Last Updated: Thursday, September 2, 2010 | 11:50 AM ET
A man who says he was abused while he was a student at a Montreal school for the deaf is seeking permission to launch a class action lawsuit against the institution and the priests who ran it.
Court documents filed Wednesday on behalf of Serge D’arcy outline the abuse he alleges he suffered at the Montreal institute for the deaf and mute between 1964 and 1972.
Both the school, now known as the Raymond-Dewar Institute, and the Clerics of St. Viateur are named as defendants in the lawsuit tabled before the Quebec Superior Court.
According to the documents, D’arcy claims he suffered physical and sexual abuse at the hands of four staff members at the institute, starting one year after he began attending the school at the age of eight.
The situation was exacerbated by his deafness and a learning disability, because of his lack of ability to communicate, the document said.
The documents claim the abuse left D’arcy feeling isolated, afraid and embarrassed, ultimately driving him to drug and alcohol abuse later in life. He even attempted suicide on three separate occasions, the document said.
D’arcy is not alone.
Another former student at the school, Daniel Cormier, claims he was also a victim of abuse.
The two men say they know of at least 20 others willing to join the lawsuit, which is seeking $600,000 in damages.
But, speaking through an interpreter, both men said the dispute is not about the money.
“I want to fight the establishment until we win this pursuit because I know that a lot of people want to do [it] but they don’t all feel comfortable to do so,” said Cormier, who is also deaf.
Neither the Raymond-Dewar Institute nor the Clerics of St. Viateur responded to CBC requests for comment.
Deaf student seeks to sue school
Alleges abuse by staff from Catholic order
MONTREAL – Alleging sexual and physical abuse that started when he was 9, a former resident of a school for deaf children is seeking leave to launch a class-action lawsuit against the school and the order of Catholic teaching brothers that staffed it.
If Quebec Superior Court allows the suit, Serge d’Arcy would seek a total of $600,000 in damages for abuse he is alleged to have suffered between 1967 and 1982 -$250,000 for loss of revenue, $250,000 for physical and psychological suffering, and $100,000 in punitive damages.
For other victims who would become part of the class action, the suit would seek $100,000 in punitive damages for each, plus other compensation to be determined on a case-by-case basis.
D’Arcy, 54, named four members of the Clercs de St. Viateur, which staffed the school, as having committed the abuse. Today, the building in question is the non-residential Institut Raymond-Dewar, a rehabilitation centre affiliated with the Universite de Montreal, specializing in deafness and communication.
Having met another student who said he was similarly abused, D’Arcy decided to sue the brothers who “took advantage of (the students’) vulnerability and innocence … with no way of defending themselves and being far from parents.”
D’Arcy said various sexual acts were inflicted on him by the brothers.
One brother forced him to strip and beat his buttocks with a wooden spoon for communicating with another student using sign language, which was banned at the school, he contends. D’Arcy felt sick to his stomach after each incident, was unable to complain and suffered from sadness, extreme anxiety, and an inability to leave the house or use mass transit, he says in the motion.
At 20, he began abusing alcohol and drugs, could not support himself financially or keep a job, was fired regularly because of his emotional state and instability, and attempted suicide three times.
He also was confused as to his sexual orientation and had difficulty developing relationships with women until his current stable relationship.
There is no way of knowing how many former students might be part of an eventual class-action lawsuit, lawyer Pierre Boivin said.
Catholic school hit with abuse lawsuit
Published: Sept. 1, 2010 at 7:26 PM
MONTREAL, Sept. 1 (UPI) — A former student says he is suing a Montreal school for the deaf, alleging sexual abuse at the hands of Catholic brothers who taught there.
Serge d’Arcy, 54, is hoping Quebec Superior Court allows his class action lawsuit, which names four members of the Clercs de St. Viateur as having committed the abuse when he was nine, The (Montreal) Gazette reported Wednesday.
He is seeking a total of $600,000 in damages for abuse he is alleged to have suffered between 1967 and 1982 — $250,000 for loss of revenue, $250,000 for physical and psychological suffering and $100,000 in punitive damages.
The suit would ask for $100,000 in punitive damages for each person joining the class action plus other compensation to be determined on a case-by-case basis, the newspaper said.
After talking with another student who said he was similarly abused, D’Arcy said he decided to sue the Catholic brothers who “took advantage of (the students’) vulnerability and innocence … with no way of defending themselves and being far from parents.”
D’Arcy alleges various sexual acts were inflicted on him by the brothers, The Gazette said. He said he was also forced to strip before being beaten on his buttocks with a wooden spoon.
When he was 20, d’Arcy allegedly began abusing alcohol and drugs, could not support himself financially or keep a job, was fired regularly because of his emotional state and instability, and attempted suicide three times, the newspaper said.