The Telegram (St. John’s Newfoundland)
15 June 2016
Testifies orphans were as vulnerable as could be
© Barb Sweet/The TelegramNew Mexico forensic psychologist William Foote at the Mount Cashel civil trial in Newfoundland Supreme Court Wednesday.
William Foote was qualified this morning at the Mount Cashel civil trial as an expert on the long-term effects of childhood sexual abuse. The request was made on behalf of the former residents from the 1940s to ’60s who say the Catholic Church should be held liable for physical and sexual abuse perpetrated by certain members of the lay order Christian Brothers.
The church contends it wasn’t involved in the orphanage’s operation.For more coverage from this case click here
Foote also commented on the sexual sadism practised by certain Christian Brothers at the orphanage, noting everyone agrees it was a toxic place where boys were also humiliated and degraded through physical abuse.
The boys were at Mount Cashel usually because of a loss of a parent and Foote said during testimony on how research indicates children from a loving home life tend to fare better in recovering from sexual abuse. At the orphanage, the Brothers were in a position of trust in the boys’ lives.
Under questioning by former residents’ lawyer Will Hiscock, Foote said the fact that some boys were given penance when they confided in clergy about the abuse amounted to blaming the victim. (The court has already heard of instances of boys telling of abuse in confession).
Before the lunch break, Foote began testifying about the specific cases of four John Does, who he met with in 2000. Those meetings included a series of psychological testing.
One of the men had his military career disrupted by what happened to him at Mount Cashel as he struggled with alcohol, anger and problems with authority, said Foote, noting the man spent more than three decades in the military and left with a low rank, indicating there were serious problems.
Because of what happened at Mount Cashel, he did not feel good enough to be in a leadership role, Foote said.
He also pointed out the man has never had a consistent long-term romantic relationship.
Four test case John Does represent about 60 claimants.The church became the sole defendant in the case after the Brothers went bankrupt.
Justice Alphonsus Faour is presiding.
Full story later and in print Thursday.
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And now a forensic psychologist on the stand at the Mount Cashel civil trial.
Please keep the many Mount Cashel victims in your prayers as this trial proceeds.