3. Porter says:

    Surprised by all this. He was my teacher and friend for 6 years. Never said or did anything inappropriate in all that time to me or anyone i knew.

  4. porter pal says:

    maybe just lucky. i graduated in 83

  5. Rica says:

    My husband went and was expelled from St Thomas More in Burnaby BC. He’s told me numerous stories of physical abuse at the hands of the brothers there, but somehow was spared from receiving one of the sexual assaults that were handed out so liberally. His school-hood friend was not so lucky though and was sexually assaulted in the early 80s by Kevin Short. He sent us a link to this page, and I have spent days now coming back to read as much as I can. Ironically, while looking over the accused lists I came across the Deacon of my own church in the 80s. William Kokesch of St Edmonds in Beaconsfield Quebec. I wonder how many of my own childhood friends were damaged by him?
    Despite both of us surviving Catholic upbringings and avoiding molestation at church or school, we are both survivors of childhood sexual trauma none the less. My reason for posting here though, is to speak to the alienation from Catholic families when trying to heal from childhood sexual abuse. We’ve been estranged from my husband’s family for at least a decade and have been struggling with them for more than two (for my husband it’s been a lifetime). My father-in-law ( a devote Catholic and child abuse apologist) and two of his brother’s were charged in the early 90s with sexual interference of minors, and today is still a respected member of St Nicholas church in Walnut Grove in Langley BC. His wife has played the organ for the church for decades. They support the church financially, spiritually and call me a witch. They explain our rejection of the church by saying I bewitched my husband away from the faith. Until we met, my husband worked full time for his parents and at 27 had never left home. He helped manage their 80 acre farm in Abbotsford, but had already stopped attending any kind of church services. Within weeks of starting to date the issues with his family began. By the time my first daughter was born 18 months later I was adamant that my children not be left alone with ANY family members (my father-in-laws are the oldest of a 9). She turns 21 this month and we have spent her whole life aware of the danger his family poses to her still. Now a new issue has our attention, my in-laws are worth quite a bit of money, and as they continue to age and the extended family continues to alienate and demonize us, my husband worries about the church being bequeathed large donations and/or willed monies out of their estate. We have reconciled with the fact that my husband may be written out completely but does anyone have any links focused on this kind of issue that they can share? We just want to know if there is a way to be proactive in protecting his family legacy.

    • Phil Johnson says:

      Unfortunately, I think you will find that his parents can do whatever they wish as it’s their assets and not your husband’s. Children can’t force their parents to give them an inheritance…it’s their decision and theirs alone. Sad but true. The best you can do is to live your lives and not bank on any inheritance…this way you won’t be disappointed. And if they do leave him something, then it’s a bonus.

      • Rica says:

        Phil I think to some degree you are right and we are by no means interested in forcing anyone to do anything, nor are we banking on any inheritance for the very reason you stated… it’s their decision but I’m talking about contesting money being given to the church. If it goes to my sister-in-laws, so be it. I have a friend that was able to block the Jehovah Witnesses from getting her parents house when they were moved into assisted living, I’m just wondering if anyone has any experience with the Catholic Church and a similar situation.

        • Phil Johnson says:

          I’ve never heard of that happening but I doubt there would be anything you could do. The cost in lawyers for you to fight such a thing would be enormous…would it be worth it?

        • bc says:

          I have a friend that was able to block the Jehovah Witnesses from getting her parents house when they were moved into assisted living,

          Your anecdote pertains to living persons and it is not a similar situation to your’s. A court would tend to uphold the interests of (living) vulnerable persons. The equity of the house and/or it’s rental and/or it’s sale could finance assisted living accommodations. In certain jurisdictions liquidation of property assets are a pre-requisite to public assistance.

          You are asking about wills and estates; i.e. deceased persons. Undue influence is a legal ground to challenge a will. Proving it is complex; and (very) costly. As courts tend to want to enforce wills; it would also be risky.

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