This page is under construction
Brothers of the Christian Schools
Hoffman, along with Canada’s former Ambassador for Disarmament, former Roman Catholic journalist and more recently former Senator, Doug Roche, devised and mediated the reconciliation model for victims (Helpline) from St. John’s Training School in Alfred, Ontario, a facility close to Cornwall, Ontario but within the boundaries of the Ottawa Archdiocese, operated by the Brothers of the Christian Schools, a Roman Catholic lay order. The order is known variously as the Institute of Christian Brothers, Brothers of the Christian Schools, Lasallian Brothers, or De La Salle Brothers. The brothers are frequently referred to simply as Christian Brothers and are therefore sometimes erroneously confused with the Christian Brothers involved in the Mount Cashel Newfoundland sex abuse scandal.
The first victim to seek justice for the physical and sexual abuse he had endured at the Alfred training school was David McCann. McCann was eager to have an inquiry commissioned. However after McCann retained Roger Tucker (Roche’s former son-in-law) and with Tucker’s assistance set up Helpline McCann apparently slowly began to conclude that mediation was a better solution than either an inquiry or civil litigation. That decision was apparently firmed up when Tucker was demanding payment for Helpline’s escalating legal costs and Ronald Caza, a lawyer for the Ottawa branch of the Christian Brothers, suggested Church and government officials might kick in funds – IF Helpline ceased its calls for an inquiry.
The calls for an inquiry ceased.
Roche saw the Caza offer as breakthrough. A number of Helpline members saw it as a sell out.
At a later date when a reporter asked about a public inquiry Roche responded: “The participants do not want a public inquiry.”
Originally the mediation process modeled by Roche and Hoffman was to include the Christian Brothers of St. John’s School in Uxbridge. A number of victims from St. John’s were members of Helpline, the organization set up by McCann and Tucker for victims of the Christian Brothers at both Alfred and Uxbridge. The brothers from Uxbridge however eventuallypulled out of the mediation process.
Approximately 400 victims from both schools were involved to varying degrees in the mediation process. Those who signed on to the final agreement gave up their right to sue.
According to Boys Don’t Cry, “Hoffman was behind the scenes all along “advising Helpline’s lawyer Roger Tucker on the possibilities of a mediated settlement and briefing Roche on the process.” Hoffman was officially brought on board as Roche’s consultant in mid-February 1991.
The process started in 1990. It was ‘completed’ in 1995. Many victims were upset with the tumultuous process, the time it took to finally reach an agreed settlement and the settlements themselves which in most cases amounted to a few thousand dollars or less.
Ben Hoffman and Douglas Roche QC jointly produced: “The Vision to Reconcile:Process Report on the Helpline Reconciliation Model.” Here is background information on both Hoffman and Roche:
Ben Hoffman on Advisory Panel for the Cornwall Public Inquiry
Doug Roche Bio from his official website
A quote from The Vision to Reconcile:
“When abuse occurs in institutions, the harm that is suffered often cannot be repaired by punishing the perpetrators. Other remedies, such as apologies and vocational training may actually be more important to the victims of the abuse.”
Vision to Reconcile
|The following information is drawn from “Vision to Reconcile,” a joint September 1993 report issued by Hoffman and Roche on the progress of the mediation process:
* When abuse occurs in institutions, the harm that is suffered often cannot be repaired by punishing the perpetrators. Other remedies, such as apologies and vocational training may actually be more important to the victims of the abuse.
* Documents indicated that Cabinet Ministers and Church officials knew of the abuse and did nothing.
* Hoffman and Roche favoured mediation between the victims and the various institutions. Mediation, according to them, “avoids the traditional adversarial process.” It avoids the “polarized, adversarial context” of traditional litigation. Therefore, presumably, “each participant feels that it receives something.”
* Roche and Hoffman viewed civil actions as “expensive, time-consuming, technical and limited in their scope of remedies” with no attempt at reconciliation and little room “to acknowledge that the Brothers may also be victims.”
* Assurances were sought from the Attorney General that “nothing said nor any documents or materials provided at mediation would adversely affect an accused person.” * The process of creating a collaborative dispute resolution mechanism should not address any specific allegations or fact situations. Similar fact evidence concerns are therefore inapplicable.
* In August 1991 during a meeting in the offices of Roger Tucker’s law firm, “it was pointed out that the Helpline process had stimulated the government to appoint a committee of Deputy Ministers (from Community and Social Services, Solicitor General, Health and the Ontario Women’s Directorate and chaired by the Deputy Attorney General) to conduct an intense internal examination into the scope of sexual abuse in Ontario provincial institutions.”
* “ Helpline was breaking a path to help the government decide whether reconciliation should supplant the courts as a means of dealing with the emerging and spreading problem of sexual abuse.”
* Hoffman’s background was dealing with battered women. When he was called in to assist Roche in dealing with men who had been physically and sexually abused as boys by Roman Catholic priests and brothers he relied on the “sensitivities” he had developed in working with “men who batter.”
* Hoffman saw the overall objective of the reconciliation agreement as “reconciliation and healing.”
* “Blaming behaviour” was to be avoided. The focus was to be “on the future.”
* Participation by all involved parties (Archdiocese’s of Ottawa and Toronto), the Christian Brothers of Uxbridge and Alfred, the Government of Ontario, Helpline (the victims) “was not an admission of guilt” but a “moral responsibility” where “the focus would be on the future, on healing and reconciliation rather than on the past, on culpability.”
* The mediated package was to include a provision “ for research on child abuse and its prevention”
* One of the over-riding goals of the mediation process was “A commitment to help eradicate abuse generally and its underlying causes.”
* “Better education of institutional staff and the general public would allow earlier detection and more appropriate governmental and Church responses.”
Preface to “Vision to Reconcile” by Doug Roche QC
On December 13, 1990, I was invited to meet in Ottawa with David McCann, chairperson of a new organization called “Helpline,” and his legal counsel, Roger Tucker, to discuss my possible role in a proposed mediation process concerning sexual abuse. On December 11, 1992, I certified that a Helpline Reconciliation Model Agreement had been ratified and was ready for implementation. Between these two events lay two years of negotiations to produce an unprecedented reconciliation model which aims at healing the impact of abuse and restoring lost trust in the spiritual and secular institutions of our society.
The parties to the Agreement are: Helpline, an association of former students (the number 400 was used for calculation purposes) of St. Joseph’s Training School for Boys, Alfred, Ontario and St. John’s Training School for Boys, Uxbridge, Ontario; the Brothers of the Christian Schools of Ottawa; the Government of Ontario; the Archdiocese of Ottawa; and the Archdiocese of Toronto.
The Agreement is about reconciliation between the members of Helpline, who reported sexual and physical abuse at the two schools, and the secular and religious institutions. The complete text of the Agreement (15 sections and seven schedules) is reproduced as Appendix “C”. The Agreement is an effort towards healing and has these features:
Apologies are at the heart of the reconciliation process. The Agreement will facilitate apologies by those responsible where injuries are found to have occurred. Claims by former students will be submitted for review to the Reconciliation Process Implementation Committee, made up of participants in the Agreement. The Committee will forward the claims to members of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board of Ontario (CICB- designate), who will receive evidence and information from the claimants and determine entitlement to payment for pain and suffering.
While there are factors that make it difficult to state precise costs, the Agreement, in its final form, could be valued at approximately $12,835,00. The participants, other than Helpline, are paying the costs of implementation and are also paying Helpline’s operational and legal expenses.
This report on the process is written to serve as a working guide for others in the dispute resolution field. A commitment to help eradicate abuse generally and its underlying causes transcends the present Agreement. While each dispute has its own characteristics, the Helpline Model could be tailored to a wide range of needs.
In this part of the report, I will narrate the flow of events and indicate the strategies used to advance the process which, at several points, appeared near collapse. In the second part, my colleague Ben Hoffman, president of Concorde Inc., The Dispute Resolution Professionals, will provide an analysis of the issues and procedures in the multi-issue, multi-party dispute. Both of us, while receiving permission from the participants to write this report, are bound by confidentialities. It should be remembered that those who work to rebuild lost trust must themselves maintain their trustworthiness.
September 1993< Appendices: Vision to Reconcile Appendices
A call has gone out for men abused as children in an Ontario reform school after a recent tentative deal between victims and Toronto Christian Brothers.
Lawyers have been unable to locate 54 men involved in a class-action lawsuit. It was filed against the Catholic religious order for failing to fulfill financial obligations set out in a 1992 abuse settlement.
The class action was launched by Vancouver resident David McCann in 2002 in a bid to recover more than $1.7-million still owed to some victims of abuse at St. Joseph’s Training School in Alfred, Ont., east of Ottawa.
Mr. McCann, who was sent to St. Joseph’s as a child, negotiated the original $16-million compensation package for 1,600 victims of abuse at that institution and at St. John’s in Uxbridge, Ont., near Toronto.
He said yesterday he fears some of the victims may have died since the first deal was negotiated 12 years ago. Many were elderly and had struggled with alcohol and drug abuse through their difficult lives.
“It would be nice to see everybody get to participate,” he said. Lawyers for the victims and the Christian Brothers are slated to go to court Jan. 30 to have the Nov. 27 deal approved.
If ratified by the courts, 153 victims will share about $780,000, according to court documents. The money is in addition to funds they received a decade ago from the Ontario government, the Catholic Church and the Christian Brothers.
Mr. McCann’s lawyer, I. H. Fraser, said the missing victims are entitled to share about $170,000. The final payout won’t be made until 2005 to give them a chance to come forward.
Judge approves victims’ suit in Canada’s largest sex scandal
08 October 2002
Victims of a one of Canada’s largest institutional child sex scandals have cleared a major hurdle in a decade-long battle for justice.
An Ontario judge has approved their bid to launch a class action suit against a Toronto-based Roman Catholic lay order.
The suit, filed by David McCann on behalf of more than 237 victims of abuse, seeks $1.7 million from a Catholic order of Christian Brothers that operated a provincial training school in Uxbridge, north of Toronto.
Ontario Superior Court Justice Bernard Manton certified the class action Sept. 26 although details still have to be worked out.
“This was a huge hurdle to get over – getting certified as a class,” said David McCann, a Vancouver resident who is heading the litigation.
Under Ontario’s decade-old class action legislation, claimants can apply to a special fund to pay for disbursements in their suit.
The victims’ Ottawa lawyer, I.H. Fraser, said most of the members of the class action suit are indigent and don’t have permanent mailing addresses.
Premier insists he’s sorry for abuse
Toronto Globe and Mail
22 March 2000
Premier Mike Harris said yesterday that he’s sorry about sexual and physical abuse at Roman Catholic reform schools years ago.
He also said he has already fulfilled legal obligations for apologizing in one of the biggest child-abuse scandals in Canadian history.
David McCann, one of the 500 victims of abuse that took place between the 1940s and 1970s at the St. Joseph’s and St. John’s training schools said Monday that he intends to go to court to force an official apology from Mr. Harris.
In 1996, the victims got $13-million in compensation and an apology from the province’s attorney-general. But Mr. McCann said an agreement specified that the Premier had be the one to deliver the apology. CP
Left to `twist in the wind’ Sex abuse victims got a compensation deal. But many say it’s not enough, and they’re getting little support from governments or advocacy groups as they fight for more
11 July 1997
THE ABUSE Armand Villemaire suffered at an Ontario training school in the 1960s festers like an open sore, four decades later.
There are days when he has contemplated killing himself and days when he has tried. There are recurring nightmares and vile memories that still bring tears to the eyes of the 48-year-old laborer.
The last few years have been the toughest.
After a lifetime of trying to suppress the memory of violence and abuse he endured at the St. Joseph’s Training School in Alfred, Ont., Villemaire reluctantly came forward three years after The Star broke the story of Canada’s biggest sex abuse scandal.
He was reluctant because he was ashamed of having been sexually abused by men – members of the francophone Christian Brothers order that operated the school – and he doubted anything would come of it.
But as hundreds of other victims came forward and more than a dozen accused Christian Brothers were convicted for abusing the delinquent children in their care, he found the courage to add his name to the list in 1993.
Since then, he says, he has suffered more than three years of hell.
Villemaire, a father of three who has lived here for the past 27 years, is among the last of a group of more than 1,000 victims to seek redress.
The first group of victims who came forward from St. Joseph’s and another Catholic-run school, St. John’s at Uxbridge, formed a powerful alliance and forced the Ontario government, Catholic Church and Christian Brothers to provide compensation and counselling for the abuse they endured.
The second group, following on their heels, continued the fight, often turning to the media to force the other parties to honor their commitments of counselling, compensation and apologies.
But by the time Villemaire came along, the victims’ group Helpline was rife with dissension, and funding for its operation was running out.
When it shut down its offices in early 1996, Villemaire and about 400 other victims were left to fend for themselves.
The province took over the advocacy role of Helpline and the assessment and compensation role of the all-party committee that distributed $16 million among the first victims.
Villemaire, who says he was repeatedly sexually abused by a Christian Brother who received one of the longest sentences handed down for abusing boys at St. Joseph’s, says he feels he has been left to twist in the wind.
The Helpline newsletters that kept victims up to date on the process and the reasons for the many delays stopped coming. Now, when he calls the Ontario government, he is told to be patient; that his day is coming.
A provincial official told The Star his case may be heard next month.
Villemaire says the continual delays are another form of abuse.
“I have been hurt all my life and it looks like I am still being hurt. There’s no end to it.
“Why can’t they just settle this and let us get on with our lives?”
He says the waiting is excruciating. Several other victims actually have killed themselves awaiting the adjudication of their files.
At one point before Helpline disbanded, its president, Patrick Healey, berated officials for forgetting that the whole point of the process was to rebuild the lives of tragically devastated human beings.
“We’re not making washing machines or automobiles here,” he raged.
His wife, Dorit, says the stress of heading the advocacy group was taking an enormous toll on her husband, but cutting off Helpline‘s funding to leave the last victims to fend for themselves is “heartbreak for everybody.”
The negotiated agreement for the first victims to come forward was extended to the second group, but those who came forward after that are being dealt with only through a memorandum of understanding between the parties.
Tom Marshall, a lawyer with the Ministry of the Attorney General and the province’s point man on the case, says that means only victims of the most serious abuse will receive compensation.
“The very low end of the spectrum, the minor physical abuse cases, are likely cases that will not be put through the process,” he explained.
According to the former Helpline officials, that could leave hundreds of victims who came forward after April 1, 1993 “twisting in the wind.”
Vancouver resident David McCann, the founding president of Helpline who negotiated the unprecedented reconciliation deal, says that’s an outrage.
“These people have been essentially ignored by the government and the Catholic Church. There is no one to speak on their behalf. They have no advocates. . . . We have been betrayed again.”
McCann and several other victims are so angry they have launched a series of lawsuits against the Ontario government, the Catholic Church and the Christian Brothers in Ottawa and Toronto over the manner in which the agreement they negotiated was implemented.
According to Douglas Roche, an Edmonton diplomat and author who chaired the committee that implemented the agreement until it was dissolved in June, 1996, 580 of the 595 claimants who came forward before April, 1993 received a share of the $16 million allocated for compensation and counselling.
Despite the Toronto Christian Brothers’ contention that many of the allegations were lies, 97.5 per cent of the cases were deemed valid on the balance of probabilities by an independent assessment panel.
On average, the victims in Groups I and II received about $33,700 in awards, benefits and support costs. The most anyone received was $107,944.
But there are no guarantees for the victims of Group III, except for Marshall’s promise that the remaining cases that are deemed eligible for compensation will be concluded by year’s end.
An official in his office said there are 181 cases outstanding among the 396 victims in Group III who applied for compensation. Marshall says it has yet to be determined how many of those will be included in the process.
Despite numerous problems that arose with the implementation of the agreement – including the refusal of the Toronto Christian Brothers to participate – both Marshall and Roche say that it was a better process for the victims than civil litigation would have been.
“It is indeed a far cry from what most of these men would have been submitted to if they had gone through the civil litigation process,” said Marshall.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that the majority of these men would never have been able to maintain a claim in court.
“I’ve got to tell you that while it isn’t perfect, it has had some substantial benefits. I guess history will be the judge.”
Roche – an ex-MP, Canada’s former United Nations ambassador on nuclear disarmament and the author of 15 books – said handling the St. Joseph’s/St. John’s file was the toughest challenge he has ever faced.
“It was probably the most difficult thing I have ever done in my whole life, including writing a book about nuclear weapons, because of the volatility of the file and the great emotions,” he said.
“But I believe the victims of abuse in our society need to be helped in positive ways and I believe this process helped them. I know it did.”
Roche says the process was neither inordinately slow nor overly bureaucratic given that it involved the expenditure of nearly $20 million, including the expense of operating his committee and Helpline.
Administration costs were kept to 4.5 per cent of the total.
“I considered the whole process, despite all its problems, a great success,” Roche said. “It was a big step forward for society in that (the victims) were not confronted in (civil) court by lawyers trying to destroy their credibility. The process was victim-friendly.”
McCann says that was the plan, but it didn’t turn out that way.
He and other victims claim the province and the Archdiocese of Toronto violated the agreement when the Premier and archbishop recruited delegates to apologize on their behalfs rather than make the apologies themselves.
They are angry that the Toronto Brothers set up their own process of compensation, which they claim short-changed many of the victims, and they are anxious to get the matter into court.
“If we had taken the alternative, we would have been in court, we would have finished these cases and the other parties would be millions of dollars poorer,” insisted McCann. “The process failed. If the process had been implemented in the spirit and the intent it was negotiated, it would have been a great process. That didn’t happen.”
McCann says it will be several more years before disagreements over the settlement are resolved. “I have turned it over to the lawyers and said `sue everybody’ and we’ll let a judge decide where the truth lies.”
Report gives whole story of child abuse
The Ottawa Citizen
06 July 1996
“I don’t think the public has any idea of the extent of the abuse that happened in those institutions. Despite the massive public trials, investigations, etc., I think so much of it is hidden, and I think if people knew what was there, they’d be stunned, absolutely stunned”
— Dave McCann, student at St. Joseph’s, 1958, and founder of Helpline, an association of former students.
The abuse was stunning at the two Ontario Catholic reform schools, St. Joseph’s, in Alfred, east of Ottawa, and St. John’s, in Uxbridge, northeast of Toronto. In 1992, public outcry over the victims’ stories of abuse and the years of official coverups of the scandal led to a $19-million reconciliation, believed to be the world’s largest-ever sexual abuse settlement.
Now, as part of that settlement, McCann’s and other victims’ stories are detailed in a newly-released account of the abuse written by Ben Hoffman, an Ottawa dispute-resolution specialist, as a way of ensuring that such abuse never happens again. Hoffman’s 300-page report is the most complete record yet of the abuse and its aftermath.
It tells of how boys scarcely into puberty were raped, molested or forced to perform sexual favors for the Christian Brothers who were their warders from the 1940s through the 1970s.
Many of the 8,700 boys who went through the two Catholic reform schools told of being beaten with hockey sticks, lacrosse sticks, and heavy straps. Some passed out before the beatings ended.
Others said they were forced to run for hours on end, or to carry barbells with them, or beaten and then left naked and without blankets or heat in wintertime isolation cells. Their average age when they entered the schools was 12 1/2.
Among the stories was this excerpt from an anonymous victim’s hearing before the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board:
On his first night at the training school, he squirted toothpaste at another student and a “Brother came from behind and punched him on the side of the head…. The Brother struck him with a closed fist on his shoulder, he fell on one knee and he was punched. Later on, the Brother came and took him to another Brother’s where he was sexually assaulted and buggered by both Brothers. Thereafter, this would occur on a regular basis two or three times a week…. At times instruments would be inserted in his rectum.”
Hoffman’s report was mailed to all of the 1,000 victims who were once part of the Helpline association of former students, which insisted on it as part of their legal settlement.
But, as Gerry Deane, an Ottawa member of the Helpline executive puts it, few of the former students have read the report. “It brings back too many memories we’re still trying to get over.” Deane says the report was really intended to show the world what happened.
As one anonymous student from St. Joseph’s, in Alfred, explained in the report: “The sexual abuse is not the real story. The `concentration camp,’ the church, that’s what needs to be told. They would punch your face in. The ones that broke got sexually assaulted, the others got physically assaulted. And if you weren’t assaulted, you watched others.”
The boys had been sent to the reform schools for “crimes” as simple as playing hooky from school, or because their parents couldn’t care for them.
Joseph Lorne Siple, a student at St. Joseph’s in 1962, is one of the many who tells his story in Hoffman’s report.
“When I got up, some of my first thoughts were `Will I get beat up today? If so by who? Or will someone try to get his hands down my pants or prick up my rear?’… I was raped. I was beaten with a pool cue and still have headaches and neck aches that are related to this. I was beaten with fists, knees, boots. I witnessed this to the point I thought it was normal behavior.”
All the boys sent to St. Joseph’s and St. John’s were Catholic, and most ended up like Siple, who says: “I learned to hate church and deny the existence of Christ.”
Now, says Siple, he’s still suffering. He’s had surgery for damages likely caused by his treatment by the Brothers. He has what he calls “disgusting homosexual nightmares,” takes pills to sleep, and has attempted suicide on a number of occasions.
“I wish someone could explain to me what I did that was so terrible and wrong to have deserved to live this life,” writes Siple, who now lives in Kapuskasing.
Some of the details of this abuse came out piece by piece at the many criminal trials that have so far convicted 16 Christian Brothers in Canada’s largest-ever sexual assault investigation.
The report is just one of many attempts to bring healing to the victims. Through an agreement with the provincial government, the Ottawa and Toronto archdioceses and the Ottawa Brothers of the Christian Schools, 565 of the victims from both schools have already received cash settlements, counselling, vocational rehabilitation and other benefits, as well as official apologies. Another 232 victims are expected to receive settlements soon, as the reconciliation agreement comes to an end.
The Toronto Brothers of the Christian Schools refused to participate in the four-year-old reconciliation process but have concluded settlements over the last year with more than 400 of the St. John’s victims, which Mike Watters, one of the organizers, estimates have cost the order $7 million.
Included in Hoffman’s report is an assessment of the victims by social workers Elizabeth Anthony and Deborah Hoffman. They write that even 30 or 40 years later many of the men remain in the grip of “a complex state of psychological terror and guilt.”
Even in a first meeting, they also show “obvious physical features such as missing teeth, scars, nervous mannerisms, evident discomfort in walking and sitting, and faces beyond their years; as well, their very postures emanated tension, hostility and distrust.”
All have also experienced many problems in life they believe are related to the abuse they suffered at the schools.
“Some 70 per cent are unemployed; the average education is Grade 8, many have been dysfunctional all their lives and have relied on social assistance; 83 per cent have been convicted of a criminal offence; they have very poor life skills, such as anger and stress management,” say the social workers.
The report also details years of official complaints about both schools, and investigations of physical or sexual assault by Brothers, none of which produced any criminal charges.
The warnings from provincial officials began in 1940, when St. Joseph’s was warned that it was not permissible to use a lash on the boys. Periodic investigations and warnings continued into the 1970s, but the problems were at their worst in 1960 when Ottawa’s Archbishop M.J. Lemieux and other church officials were warned the province would shut down St. Joseph’s if the Brothers continued to maltreat the boys.
School officials complained the province did not give them enough money to operate the schools, and that they were forced to operate St. Joseph’s with 23 staff while a provincial reform school with a comparable enrolment of students had 87 staff members.
Hoffman concludes: “Boys at St. John’s and St. Joseph’s Training schools were abused. People knew, including those in authority…. Attempts were made to stop the abuse…. The abuse continued…the violence spread and has hurt many people and cost society in general.”
Toronto Brothers’ sex victims urge inquiry: Many of the former students at St. John’s say the were forced to accept the lower cash awards.
29 June 1996
OTTAWA — Former students from two Ontario reform schools have called for a public inquiry into what they say is a tragic end to a $19-million reconciliation agreement believed to be the largest sexual abuse settlement in the world.
Pat Healey, chair of Helpline, an association of more than 1,000 victims of physical and sexual abuse at Catholic schools in Uxbridge, northeast of Toronto, and Alfred, east of Ottawa, said the group is planning to launch a class action lawsuit against the Toronto Brothers of the Christian Schools, which refused to participate in the reconciliation process with the provincial government and other branches of the Catholic church.
He says the Toronto Brothers launched their own settlement process and many of the 400 former St. John’s students who took cash settlements have since complained they were forced to accept much lower awards than those obtained by former students from St. Joseph’s in Alfred.
Healey said another 100 former St. John’s students have refused to settle and are considering legal action.
He and David McCann, the St. Joseph’s victim who founded Helpline six years ago, said in telephone interviews only a public inquiry can resolve controversies that now surround the reconciliation process.
Earlier this week, all parties in the Ontario legislature passed a unanimous motion apologizing to former students for the abuse they suffered.
Lawyer Melville O’Donohue, an official with the Toronto Christian Brothers, said the brothers have nothing to hide and would not object to a public inquiry.
Sixteen Christian Brothers, 11 from St. Joseph’s and five from St. John’s, have already been convicted of assault, buggery or indecent assault relating to incidents in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s.
At least eight other cases are still before the courts.
Church’s apology for sex abuses too little, too late
The Toronto Star
22 April 1996
By Rosie DiManno Toronto Star
IT TOOK six years to offer an apology. Three decades to acknowledge the responsibility. And less than five minutes to shoulder even a fraction of the blame.
From the pulpit at St. Michael’s Cathedral yesterday, and concurrently in the Archdiocese of Ottawa, the Catholic Church said it was sorry, regretful, for the abuse inflicted by Christian Brothers on hundreds of children entrusted to the care of two Ontario training schools: St. John’s in Uxbridge, Saint Joseph’s in Alfred.
More than 1,100 of these horribly damaged youngsters – now damaged adults – have come forward with pitiful stories of physical and sexual abuse. Some 580 have already been awarded payment, their claims “validated” by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board.
It does not, can not, undo the harm.
Just as the pastoral letter, read yesterday, can do little to alleviate the suffering caused by a church hierarchy that for so long ignored the accusations, discredited the complainants and absolved the abusers.
This is not a mea culpa by the Catholic Church. (For one thing, neither the Toronto nor the Ottawa archdioceses operated or administered the schools in question.) And the pastoral letter mournfully decries the “scourge” of child abuse in the home, the school, social agencies, sports and recreation groups serving youth, clearly implying the church is no different. It is also quick to insist such abuse would never have been tolerated. The record suggests otherwise.
Says the missive: “The damage done is sometimes seen by the victim to have been authorized by the religious order or by the Church, even though that is not the case.”
It is an after-the-fact exculpation, even though the two dioceses participated in a “reconciliation process” with the Ontario government, the Brothers of the Christian Schools of Ottawa and a group called Helpline, which represents the former wards of the two schools. The Brothers of the Christian Schools in Toronto – who ran St. John’s – refused to participate in the reconciliation package negotiated in 1992.
Several survivors of the two training schools were on hand yesterday, having accepted the archdiocese’s invitation to attend. But at least one of them, John Kenny, didn’t make it to the end of the service. After the official apology, during communion, Kenny made his way slowly up the aisle and outside, leaning against the front of the cathedral, where he wept for a long time in his girlfriend’s arms.
Kenny was removed from his parents as a child, placed in a foster home – where he says he was first sexually abused – sent to Thistletown as an emotionally disturbed youngster, and then shuffled to St. John’s at age 12. He was there for just under two years of both physical and sexual abuse at the hands of the Brothers.
As a young teen, he was finally reunited with his mother in Winnipeg, but the Brothers never forwarded his file to the appropriate social agencies. He never received the counselling he so desperately needed.
In March, 1966, Kenny killed his 10-year-old half-brother and was charged with manslaughter. He admits he committed the crime.
“I had started to have sexual thoughts about my brother. I was terrified and confused. I felt that I was becoming like the Brothers, that I would do to my own brother what they had done to me. I developed the theory that my brother would be better off dead than to go through what I had gone through.
“Yes, I did it. I was guilty. But I believe that those Brothers – those bastards – should have been standing there next to me, because they were as guilty as I was.”
Kenny spent the remainder of his juvenile life in an institution, a further eight years at Penetanguishene – nearly 20 years, in all, in some form of mental custody.
He has no faith.
Kenny attended yesterday’s service in his capacity as an executive board member of Helpline, and to provide support for his fellow victims. He hopes that it will help to salve the wounds. And he appreciates the church’s gesture. But, truly, it has little significance for him.
“With the church’s long history of not paying any attention to this, I see it as a positive step, just bringing the subject of abuse out in the open.
“But, for me, it’s not even a question of forgiveness any more. It’s about acceptance.”
Archbishop apologizes at emotional reconciliation
The Ottawa Citizen
22 April 1996
Regular churchgoers came face-to-face with the devastating results of child sexual abuse Sunday as Ottawa Roman Catholic Archbishop Marcel Gervais publicly apologized for the hurts inflicted upon hundreds of former students at Catholic-run training schools.
While stunned members of the Notre Dame Cathedral congregation looked on, Gervais’ homily was repeatedly interrupted by tearful, angry men haunted by memories of abuses suffered at St. Joseph’s training school in Alfred, east of Ottawa and St. John’s in Uxbridge, north of Toronto.
“I don’t want an apology from you. I want an apology from the brothers that ruined my life. I want an apology from those two dogs — those two pedophiles,” Paul Gagnon thundered from the first row of pews.
Only a few dozen of the approximately 500 former students abused by the Brothers of the Christian Schools came to hear the apology, delivered as part of the regular noon mass.
Some came in suits and ties, others in jeans and T-shirts. Many had faces that spoke of terrible childhoods and difficult lives. Most were conspicuously alone.
During another interruption in the service, a former student demanded that the graves of those who died at the training schools be moved to other cemeteries.
Then, in another spontaneous act, Debbie Graveline stood up, joined Gervais at the pulpit, and spoke of the pain and embarrassment her family has suffered in the six years since her husband Edmond, now 53, acknowledged he was among the abused boys.
The apology is one result of a three-year reconciliation process undertaken by the church and former students after incidents of physical and sexual abuses at the schools came to light. The crimes date back to the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s.
During his homily and in a pastoral letter distributed at the end of the service, Gervais said “we want to express our own personal sorrow and deep regret at the abuse that occurred … We express this sorrow and regret on behalf of the people of God in our archdioceses. We apologize for the hurt caused by individuals who seemed to be acting in the name of their religious order or the church but were not.”
Archbishop Aloysius Ambrozic apologized Sunday in Toronto to former students of St. John’s.
As well as public apologies from the two archdioceses, the province of Ontario and the Christian Brothers who ran the schools on behalf of the province, the former students have received financial settlements.
“I’m very glad I came,” said David McCann, one of the first men to come forward with stories of abuse at St. Joseph’s and the founder of Helpline, a group that represented ex-students in the reconciliation process.
“For me, it was a real confirmation of what we’ve been saying for so long” about the need for victims’ hurt and pain to be formally acknowledged, said McCann, who hugged Gervais during an emotional moment at a reception after the service.
For many others, however, the church’s apology Sunday is only one step in a healing process that may never be completed.
Many of the ex-students expressed anger and disappointment about the role of the Toronto branch of the Christian Brothers, who operated St. John’s. The Toronto brothers’ refusal to participate in the 1992 reconciliation agreement has led to an ongoing dispute over compensation awarded to former students of the Uxbridge school.
Other men, however, wiped away tears and told more personal stories.
“All of this brings back memories. It’s never really done,” Jimmy Toal of Ottawa said in an interview.
To date, about a dozen former Christian brothers have been convicted of crimes ranging from assault to gross indecency while another five still face criminal charges, said Patrick Healey, the current chairman of Helpline.
One of 18 children, Toal said he was sent to St. Joseph’s for truancy in 1949 because he and his siblings had to work in the bush to get enough for the family to eat.
“I actually wanted to go to Alfred because a friend of mine was there and I was told there was lots of food. The worst for me was when they sent us to work for farmers who knew that we were from Alfred and that they could starve and beat us.” Toal arrived at the training school when he was nine and left 18 months later.
Another man, who refused to give his name, said that during the service “all that kept going through my mind was how I used to go to church as a kid and all the things that happened after. I was put in Alfred for truancy when I was nine years old — I didn’t even know what truancy meant. I was a bad kid. But I didn’t deserve what I got.”
Former students call for public inquiry into world’s largest sex-abuse settlement
The Ottawa Citizen
02 July 1996
Former students from two Ontario Catholic reform schools have called for a public inquiry into what they say is a tragic end to a $19-million reconciliation agreement, believed to be the largest sexual abuse settlement in the world.
A spokesman for the students said the group is planning to launch a class-action lawsuit against the Toronto Brothers of the Christian Schools, which refused to participate in the reconciliation process with the provincial government and other branches of the Catholic church.
The Toronto brothers opted out of the huge 1992 agreement, and said they wanted to negotiate a separate settlement with the students. But, four years later, those negotiations have not satisfied all the students, and they say the brothers must pay up. About 400 former students from St. John’s, in Uxbridge northeast of Toronto, say they’ve received cash settlements much lower than those obtained by students from St. Joseph’s, in Alfred east of Ottawa, according to Pat Healey.
Healey, chairman of Helpline, an association of more than 1,000 victims of physical and sexual abuse at the schools, said another 100 former St. John’s students have refused to settle and are considering legal action.
He and David McCann, the St. Joseph’s victim who founded Helpline six years ago, said in telephone interviews that only a public inquiry can resolve controversies that now surround the reconciliation process.
Ontario legislature offers apology
Last week, all parties in the Ontario legislature passed a unanimous motion apologizing to former students for the abuse they suffered. Similar apologies were made in April by the Ottawa and Toronto archdioceses, as well as the Ottawa brothers who ran St. Joseph’s. Sixteen Christian Brothers, 11 from St. Joseph’s and five from St. John’s, have already been convicted of criminal charges of assault, buggery or indecent assault relating to incidents in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. At least eight other cases are still before the courts.
McCann said Helpline members now consider the four-year-old reconciliation agreement to be a failure. “What we were trying to avoid in the first place was litigation, and that’s where we’re going to end up.”
Under the agreement between Helpline, the provincial government, the Catholic archdioceses of Toronto and Ottawa, and the Ottawa Christian brothers, 565 abuse victims have received counselling, vocational rehabilitation, cash settlements and other benefits that cost the institutions more than $19 million. Another 232 ex-students are also expected to receive settlements soon.
Healey said that under an internal Helpline agreement, some of the St. Joseph’s victims shared $1.7 million of their cash awards with St. John’s victims, in the belief they would be repaid when legal action forced the Toronto brothers to pay comparable awards to their former students.
However, the Toronto brothers launched their own settlement process and the larger reconciliation process is now being officially wound up by the province and the Catholic participants.
Now Helpline members are split in two angry camps. St. Joseph’s students haven’t been repaid the money owed them by St. John’s students, and some are out anywhere from $1,000 to $20,000 each. Healey says he personally has lost $7,000 of the money he expected to receive.
St. John’s students are also angry because about $1 million of the money they were expecting has been held in trust until the dispute between Helpline and the Toronto Brothers is worked out.
Doug Roche, Canada’s former disarmament commissioner and chairman of the reconciliation process, said he’s confident the St. Joseph’s students will eventually receive the money loaned to St. John’s students, and that everything possible is being done to resolve the legal problems involved.
“To magnify the defects in what happened is to eclipse the tremendous amount of good the agreement has done,” he said.
Inquiry sought as order rejects sex-abuse deal
The Calgary Herald
29 June 1996
Former students from two Ontario reform schools have called for a public inquiry into what they say is a tragic end to a $19-million reconciliation agreement believed to be the largest sexual-abuse settlement in the world.
Pat Healey, chairman of Helpline, an association of more than 1,000 victims of physical and sexual abuse at Catholic schools in Uxbridge, northeast of Toronto, and Alfred, east of Ottawa, said the group is planning to launch a class-action lawsuit against the Toronto Brothers of the Christian Schools, which refused to participate in the reconciliation process with the provincial government and other branches of the Catholic church.
Healey and David McCann, who founded Helpline six years ago, said only a public inquiry can resolve controversies that now surround the reconciliation process.
Earlier this week, all parties in the Ontario legislature passed a unanimous motion apologizing to former students for the abuse they suffered. Similar apologies were made in April by the Ottawa and Toronto archdioceses, as well as the Ottawa brothers who ran St. Joseph’s in Alfred.
Sixteen Christian Brothers, 11 from St. Joseph’s and five from St. John’s in Uxbridge, have already been convicted of assault, buggery or indecent assault relating to incidents.
Under the agreement between Helpline, the provincial government, the Catholic church and the Ottawa Christian Brothers, 565 abuse victims have received counselling, vocational rehabilitation, cash settlements and other benefits costing more than $19 million. Another 232 ex-students are also expected to receive settlements soon.
Healey said under an internal Helpline agreement, some of the St. Joseph’s victims shared $1.7 million of their cash awards with St. John’s victims, in the belief they would be repaid when legal action forced the Toronto Brothers to pay comparable awards to their former students.
However, the Toronto Brothers launched their own settlement process. Many of the 400 former St. John’s students who took cash settlements have since complained they were forced to accept much lower awards than those obtained by ex-students from St. Joseph’s.
The larger reconciliation process is now being officially wound up by the province and the Catholic participants.
Helpline members are split into two angry camps. St. Joseph’s students haven’t been repaid the money owed them by St. John’s students, and some are out anywhere from $1,000 to $20,000 each.
Church to apologize for Alfred abuse
The Ottawa Citizen
21 April 1996
April Lindgren, Brenda Branswell
When David McCann walks into church for the first time in more than 30 years today, it will be to hear an apology.
Ottawa Archbishop Marcel Gervais will stand up in Notre Dame Cathedral at the noon mass and say the church is sorry for the sexual abuse inflicted on McCann and about 500 other former students who attended two Catholic-run training schools during the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s.
“For me, it’s closure,” McCann said in a telephone interview from Vancouver. “It’s the final acknowledgment that as a child, I wasn’t to blame for what happened to me,” said McCann, who was to fly to Ottawa Saturday night.
The apology is one result of a three-year reconciliation process undertaken by the church and former students of St. Joseph’s training school in Alfred, east of Ottawa and of St. John’s in Uxbridge, north of Toronto.
Hundreds of boys sent to the schools as orphans, delinquents or truants were physically and sexually abused by the Brothers of the Christian Schools, who ran the institutions on behalf of the Ontario government.
In addition to formal public apologies from the province, the Christian Brothers and the Roman Catholic archdioceses of Ottawa and Toronto, the former students have also received financial settlements.
The same pastoral letter along with an apology will also be delivered today at St. Michael’s Cathedral in Toronto by Archbishop Aloysius Ambrozic.
So far, the reconciliation process has cost Ottawa’s Christian Brothers more than $8 million, the Ottawa and Toronto archdiocese about $600,000 each, and the provincial government about $6.4 million.
Because counselling may continue for some time, ex-students and others may still choose to sue, the final costs may not be known for years.
McCann, 49, founded the the Helpline association of ex-students and is credited with bringing the scandal into the open.
He says today’s service will be tough emotionally.
“It shows to me the church has recognized the seriousness of this problem and they’re really prepared to stand up publicly and say we’re really sorry this happened and we’re going to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
“It puts a lot of devils to rest,” he added tearfully, before going on to praise Gervais. The archbishop, McCann recalled, came to a meeting six years ago when Helpline began, to face angry victims.
“I think he truly understood the spirit and the intent of what the victims were trying to say,” McCann added, noting that Gervais has been exceptionally supportive, and helped victims and their families.
The Ottawa service will begin at noon today when Gervais will welcome the ex-students and others involved in the reconciliation process. The archbishop will then celebrate mass and deliver a homily about what happened and the final agreement, said spokesman Guy Levac.
“Then at the end of the mass we will be distributing a pastoral letter from the archbishops of Ottawa and Toronto, basically reflecting on the experience and what they learned from it and there is public apology there as well,” Levac said.
Gervais will meet all of the people involved at a reception after mass.
Healing St. Joseph’s survivors; Record legal settlement and counselling serve as model
The Ottawa Citizen
16 March 1996
Never before has there been a legal settlement like this in a sexual abuse case. Reconciliation, not confrontation, has been the goal for both sides in the sexual abuse scandal at the St. Joseph’s training school in Alfred, east of Ottawa.
As the three-year-old reconciliation process winds to a close, all sides agree they’ve achieved much of the healing they sought.
The victims of the sexual abuse at St. Joseph’s are “the most seriously damaged individuals there are,” says Douglas Roche, Canada’s former disarmament commissioner and chairman of the committee that’s been overseeing the reconciliation process over the last three years.
“They’ve been damaged physically, psychologically, emotionally and spiritually.
“If you don’t take an ethical approach, a spiritual approach to that, you can’t get the healing that’s so sorely needed.”
Roche says what also has set the settlements in this case apart is their scale.
Already, $16 million has been spent to help 500 men who were abused as children at St. Joseph’s and at another Catholic-run Ontario training school, St. John’s in Uxbridge, north of Toronto. Claims for the last 300 men are expected to be approved by May 31.
“There’s nothing else like it in the world. It’s the largest known case of societal response to victims of institutional sexual abuse,” says Roche.
The criminal cases are also winding down. Sixteen Christian brothers or former brothers, 11 from St. Joseph’s and five from St. John’s, have already been convicted of criminal charges for assault, buggery or indecent assault relating to incidents in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. Four more former St. John’s brothers are awaiting trial over the next few months.
David McCann, the former St. Joseph’s student who founded the Helpline association of ex-students, said victims of the sexual abuse at Newfoundland’s Mount Cashel orphanage were only further traumatized by litigation and a public inquiry. After eight years, only one of the victims, Shane Earle, has been compensated.
“We wanted a kinder, gentler process,” says McCann.
The order of francophone Christian Brothers who once operated the provincial training school in Alfred also decided they wanted to help, not go to court. “They wanted to be seen as doing something now to help those who did suffer,” said Ron Caza, lawyer for the dwindling number of brothers, few of whom ever worked at Alfred.
Financially, the ex-students from St. Joseph’s and St. John’s received considerably less than the rumored $400,000 paid to Earle. But they didn’t have to go through the courts, or pay any legal fees.
To date, their settlements have averaged $10,000 each from Ontario’s Criminal Injuries Compensation Board, plus counselling and, in some cases, money for vocational rehabilitation, medical and dental expenses and educational upgrading.
Former St. Joseph’s students also got extra from the Ottawa Brothers: an average $6,000 each plus some compensation as wages for their work at the school.
The ex-students at both schools also received personal written apologies from the province, Ottawa’s Christian Brothers and the Roman Catholic archdioceses of Ottawa or Toronto. Formal public apologies to the victims by all these groups are also expected soon.
So far, the reconciliation process has cost Ottawa’s Christian Brothers more than $8 million, the Ottawa and Toronto archdioceses about $600,000 each, and the provincial government about $6.4 million.
Because counselling may continue for some ex-students and others may still choose to sue, the final costs may not be known for years.
The procedure worked out by Roche, McCann and lawyers for all sides has now become the model for settling other sexual abuse cases: by a Jesuit priest, George Epoch, in the Bruce Peninsula, and at the Grandview girls’ training school in Cambridge, Ont.
The one sour note is an ongoing dispute between Helpline — the students’ association — and the Toronto branch of anglophone Christian Brothers who operated St. John’s. They refused to participate in the 1992 reconciliation agreement. Since then, the dispute has taken on a venomous tone.
A year ago, ex-St. John’s students finally began filing lawsuits, and the Toronto brothers set up their own compensation scheme to top up the criminal injuries awards.
But Helpline says the awards are less than half of the extra money received by St. Joseph’s students, and many have been deceived by negotiators. What complicates it further is that St. Joseph’s student shared their extra awards with St. John’s students, in hopes that they would be paid back when Helpline made a similar agreement with the Toronto brothers.
Now Helpline is threatening to picket the papal nuncio’s residence in Ottawa and the Toronto brothers’ De La Salle School on Easter Sunday in order to get a public inquiry into the actions of the Toronto brothers.
“We couldn’t care less about the protests,” says Melville O’Donohue, lawyer for the Toronto brothers. He says the Toronto group refused to participate in the reconciliation process with Helpline because McCann is “a fraud artist. We won’t do business with him or any organization he’s involved in.”
McCann still regards the reconciliation process as a success. He wipes away a tear as he says, “It’s so valuable to be given a chance to start again.”
After leaving Alfred, McCann spent time in jail for burglary, and then worked for 10 years as a police informant on drug cases. He quit Helpline late in 1992, after getting threats on his life, and went into hiding under a witness protection program. Now he’s been diagnosed as HIV positive, and believes he has only a few years to live. So he’s out of hiding, and working with Helpline again.
Counselling has helped him become reconciled with his family. He plans to start an art gallery on the West Coast with his sister.
McCann gives examples of what the settlement has meant to others:
After intensive counselling, one man is sleeping with his wife. For 19 years, he slept alone behind locked doors because of his fears of what had happened to him in the Alfred dormitories.
Another received $3,000 in dental work to replace teeth knocked out at St. Joseph’s. Now he can eat a Big Mac instead of having to live on bread soaked in soup.
Others have used their cash awards to start businesses. Some have blown their cash awards on drugs or drink. For 32 others, the help came too late. They had committed suicide.
Helpline members were sent to the training schools as orphans, delinquents, or truants. Many simply went on to other institutions. Most have criminal records, for everything from theft to murder. Some have spent time in mental institutions. Few have more than a Grade 8 education.
Gerry Deane, an Ottawa member of the Helpline executive, says he’s typical of many ex-students, in the help he’s received through counselling. Like McCann and others, he was the victim of attempted sodomy by one of the brothers on his first night in Alfred. Later he was beaten repeatedly until he was finally hospitalized and then released from the school. “Now I’m coming to grips with my own shame, and my doubts about my masculinity, and my intelligence.”
McCann has developed some understanding for the brothers who began abusing him at the age of 12.
“It would have taken a miracle not to happen. They took young, untrained, unsupervised brothers and put them in an isolated community for 24 hours a day, 356 days a year (and only nine days off).
“They got less than half the money provincial institutions received, and three times as many students.
“It was a miracle they didn’t kill the kids.”
Files on ex-wards found in trash Child-abuse claimants fear their day in court now in jeopardy
The Toronto Star
16 November 1995
By Daniel Girard
Victims of Canada’s largest child-abuse scandal are worried court cases will be jeopardized after files of former wards at a Catholic-run reform school were found in a garbage bag on a Toronto street.
“We are concerned that justice will once again be denied to the victims,” said Pat Healey, head of Helpline, an organization representing more than 1,000 former wards alleging decades of physical and sexual abuse at St. John’s Training School for Boys in Uxbridge, northeast of Metro, and a similar institution, St. Joseph’s Training School for Boys, in Alfred, near Ottawa.
Members of the Helpline executive turned over 14 pages of ward files to Attorney-General Charles Harnick’s office on Tuesday.
They said the files were found in the curbside garbage outside the Toronto office where, by a court order, the files were to be secured from tampering and the scrutiny of no more than a few select pairs of eyes.
Helpline executives yesterday demanded Harnick launch a police investigation into how the files are handled.
“The day in court for some of these wards, who have been waiting 30 or 35 years, is now in jeopardy,” said David McCann, a former St. Joseph’s student and member of the Helpline executive.
McCann, who could not explain how or why Helpline members were going through the garbage, said he did not know if any of the files found related to cases before the courts. But he said the discovery raises serious concerns about how files on up to 8,000 former wards are being guarded.
Harnick said in the Legislature he has launched an internal investigation “to get to the bottom of where these documents came from.”
But he said he doesn’t believe the information came from the secured storage facility.
The former wards have launched two civil suits totalling nearly $80 million against St. John’s and the Toronto Christian Brothers. They have also announced plans to file a series of claims totalling nearly $300 million.
In the St. Joseph’s case, more than $9 million has been paid out to 350 survivors abused by the Christian Brothers.
About 30 former and current Christian Brothers and staff from both schools were charged and 18 of those convicted. Police investigations continue and more charges are expected in the coming weeks.
In late April, the files were moved from St. John’s to the grounds of De La Salle Academy on Oaklands Ave. in Toronto, a property owned by the Toronto Christian Brothers.
Another teen abuse victim commits suicide
26 Aug 1994
Darcy Henton Toronto Star
Bernardo Bafaro’s struggle to cope with the abuse he suffered as a teen in a Catholic-run reform school has ended with a syringe and a spoon of heroin.
The 47-year-old former ward of St. John’s training school in Uxbridge was found dead in his Metro apartment last week, the victim of an apparent drug overdose.
Bafaro couldn’t cope with bureaucratic delays in a process set up to help him and other victims, said his sister, Emily Taverna.
She said her brother had become horribly depressed in recent months over his battle with the reconciliation process implementation committee that was established to deal with claims from more than 700 former wards from St. John’s and St. Joseph’s, another Roman Catholic-run reform school located in Alfred, east of Ottawa.
His death – the fourth suicide by a member of the victims group in the past two years – has been a lightning rod for other tormented men who are infuriated by the way the deal they made with the Catholic church and government has been implemented by the lawyers for the other parties.
“Four men have taken their own lives and I don’t want to see a fifth,” Taverna lamented. “I don’t want to see people suffering any more.”
Taverna said her brother, who walked with a cane as a result of back and foot injuries, had also recently lost a battle with the Workers’ Compensation Board and faced back surgery that would put him in a wheelchair.
He was estranged from his 22-year-old son and had been divorced from his wife, who later died.
She said the last time he spoke to her, he complained he could not cope and was anxious to find a way out.
“He was really frustrated that nothing was going right,” she said. “He was angry and yelling and screaming.”
She said he could not understand why his application for compensation for pain and suffering, filed in January, was not being processed.
A $23 million compensation package was negotiated after Ontario Provincial Police charged 30 men, most of them members of the Roman Catholic lay order Brothers of the Christian Schools, with 220 counts of physical and sexual abuse dating back decades.
But a number of the victims will never see any money.
Last year, Metro resident Nelson Trudel, another former ward at St. John’s, killed himself. Two others committed suicide earlier, including one who had just finished testifying against his abuser.
Two weeks ago, another former St. John’s ward, already convicted of making bomb threats about St. John’s, was charged with arson, mischief and possession of a weapon after attempting to set fire to the institution, which still operates as a jail for young offenders.
The former ward blew most of his $5,000 compensation award trying to get back at the institution where he was abused.
“I am fighting something I know I won’t win,” he said. “I guess I can’t put it behind me.”
Bafaro’s death comes in the wake of public complaints by the head of a victims’ advocacy group that the compensation process is burdened with bureaucratic delays and a lack of sensitivity for the victims.
This week, Patrick Healey, who heads St. Joseph’s and St. John’s HelpLine, went further, calling the process “a tragic failure.
“It is delay and delay and delay. It is not like we are manufacturing cars here or fixing washing machines. We are dealing with human lives.”
Healey lamented that officials from the Catholic church, the Christian Brothers and the province are obsessed with the cost of the process while his group is struggling to save the lives of the extremely troubled victims.
In addition to the delays, the victims have had to accept a reduced settlement because the De La Salle Brothers who operate St. John’s have steadfastly and inexplicably refused to enter into the reconciliation deal.
A lawyer for the order in Toronto has called the claims blackmail.
HelpLine lawyer Roger Tucker warned yesterday that there will be more deaths as a result of the problems implementing the deal.
Mike Watters, a HelpLine executive member, said he holds the implementation committee – representatives of the church, province and Ottawa order of Christian Brothers – responsible for Bafaro’s death.
He said Bafaro recently complained to him that he had been bumped from the first group of victims, whose claims are being processed, to a second group whose claims will not be processed until next year.
Doug Roche, who heads the implementation committee, said Bafaro’s claim would likely have been heard in October, when the last of the first group of 350 applicant claims are to be heard.
Roche said Bafaro could have sought counselling under the program before his claim was heard, but did not.
Within hours of Bafaro’s death, his family was awarded $3,000 for funeral expenses. Ironically, it was money that Bafaro would have been entitled to out of a separate “opportunity fund” he could have applied to for special expenses, once his claim was validated by an independent assessment panel.
The last of the Christian Brothers convicted of abuse at a training school in alfred was sentenced Friday. It closes another sad chapter in the lives of…The boys of St. Joseph’s
The Ottawa Citizen
12 February 1994
The grey stone building is a secular agricultural college now, where young farmers are taught the science of farming.
For more than 50 years, it was the St. Joseph’s Training School for Boys, a minimum-security jail for teenagers. The jailers were the Brothers of the Christian Schools, a lay Roman Catholic order that ran some of the best schools in Canada.
St. Joseph’s was not one of the best. It was a tough school for tough kids.
The boys had no privacy; they slept in two giant dormitories, each crammed with 50 to 60 beds supervised by one or two Christian Brothers.
There were no walls or fences around the school; its security came from its isolation in Alfred, a tiny agricultural community on Hwy. 17 about 70 kilometres east of Ottawa.
Occasionally, some of the boys reported being mistreated by the brothers. Some alleged they were sexually assaulted, others said they were beaten. Except for two cases, they were not believed. The brothers were beyond reproach.
But a decade after the school was closed in 1980, galvanized by the Mount Cashel orphanage scandal in Newfoundland, the former students of St. Joseph’s gathered and denounced the treatment they had received during the 1940s, ’50s, ’60s and ’70s.
The result was more criminal convictions than at Mount Cashel. Twenty current or former brothers were charged; 11 were convicted. Nine of them received jail sentences.
The last was sentenced Friday. Andre Charbonneau, 61, was given six years in jail on almost 20 charges of sexual and physical assaults.
What happened to the men and boys of St. Joseph’s? What lessons were learned from the shocking attacks on children that took place at this isolated school?
Of the 11 Christian Brothers convicted, eight had proclaimed innocence. The other three pleaded guilty.
Four others were found not guilty; charges against a fifth were withdrawn because of the poor credibility of the only witness against him.
Three more were judged too old and infirm to stand trial, so the proceedings were halted. A judge quashed the charge against another because witnesses and evidence that might have helped his defence could not be found.
The investigation of St. Joseph’s expanded to include the St. John’s Training School for Boys, in Uxbridge north of Toronto. There, 10 former members of the staff were charged with physical or sexual abuse. Five of those men were convicted, fourwere acquitted and the charges against one were withdrawn.
By the time the St. Joseph’s charges were laid, the brothers, men with homosexual pedophilia who had caused children pain in the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s, were living in retirement homes owned by the Brothers of Christian Schools. The oldest was 83.
Most members of the French-speaking order are past retirement age and the number who die each year outnumbers recruits.
However, current recruits are much different than the men accepted during the first half of the century, says Maurice Lapointe, the provincial director of the Brothers of the Christian Schools.
In the past, they were streamed into the brotherhood as young as 15; today, the order looks for no one under the age of 20, he says. They must be mature and should have a university degree.
And, as a result of the allegations and convictions, recruits must undergo a psychological evaluation and take a university-level course about sexuality, Lapointe says.
The last four years have been most difficult for Lapointe, the former principal of Ottawa’s Academie de La Salle who has been a brother all his adult life. (Although he spent some time at St. Joseph’s, he was never assigned to work there.)
jthing like this without suffering,” he says.
“It makes you more humble, it reminds you of human frailty.”
Adding to Lapointe’s grief is the knowledge that some current and former members of the order were wrongly accused, and the belief that many other accusations were unfounded.
“Right now, I am the person in charge and to the real victims I am ready to apologize. What I have trouble with is someone who says ‘I’m going to get on the bandwagon.’ I can’t apologize (to him).”
Asked if he would consider running St. Joseph’s today under similar conditions, Lapointe answers with a blunt “no.
“I think they were overworked. (Today) I would want humane conditions and trained staff. Working conditions were inhumane; I would never ask that of my brothers today.”
Cosette Chafe, co-ordinator of Ottawa’s Victim-Witness Program, was assigned to the St. Joseph’s case and got to know most of the men who testified. She believes some of them benefited from testifying but others suffered more.
“For some, the criminal process was therapeutic,” says Chafe. “Particular ly those where there were convictions.”
“Where there weren’t convictions, the initial reaction is that they weren’t believed. Some of them have worked that through and realize that is the way the system works.”
Most prominent among the victims was David McCann.
McCann, the founder and leader of the group of former St. Joseph’s students, was the man credited with starting the investigation. He is also one of the architects of a $13-million compensation deal for the victims.
McCann testified against 67-year-old Lucien Dagenais, a former brother who students called “The Hook” because he had only the middle finger on his left hand. McCann alleged that Dagenais had sodomized him.
During the third day of his testimony, McCann spoke much more softly than he had on the preceding days. His eyes were downcast and his complexion a bright red.
Two hours into his testimony, he burst into tears, left the courtroom, and did not return for two weeks.
McCann went into hiding after the trial, saying that criminals from his past had threatened his life. He re-surfaced during the summer of 1993 to say that he was unhappy with his own cash award of $26,000, part of the compensation deal.
After McCann went into hiding, Grant Hartley, of Ottawa, and Pat Healey, of Oshawa, became co-chairs of the students’ group known as Helpline.
“I think (the trials) probably helped to send the message (to those who would abuse children) that it’s never too late to get caught,” says Crown Attorney Robert Pelletier, who supervised all of the prosecutions.
But the process has been very hard on the dozens of men who came to testify, he says.
“They have had these memories ripped out of them,” and then had their own conduct and personal lives put under the scrutiny of cross-examinat ion. “I think they found it quite tough. If they were asked to do it again, I wouldn’t besurprised if they said no.”
THE COMPENSATION DEAL
The $13-million compensation deal was lauded as historic because, for the first time in Canada, a large group of people — almost 300 men — would get cash, counselling, education and health benefits without having to sue.
The compensation hearings, which are being run by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board, continue.
Contributing to the compensation pot were: the Ontario government, the archdioceses of Ottawa and Toronto, the French-speaking Christian Brothers based in Ottawa.
“The people who were abused are getting helped — there’s a lot to be said for that,” says Ronald Caza, the Ottawa lawyer who represented the Ottawa branch of the Brothers of the Christian Schools during compensation negotiations.
The trials and the compensation talks have been painful for the Ottawa brothers, says Caza.
jeing the compensation process (the diocese is a contributor to the deal).
“It was very painful for us to realize that this happened,” says Powers.
“The main thing we’ve learned is that we must deal with pain as we become aware of it,” he says. “We can never deny, we must face things head on. By facing the pain together, in spite of enormous difficulties . . . we can understand thehuman weaknesses that existed.”
Student abused at reform school to receive $62,000 in compensation
26 September 1993
OTTAWA – One former student of a reform school operated by the Brothers of the Christian Schools will get $62,400 in compensation for his mistreatment at the school, a spokesman for abused former students says.
But, on average, the payouts to former students of the two schools operated by the brothers have been much lower and fall in the range expected, Pat Healey said this week.
While the amounts awarded in the first round of hearings by the provincial Criminal Injuries Compensation Board were much lower than expected, subsequent awards have raised the average, Healey said.
Healey is national co-chairman of Helpline, the organization formed by former students of St. Joseph’s Training School for Boys in Alfred, about 70 kilometres east of Ottawa, and the St. John’s Training School for Boys in Uxbridge, north of Toronto. St. Joseph’s closed in 1974, but St. John’s is still operating.
Both schools were run by the Brothers of the Christian Schools, a lay Roman Catholic order.
In 1991, charges of physical and sexual abuse were laid against 20 of the brothers who worked at St. Joseph’s; all but one of the accused have been to trial.
The average amount awarded to the first 13 students was $16,300, about $10,000 less than was predicted when roughly 300 former students gave up their right to sue the brothers and signed the deal.
But Healey said that others have since been awarded much higher amounts, raising the average to the $26,000 range.
The $13 million compensation deal reached late last year pooled cash contributions from the Ontario government and the Ottawa branch of the brothers, along with about $500,000 from the Roman Catholic Archdioceses of Ottawa and Toronto.
The money is to be distributed according to a formula agreed to by all parties.
The process begins with the Ontario government’s Criminal Injuries Compensation Board.
The former students testify at a hearing of the board, which makes an assessment of suffering and awards compensation.
The amount increases with the severity of the abuse suffered. The brothers pay an extra amount equal to 1.6 times the sum awarded by the board.
THE MIDDLE KINGDOM CHURCH How Catholic bishops hope to heal abuse
Toronto Globe and Mail
01 February 1993
BY JACK KAPICA Religion Reporter A FTER years of barely admitting that a problem existed, Canada’s Catholic bishops now are scrambling to heal horrible wounds.
Canada’s largest denomination, which includes 47 per cent of all Canadians, has been busily installing elaborate systems in reaction to a series of scandals, particularly in Newfoundland and Ontario, that have seen dozens of priests and members of lay orders convicted of sex-abuse crimes over the past five years.
Spearheading the effort was a study guide called Breach of Trust, Breach of Faith issued by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops in March, 1992, after three years of study, and intended for use by the country’s 74 dioceses as an educational guide about sexual abuse.
A few months later, in July, the bishops conference released a 91-page report, called From Pain to Hope. Each diocese, the report said, must take measures to stop sexual abuse by clergy, and pay therapy and counselling costs both for victims and for those whose claims are not proved.
Reasoning that even those who wrongly or mistakenly allege sexual abuse also need pastoral care, the conference’s guidelines may be not only the first of their kind in the world, but also the most sophisticated.
Catholic bishops in the United States beat their Canadian counterparts to the punch by issuing a statement in February, 1992, after a series of charges of sexual abuse. But it’s statement was only one paragraph long, and served mainly to instruct bishops to turn abusers over to civil authorities and “extend pastoral care to the victim and the victim’s family.”
In the future, it is up to individual dioceses to deal with abuse, said Rev. Gregory Smith, vice-chancellor of the Archdiocese of Vancouver. The bishops’ conference has little jurisdiction over diocesan budgets.
In matters of pastoral guidance, however, the conference can and does make recommendations. One of its main points was to insist that dioceses respond compassionately and immediately to all charges.
As examples of this directive, two programs – one in Newfoundland, the other in Ontario – are the most comprehensive.
The Archdiocese of St. John’s is home to the infamous Mount Cashel orphanage, where hundreds of allegations of child abuse by the lay order that ran the institution resulted in eight convictions.
Although the archdiocese was not responsible for the orphanage, Archbishop James MacDonald has implemented wide-ranging preventive systems and a comprehensive program of pastoral care to victims of sexual abuse, said his executive assistant, Maxine Davis.
As one of its first actions, the archdiocese has committed itself to spending $1-million for a chair of child protection at Memorial University’s School of Social Work, at a cost of $100,000 a year for 10 years.
The archdiocese has also created a manual outlining policy and procedures to follow in the case of a complaint, response teams in each of Newfoundland’s 43 Catholic parishes, a victims advocacy board and a bursary program to train counsellors and therapists.
Meanwhile, Ottawa Archbishop Marcel Gervais and Toronto Archbishop Aloysius Ambrozic have kicked in about $300,000 each to a $5-million fund to help victims of sexual abuse at two training schools, St. Joseph’s in Alfred, Ont., and St. John’s in Uxbridge, Ont.
The two reform schools, neither of which answers to a diocese, stress that any money donated is for pastoral care only, and not an admission of any complicity.
The Congregation of the Brothers of the Christian Schools, based in Toronto, is another order entirely. It ran the Uxbridge school (and Mount Cashel) and has neither agreed to join Ontario’s Helpline fund nor set up any compensation package as the result of sexual abuse alleged to have been committed at Uxbridge.
Helpline was created after a series of allegations were made by David McCann, a former resident of St. Joseph’s in Alfred. Mr. McCann, a police informer, has recently gone into a witness protection program.
After studying the example of the Archdiocese of St. John’s, Mr. McCann’s organization produced the 55-page Helpline Reconciliation Model Agreement.
The agreement provides for apologies to victims and a counsellor, who listens to victims sympathetically. A Reconciliation Process Implementation Committee has also been set up, which includes compensation and counselling packages.
In Toronto, there have been a couple of charges of sexual abuse by clergy, said the archdiocese’s judicial vicar, Monsignor Ed Boehler, but no convictions. “Child abuse is very rare here,” he said. “Nothing like Newfoundland.”
Nevertheless, Father Boehler has been charged with investigating all complaints, “even from 30 or 40 years ago.”
In Vancouver, where two priests have been charged, the archdiocese has decided to send all priests to conferences on child sexual abuse, said Rev. Gregory Smith, the vice-chancellor.
In a policy still undergoing revision for the next month, Father Smith said that each person charging sexual abuse will be able to plead the case before the archbishop himself.
“One thing about us,” he said, “is that we’re quick learners. You don’t have to do any head-banging to get your case heard.”
Key witness in reform school sex abuse probe goes into hiding
The Vancouver Sun
06 January 1993
OTTAWA – David McCann has sold his belonging , said goodbye to his friends and gone into hiding.
The man who initiated the largest sex abuse investigation in Canadian history and recently helped negotiate a $13-million compensation package for victims of two Ontario reform schools has resigned as head of Helpline, the victims’ organization, and can no longer be reached.
“There is no contact (with McCann) from this point on,” said Tina Lentz, coordinator of Helpline. Helpline was created by McCann and other former students of the St. Joseph’s Training School for Boys in Alfred.
Lentz said McCann, a former drug dealer who became a police informant for the RCMP, has been placed in the national police force’s witness protection program, which means he’s been given a new identity and a new home.
During the second week in December, McCann held an auction at his farm just outside Kingston. He sold the land, his machinery, his livestock and his personal possessions.
Grant Hartley, of Ottawa, who was a co-founder of Helpline, said McCann called him on Dec. 27 to say goodbye. He said McCann gave him the impression they would never speak to each other again.
“He said he wouldn’t be able to keep in touch,” said Hartley. Both Hartley and McCann recently testified against former Christian brother Lucien Dagenais in a trial in L’Orignal. Dagenais was convicted Dec. 8 of sodomizing McCann and of physically assaulting Hartley.
Dagenais was one of 20 current or former Christian brothers charged with physical or sexual abuse of students at St. Joseph’s, a reform school in Alfred, about 70 kilometres east of Ottawa. It closed in 1974. McCann was a student there in the early 1960s and said he was twice raped by Dagenais.
A group of about 300 former students of that school and of St. John’s Training School for Boys, which still operates in Uxbridge north of Toronto, reached an agreement Dec. 11 with the Ontario government, the Roman Catholic archdioceses of Ottawa and Toronto and the Ottawa branch of the Brothers of the Christian Schools.
The agreement will pay abused students a cash settlement and give them up to $14,000 worth of education, medical, dental and counselling benefits.
In an interview in December, McCann said he was planning to go into hiding because of death threats he had received after he testified at Dagenais’s trial.
McCann was to be a witness against another member of the Brothers of the Christian Schools later this year but said he would not be back for that trial, in which a Christian brother is charged with assault causing bodily harm to McCann.
The threats, he said, came from people he had helped convict of drug dealing in the mid and late 1980s. He accused Dagenais’s lawyers of putting him in danger by resurrecting his life as a drug informant in an unsuccessful bid to discredit him.
Gary Provost, of Kingston, was one of the people that McCann helped convict of conspiring to traffic methamphetamine in the late 1980s. Provost made the trip from Kingston to L’Orignal to watch McCann testify at Dagenais’s trial in December.
Provost also showed up at McCann’s house for the auction and was escorted off the property by Ontario Provincial Police officers at McCann’s request.
Provost says that if McCann received death threats, they weren’t from him.
Abused students to get $13M
The Ottawa Citizen
12 December 1992
The former students of two Ontario reform schools run by the Brothers of the Christian Schools have signed a historic compensation agreement worth an estimated $13 million.
The 300 members of Helpline, the students’ organization, agreed to a compensation package that excludes the Toronto branch of the lay Roman Catholic order. It is otherwise similar to a larger one proposed in August that the Toronto brothers refused to sign.
The deal struck Friday will be financed by the Ottawa branch of the Brothers, the Ontario government and the Roman Catholic archdiocese of both Ottawa and Toronto.
The original agreement, valued at about $16 million, included an estimated contribution of about $3 million from the Toronto brothers. The one agreed to Friday is almost identical to the original, minus the money that was to have come from the Toronto branch.
“We think that the partial agreement will satisfy the majority of the needs of most Helpline members,” said David McCann, Helpline‘s chairman.
The Ottawa brothers ran the St. Joseph’s Training School for Boys in Alfred and the Toronto brothers still own and operate the St. John’s Training School for Boys in Uxbridge, north of Toronto.
The two branches are independent of one another and independent of the Roman Catholic Church of Canada.
McCann thanked the Ottawa branch of the Brothers for participating in the negotiations and signing the agreement but he criticized the Toronto branch for ignoring the process.
The group is threatening the Toronto order with a $300 million lawsuit if they do not change their position and come up with the $3 million McCann says they should contribute.
“I want to warn the Toronto brothers that they will be facing a different kind (of opponent),” in the courtroom, said McCann.
Toronto lawyer Mel O’Donohue, who represents the Toronto brothers, said that the threat of a $300 million lawsuit is absurd.
“Why don’t they make it an even $500 million and I will see them in court,” said O’Donohue in a telephone interview. “Mr. McCann apparently thinks he can scare the Christian brothers of Toronto into paying $3 million out of court.”
The situation the Toronto brothers are facing is much different than that of the Ottawa brothers, said O’Donohue.
While 20 current or former members of the Ottawa order have been charged with sexual or physical assaults, only eight from the school in Uxbridge have been charged. Of those eight, two have already been found not guilty and one pleaded guilty to a charge of common assault, for which he was not jailed.
“There’s just no comparison,” to the school in Alfred, said O’Donohue, and nothing to justify paying out $3 million.
“Our position is that the St. John’s Training School for Boys is a well-run school and it has been for 100 years,” said O’Donohue.
While the St. John’s school is still open, St. Joseph’s was closed in 1974.
Of the 20 Alfred brothers charged, five have been convicted, one has been acquitted, the charges against three have been stayed and the charges against one were dropped because of the poor credibility of the witness who was to testify against him. The others are still before the courts.
Without the money from the Toronto branch, the 300 eligible members of the students’ organization will get a smaller cash settlement than provided by the original deal. But all of the medical, dental and educational benefits, worth on average $14,000, will remain the same, said McCann.
The average cash settlement is expected to be $26,000. Each of the members of Helpline must apply for compensation and their claims will be heard by representatives of Ontario’s Criminal Injuries Compensation Board, said McCann.
Sex abuse victim used cocaine, trial told
11 November 1992
L’ORIGNAL, Ont. – The man who exposed allegations of sexual abuse at two schools operated by Christian Brothers in Ontario admitted to having a serious dependency on drugs 10 years ago.
David Richard McCann told an Ontario Court jury he quit “cold turkey” after being arrested by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police for trying to smuggle cocaine into Canada.
McCann, 46, said he spent between $300 and $1,000 a week to feed his cocaine habit.
He was being questioned while providing evidence at the trial of Lucien Dagenais, 66, who was charged with 18 counts of assault following abuse complaints by several former students at the now defunct St. Joseph’s Training School in Alfred, midway between Ottawa and Montreal.
McCann, who helped establish Helpline, an organization to assist students who had been abused while attending training schools in Alfred and Uxbridge, has complained of being sodomized by Dagenais.
While undergoing questioning by defence counsel Gilles Charlebois, McCann said he was sent to the training school at the age of 12 in 1958.
McCann testified earlier that he began working undercover as a confidential informant in both Canada and the U.S. to avoid being sent to jail on the importing charge.
He told the court he’s seeking compensation in the mid-range of the $4,000 to $25,000 available to victims.
The trial resumes tomorrow.1
Assault witness under fire; St. Joseph accuser has led life of lies, defence lawyers say
The Ottawa Citizen
10 November 1992
L’ORIGNAL — He was the man who started it all, the man who was the first to come forward with accusations of sexual abuse at the St. Joseph’s Training School for Boys. On Monday, he was accused of being a professional liar and a con man.
David McCann, whose allegations started an investigation that led to 19 former members of the staff being charged with almost 200 charges of physical and sexual abuse, spent 20 minutes detailing his accusation and the rest of the day defending himself.
He is the fourth of 11 witnesses scheduled to testify against Lucien Dagenais, 67, who is charged with 10 counts of sexual abuse and eight counts of assault causing bodily harm to students between 1953 and 1963.
McCann was accused of lying about the reasons he was sent to the reform school in 1958, of lying about having a university degree and of using a forged transcript of marks to get into medical school. (He dropped out of McMaster medical school before the end of his first year.)
McCann denied all of the allegations.
McCann said that Dagenais, who was nicknamed “The Hook” because of his deformed left hand that has only a middle finger, twice came to his bed during the night and told McCann to follow him. Both times, Dagenais led McCann to a shower area and sodomized him, McCann said.
The team of lawyers on Dagenais’s side of the courtroom doubled in size Monday when McCann took the witness stand, the first time he has testified in one of the cases.
Ottawa lawyer Gilles Charlebois is defending Dagenais with the help of Ottawa lawyer Jean Legault. But Toronto lawyer Peter Shoniker and another man arrived Monday to conduct the cross-examination of McCann, and they came well prepared.
They had transcripts from the court hearing in 1958 that put him in the school. (He had committed six break-and-enter thefts within two weeks.)
They had transcripts from his appearance on Geraldo Rivera’s American talk show and the transcript from a similar Canadian show. They had letters from the American university he says gave him a bachelor of science degree in the early 1970s and they had transcripts of other court cases in which he was a witness since 1985.
McCann told the six men and six women on the jury that for the four years prior to the investigation of the school, he worked as an agent for police, luring drug kings into making deals that would earn them lengthy jail terms.
Shoniker suggested McCann’s job as a police agent, which he got after he was nabbed trying to bring a pound of cocaine into Canada, required him to lie constantly.
“You became pretty proficient at this, didn’t you?” asked Shoniker.
“Yes, I was considered a good C.I. (co-operating individual),” McCann answered. He said he had to lie to get the trust of the people he was helping to put behind bars. But, “I’m not lying here on the (witness) stand.”
The charges against McCann related to his own cocaine smuggling were stayed in 1985. Shoniker suggested that McCann, who was paid for his work with police, was motivated by greed as well when he told his story of abuse at St. Joseph’s.
“It’s the same motivation, isn’t it? You know there’s money at the end,” said Shoniker.
Shoniker accused McCann of underplaying the reasons he was sent to the school in Alfred when he was 12.d.
Reading from the transcript of the Geraldo show, Shoniker quotes McCann as saying: “I was basically sent to St. Joseph’s for being a truant.”
McCann replied by pointing to another paragraph in the same transcript where he said he had committed petty crimes and “nuisance offences.”
“Six break and enters in a week and a half, you call these nuisance offences? Why do you tell stories that minimize the reasons you were sent to Alfred?” asked Shoniker.
Modified deal considered for reform school victims
The Ottawa Citizen
01 October 1992
An alternative deal could salvage the historic compensation package for victims of abuse at two Ontario reform schools.
Technically, the $16-million agreement became void at midnight because one group, the Brothers of the Christian Schools of Toronto, did not sign. The offer was contingent on all six groups involved signing by Sept. 30.
But the other parties have already discussed a modification of the original package.
“With all the work that has been done, it would be insane to let that go down the drain,” said Ottawa lawyer Ronald Caza, who represents the Ottawa branch of the Brothers of the Christian Schools.
“The contract is legally dead but the process (of negotiation) continues,” said Ottawa lawyer Roger Tucker, who is the legal adviser for Helpline, the organization of former students of St. Joseph’s Training School for Boys in Alfred, 70 kilometres east of Ottawa, and St. John’s Training School for Boys in Uxbridge, north of Toronto.
The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Ottawa, the Archdiocese of Toronto, the Ontario government, the Brothers of the Christian Schools in Ottawa and Helpline have all signed the original deal.
The modified version would mean less money for alleged victims of abuse at the Toronto-area school, said lawyer Peter Lauwers, who represents the Archdiocese of Toronto.
The alternative deal would work this way: The victims of abuse at the Alfred school would get the same amount of money as set out in the original agreement. On average, they would get an estimated $10,000 cash from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board of Ontario, another $16,000 from the Ottawa brothers who ran the school, and be eligible for another $14,000 worth of medical, dental, educational and counselling benefits from a fund created by the various groups.
The former students of the Toronto school would get less. They would get roughly the same settlements, minus the sum of cash from the Toronto brothers. In other words, instead of getting an average of $26,000 cash, they would get just $10,000.
However, the alleged victims of abuse at St. John’s will not have given up their right to sue the Toronto brothers and the lay Roman Catholic order could be facing more than 240 individual lawsuits, said Helpline president David McCann. McCann said his first priority now is to get a majority of the members of Helpline to agree to a modified deal. And he said he will continue to pressure the Toronto brothers into accepting the original package.
ALFRED ABUSE CASE: Brothers’ inaction threatens settlement
The Ottawa Citizen
30 September 1992
The silence of a group of Christian brothers in Toronto is threatening a $16-million compensation package for former students of two Ontario reform schools.
Today was the deadline for acceptance of the deal and everyone is on board except the Brothers of the Christian Schools of Toronto, who have not been heard from in months.
Even the lawyer who represents the Ottawa branch of the same order is wondering what the Toronto brothers are thinking.
“They are not here and I don’t know why,” said Ottawa lawyer Ronald Caza Tuesday. “If they don’t sign, it can’t be ratified.”
Toronto lawyer Melville O’Donohue represents the Toronto brothers. He did not return calls Tuesday.
At stake is a compensation package that would give victims of abuse at the St. Joseph’s Training School for Boys in Alfred, about 70 kilometres east of Ottawa, and of St. John’s Training School in Uxbridge, north of Toronto, a lump sum of cash and a variety of other benefits.
The membership of Helpline, the group that represents the former students, has voted overwhelmingly in favor of accepting the deal. Of the 282 members eligible to vote for the deal, only four voted against it, said David McCann, Helpline president.
“I don’t know what the Christian brothers of Toronto will do,” McCann said Tuesday. “They are not talking to anybody. They haven’t said no, so hope burns eternal.”
Only one holdout
There are six groups that all must sign the agreement in order for it to be ratified: The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Ottawa, the Archdiocese of Toronto, Helpline, the government of Ontario, the Brothers of the Christian Schools of Ottawa and the Toronto sect, the only group not to sign.
“I hate to think what would happen if this deal doesn’t fly,” said McCann.
The proposed deal would give each victim average compensation worth about $40,000, of which about $26,000 would be cash. The balance would come from medical, dental and education benefits. The amount given to each former student will be decided by a member of Ontario’s Criminal Injuries Compensation Board.
Those who sign the agreement give up their right to sue the religious order, the Catholic Church and the government for their treatment at the schools.
Nineteen current or former members of the order were charged last year by the Ontario Provincial Police in relation to the treatment of students at the St. Joseph’s school in Alfred in the 1950s, ’60s and early ’70s before the school closed down. There was a similar investigation of St. John’s.
Two brothers from the Alfred school have pleaded guilty, three have been found guilty at trial, one has been acquitted and another was spared a trial because he has suffered brain damage from a stroke since the school closed in 1974. The others have yet to have their trials.
McCann said he didn’t know what would happen if the deal isn’t ratified by all six parties. Other options have been discussed but no one knows if they’re viable.
One possibility is that the five groups who support the agreement would go ahead with it anyway, reducing the value of the package by about $3 million — the amount the Toronto brothers are supposed to contribute.
But it is also possible that, if the Toronto group doesn’t participate, others will want out too. In a worst-case scenario, the whole deal could be scrapped.
“We’ve gone too far to stop,” McCann said, adding he would do everything he could to save the deal.
95% of schools’ sex-abuse victims okay $16 million deal
The Toronto Star
11 September 1992
OTTAWA – More than 95 per cent of the victims of sexual and physical abuse at two Roman Catholic training schools contacted to date have voted to accept a $16 million compensation package.
More than 400 and perhaps as many as 500 former students of St. Joseph’s Training School for Boys in Alfred, Ont., and St. John Training School for Boys at Uxbridge would be eligible for assistance.
“This isn’t about money, it’s about reconciliation and healing,” David McCann, chairperson of Helpline, a group representing the abuse survivors, told a news conference today.
“The focus of the victims has been how long will they get counselling or what education programs can they get into.”
The reconciliation agreement was worked out after 20 months of negotiations between Helpline, the Brothers of Christian Schools of Ottawa, the Ontario government and the Catholic Archdioceses of Toronto and Ottawa.
McCann said for the agreement to be ratified 95 per cent of all of Helpline‘s members must approve. So far, only two of the 300 victims compensated have voted to go to court to fight for more money.
Helpline officially represents 361 people as of June 30. McCann said since then another 123 victims have come forward. He said Helpline would like to contact all of them before the Sept. 30 ratification deadline.
“I am confident that the 95 per cent ratification requirement will be met,” he said.
Each victim would receive approximately $30,000. Other features of the package include counselling services, apologies, vocational rehabilitation and funding for medical and dental needs.
“You can’t put a price on an apology,” McCann said.
Helpline has so far held 15 meetings with victims and has scheduled more in the future, including one in Vancouver.
Nearly 200 charges, ranging from buggery to assault, have been laid against 29 members and former members of the Brothers of the Christian Schools order.
ALFRED SEX ABUSE: Victims support payment
The Ottawa Citizen
10 September 1992
With more than half of the votes already in, the compensation package offered to the victims of abuse at St. Joseph’s Training School for Boys in Alfred is well on its way to being accepted.
Of 249 votes cast so far, only two are against the $16-million deal, David McCann said Wednesday. McCann is chairman of Helpline, a group that represents roughly 400 former students of St. Joseph’s and St. John’s Training School for Boys north of Toronto.
Both schools were run by the Brothers of the Christian Schools, a lay Roman Catholic order.
The offer made to the former students must be accepted by 95 per cent of Helpline‘s membership by Sept. 30 to be ratified.
McCann is now going across the country holding meetings with members to discuss the deal and take their votes. McCann said he has been surprised by the overwhelming support for the offer.
“I thought it (the 95 per cent minimum) was a tough target. Now I don’t think we will have any problem meeting it,” said McCann. “They are voting well over 98 per cent in favor of the agreement.”
Some of the men have come to the meetings with their lawyers, said McCann, and nine of those lawyers have told their clients to accept the deal. Two lawyers have advised their clients to reject it and opt to sue the religious order and the government in the hope of getting more money.
Those who sign the agreement give up their right to sue the religious order, the Catholic Church and the government for their treatment at the schools.
It promises an average compensation worth about $40,000, of which about $26,000 would be cash. The balance would come from medical, dental and education benefits. The amount given to each former student would be decided by a member of Ontario’s Criminal Injuries Compensation Board.
McCann said Helpline looked long and hard at the possibility of suing rather than signing an agreement but decided that going through the courts left the outcome unpredictable and would be extremely difficult for its members.
Ottawa lawyer Stephen Appotive, who represents one former student, believes some men could get larger settlements if they sue.
“It may be a good deal for some but not for others,” said Appotive.
Ron Caza, the lawyer representing the Christian brothers, said that the structure of the deal could allow the most severely abused to collect up to $100,000 within a year.
Caza and Appotive agree that going through the courts would mean a delay of a minimum of two years and it could easily be up to five years.
Abuse victims reach pact with church and province
14 August 1992
A reconciliation agreement involving the largest sexual abuse scandal in Canadian history may soon be ratified.
Details of the agreement between approximately 400 men who reported sexual abuse, the Catholic church and the provincial government were released at a news conference yesterday.
The allegations of abuse at two Ontario Catholic reform schools surfaced in 1990. A total of 28 Christian Brothers and one employee were charged with close to 200 counts of sexual abuse ranging from indecent assault to buggery.
The key to the agreement, according to David McCann, chair of Helpline – the association of former students – is that the government and church will provide counselling and make formal apologies to the men involved.
“The victims were consulted and asked ‘what do you want?’ and what comes across very clearly are questions about counselling and questions about apologies,” said Roger Tucker, lawyer for Helpline.
The agreement also provides for compensation, funding for medical and dental needs, vocational training and the services of a recorder to document the victims’ experiences and make recommendations to prevent institutional abuse.
“It calls for the implementation of a program designed to have the flexibility to address the specific needs of the individual,” said convenor Douglas Roach.
“(The agreement) certainly indicates that the church is taking some responsibility. It’s being accountable for the behavior of the clergy,” said Lynda Rose, a board member of Aftermath, an organization for survivors of childhood sexual abuse.
The total cost of the agreement could reach as high as $16.1 million, said Roche.
It is expected that the average amount of compensation for each man could be in the range of $40,000, Tucker said.
“We have looked at this as an alternative to, say, civil action,” McCann said.
“No court can offer counselling and no court can order apologies,” he said, but the agreement “meets my most overriding concern – that no other child will have to suffer the kind of abuse I suffered.”
“I hope it will lead to something for women who have been through similar experiences,” added Aftermath board member Connie Paul.
The cost of the programs will be met by the Brothers of the Christian Schools of Ottawa, the government of Ontario, and the Archdioceses of Ottawa and Ontario, all of whom have ratified the agreement.
The agreement has until Sept. 30 to be ratified by members of Helpline, the Brothers of the Christian Schools of Ontario and the St. John’s Training School corporation.
“I think we have reached a very fair agreement,” McCann said. “I am going to strongly recommend that the membership review this agreement and vote in favor of it.”
The voting will take place over the next month at points across the country.
Police investigation into charges of abuse at the two schools – St. Joseph’s Training School for Boys in Alfred – 65 kilometres (40 miles) east of Ottawa – and St. John’s in Uxbridge – northeast of Toronto – are still underway, McCann said.
“There is still a strong possibility of other charges being laid.”
Reform-school abuse victims offered $16M; Taxpayers to foot $6M of bill
The Ottawa Citizen
14 August 1992
Victims of beatings and sexual abuse at two Ontario training schools were offered compensation worth more than $16 million Thursday — including $6 million from taxpayers’ pockets.
The deal, offered to about 400 former students of St. Joseph’s Training School in Alfred and St. John’s Training School near Toronto, includes formal apologies, counselling and other measures to help restart lives derailed by sexual abuse.
It comes after almost two years of negotiation between the Ontario government, the lay order Brothers of the Christian Schools, the Roman Catholic Church and representatives of the former training school students.
But the Toronto-area Christian Brothers — who were supposed to contribute $3 million to the package — have not yet agreed to the deal and didn’t show up for Thursday’s press conference announcing it.
Some former students indicated they are not pleased with the proposal either.
“It’s not much. They’re getting away dirt cheap,” said Gerry Sirois, 52, a former St. Joseph’s student now living in Timmins.
Major contributors to the package are the provincial government, which would kick in slightly more than $6 million, and the Christian Brothers, who ran the St. Joseph Training School for Boys in Alfred until 1974. They agreed to chip in $5.9 million.
Alfred is about 70 kilometres east of Ottawa.
Spokesman Jean-Marc Cantin said the order wants to right the wrongs of the past: “The Brothers of the Christian Schools will contribute generously.”
The package would remove former students’ right to launch individual civil suits. And there would be no public inquiry.
“We’ve lived with this 30 years-plus,” said Grant Hartley, a former St. Joseph’s student. “Do you think (this package) is going to wipe it out of their minds? No, it’s going to be in their minds. But this might help alleviate some of their problems.”
The abuse was first made public in 1989 and led to a police investigation that resulted in hundreds of criminal charges. In Ottawa, three Christian brothers have been convicted in the criminal courts and one acquitted. Charges against another were stayed. Fourteen more people go to trial later this year.
Behind the scenes, steady negotiations to compensate the victims have been chaired by Douglas Roche, a former Canadian disarmament ambassador.
“This agreement will have provided an unprecedented community healing and reconciliation process,” Roche said Thursday. “There is no record in North America of any initiative with as much promise to address the consequences of the abuse reported in these cases.”
The agreement still must be formally accepted by Helpline, an umbrella group of about 300 victims of alleged abuse. Individual members of the group have until Sept. 30 to reply. Helpline representatives said they expect the deal to be approved.
The package calls for the appointment of a “recorder” with an annual budget of $93,000 to write the history of the scandal and make recommendation s to prevent future abuses.
At least one expert was critical of the large provincial contribution.
“It’s today’s taxpayer and today’s Roman Catholic that is going to pay for these things. Where is the money going to come from to pay this $16 million?” asked Michael MacEachern, publisher of the The Orator , a Catholic newsletter.
The Ontario government knew about abuses at St. Joseph’s as early as 1960, but did not take action.
Thursday’s agreement would not mean an automatic payout. Abuse victims will have to apply for compensation, the way victims of crimes now apply to the provincial Criminal Injuries Compensation Board.
Officers from the criminal injuries board would be loaned to a special committee to hear evidence. If a claim is determined to be valid, payment would be granted by the province, up to a maximum of $10,000.
That amount would be substantially topped up by the Christian Brothers, more than doubling the final payout.
The deal also calls for paid medical and dental services, compensation for lost wages, counselling, vocational rehabilitation, education upgrading and literacy training. Ex-students’ legal costs would be covered.
“Those actions will restore a lot of people’s faith in those institutions,” said Richard McCann, a Helpline spokesman.
The agreement warns Helpline members that “improper claims will jeopardize this process, which depends, for its success on continued co-operation and trust.”
The compensation hearings will be conducted in private in accordance with the victims’ wishes, said Ben Hoffman, the president of an Ottawa conflict resolution company who has been appointed the official recorder.
He said the outcome of the hearings — including the amount of any award — might not make up a part of his public report if that is the wish of the particular victims.
“It isn’t to close the door on the public. It’s to provide a degree of safety for the victims,” he said.
But the provincial government will still have to account for its spending, he noted. “There will be a line on it in the Ministry of the Attorney General’s budget or whatever.”
MacEachern said he was concerned that closed-door hearings might lead to the guilty parties not being punished. He said he wasn’t convinced the committee would turn over all relevant information to police.
“I’m concerned the whole legal process is going to slip away here,” he said.
‘I forgave these people a long time ago’; Former student of reform school just wants issue of abuse aired
The Ottawa Citizen
15 February 1991
Just before David McCann walked in to face the press Thursday, the cop in charge of investigating his allegations slapped him on the back and said, “Good Luck.”
Luck had nothing to do with it.
McCann was there because he speaks for the boys from the St. Joseph’s Training School in Alfred. He’s getting used to the media. He and others who once lived at the reform school say they were physically and sexually abused there.
If that means telling television talk-show host Geraldo Riviera in front of millions that he was raped as a kid, so be it.
It was dogged persistence by McCann, not luck, that resulted Thursday in the announcement that 19 former teachers at the school face 149 charges of assault and buggery. The men, current and former Christian brothers, range in age from 45 to 81.
The charges involve 177 alleged victims over four decades at the now defunct school, 70 kilometres east of Ottawa.
The exposure of abuse at Newfoundland’s Mount Cashel orphanage encouraged him to believe people might take his allegations seriously. A newspaper reporter, with McCann’s help, found evidence of a 1960 government cover-up, and the story made screaming headlines.
McCann says he’s trying to raise attention about the scourge of juvenile sex abuse, and has no interest in seeing a group of old men paraded off to jail. Some of the men charged Thursday were trusted with his care back in 1959-61.
“I forgave these people a long time ago.
“This isn’t the most important part of my life,” he says of the work that takes 70 hours a week and used up nearly all his $70,000 savings. “I’ve had four or five careers. This is just something I have to do right now.”
David Richard McCann, 44, doesn’t look like the hero the other former schoolboys consider him to be. Nor does he look like a former reform school inmate.
That’s partly because he disappeared to Southern California for seven years in the ’60s to avoid going to jail for break and enter. He used the time to get an education, earning a science degree, then came home and gave himself up for several months of prison.
Since then, he’s built and renovated houses and bought a farm near Kingston. He even put in a couple of years in Ottawa as a government consultant for saving energy, where he learned about bureaucracy.
A brief marriage ended a couple of years ago, leaving his time his own.
The farmhouse is strewn with books and magazines. He says he’d rather drink a $60 bottle of wine occasionally with some friends than slug a beer.
His quiet intelligence, (from his mother), and his bent for non-stop work (from his father’s side), go a long way these days with powerful people.
“There’s no two ways about it,” says MP Peter Kormos, who often dealt with McCann as the NDP’s attorney-general critic. “David McCann, with a great deal of courage, has persisted to bring this to the surface.
“His tenacity is formidable. He’s like a junkyard dog with the issue, never giving up.”
Powerful influence is almost unknown to the Alfred boys.
“Almost all of them came from families with no resources to fight the system,” says McCann, whose father never made more than $9,100 a year as a military cook.
Some of the police he dealt with at the beginning of the investigation were unsure of his motives or even his honesty. He had a record. He seemed obsessed, they said privately, maybe even close to the edge.
As far as he’s concerned, the enormity of Thursday’s charges does the explaining.
“This was an important day for a lot of people. It lent validity to what they’ve been saying. It showed somebody finally believed them.”
McCann’s mother believed him. She even tried to complain, but was ignored by the people she complained to. She tried to talk to her son, but he avoided the issue.
By the time he was ready to talk about it last year, she’d developed Alzheimer’s disease and couldn’t appreciate this latest part of his life. For the first time, his three sisters gave him the support he needed.
So at the end of a long day, McCann sat back and thought about things.
“I’ve essentially come to grips with what happened. Some (innocent Christian brothers) will be tarred, scarred by all this, and I’d like to apologize to them for that, although it’s not my fault.
“Please remember that both in the agencies and the institutions involved, there were many good people who are not in any way implicated or involved in these allegations of child abuse.
“It’s taken a long time for me to be at peace with myself. But now I’m taking that time and I’m getting to be someone I like.”
19 Ottawa lay brothers face 149 abuse charges Allegations span 30 years at former training school
Toronto Globe and Mail
15 February 1991
Ottawa ONT — BY SUSAN DELACOURT Parliamentary Bureau OTTAWA Nineteen members of a Roman Catholic lay order are facing a total of 149 charges in relation to allegations of sexual and physical abuse at an Ottawa-area training school for boys.
The accused, all Brothers of the Christian Schools, range in age from 48 to 81. The allegations span 30 years from 1941 to 1971. The charges, announced yesterday by the Ontario Provincial Police, range from indecent assault to gross indecency and buggery.
The case has been described as “Ontario’s Mount Cashel” and one of the largest sexual-abuse investigations conducted by the OPP. During the one-year police probe, 177 former students of St. Joseph’s Training School in Alfred, Ont., identified themselves as victims of alleged abuse.
“I believe it’s the largest case that has come forward, certainly the largest that I know of,” said Superintendent Wib Craig, head of the OPP criminal investigations branch. As well, at least a dozen more charges are said to be pending in relation to a school run by the same order of Christian Brothers in Uxbridge, Ont.
For the St. Joseph complainants, represented at yesterday’s OPP press conference by David McCann, the charges were hailed as at least a partial answer to some painful questions and memories.
Mr. McCann, a lawyer and former resident of St. Joseph’s school, said the charges do not represent revenge or vindication, but a signal that the complainants can move on with the rest of their lives.
“Canadians as a whole want this issue dealt with and they want it dealt with in a positive way,” Mr. McCann said.
“The court proceedings will close maybe a chapter for the government. In my search for inner peace and for! other victims, it will be an ongoing process.”
The complainants are now turning their attention to the Ontario government for a public inquiry, similar to the probe launched to investigate allegations of sexual abuse cases at Mount Cashel orphanage in Newfoundland.
So far, the province has appointed a committee to examine the allegations, and it has heard from more than 200 former students, but no findings or decisions have yet been issued.
“There are a lot of recommendations that can come out of that kind of inquiry: what can we do for victims; what can we do for the accused; what can we do to stop this? ” Mr. McCann said.
Former residents are also looking into the possibility of various civil suits against individuals and institutions such as the Ontario government and the Roman Catholic Church.
St. Joseph’s, which had a reputation as a tough, last-resort reform school for young boys in need of discipline, was run by the Christian Brothers for the Ontario government from 1933 to 1974. The province itself ran the institution from 1974 until the school closed in 1984.
The allegations of abuse at the school were not new to the Ontario government. In 1960, a report was filed after complaints of abuse, but the findings were quietly filed away as confidential and the only result of the probe was the transfer of two Christian Brothers.
It was the release of that report, 30 years later, that stirred the recent OPP investigation and the laying of charges this week.
Mr. McCann said he refuses to be bitter about that probe. “I can’t change history,” he said, “I can only deal with what I’m looking at today.”
Supt. Craig also resisted any judgment on that investigation. “We’re talking about a situation of 30 years ago in that area, and the decision at that time was to take the action that they took. . . . I think they investigated it and made the decisions that they felt were appropriate at the time.”
Most of the Christian Brothers charged in relation to the allegations at St. Joseph’s are still living in and around the Ottawa area. Some face as many as 30 charges, some as few as two.
The OPP laid 69 charges of assault causing bodily harm, 59 of indecent assault, 14 of buggery, five of gross indecency and two of attempted buggery.
The charges carry sentences on conviction ranging from five years to life imprisonment.
Cabinet to consider Alfred proposals
The Ottawa Citizen
17 November 1990
Ontario Health Minister Evelyn Gigantes will present cabinet colleagues next week with proposals for public action from former students of an Alfred reform school who allege they were physically and sexually abused.
The group representing the alleged abuse victims is optimistic that it has found a strong supporter in Gigantes, David McCann said Friday.
McCann is chairman of the St. Joseph’s and St. John’s Training School for Boys Helpline, an organization including more than 250 people who say they were abused.
McCann, who met with Gigantes Friday afternoon, said the minister is to inform his group of the result of cabinet discussions next Friday.
“I think they’re all worthy of consideration and I’ll be talking to the other members of cabinet about them,” Gigantes said.
Catholic bishops vow to end silence on child sexual abuse by priests
The Ottawa Citizen
12 June 1992
Canada’s Catholic bishops say they have broken forever the wall of silence regarding sexual abuse of children by priests.
In its final report, released Thursday, the bishops’ committee on sexual abuse recommended a policy of complete openness with judicial authorities, the public and the media on all incidents of sexual abuse.
In the past six years, more than 70 priests and members of religious orders across Canada have been charged by police with sexual offences.
”The credibility of the Canadian church has been undermined. This cannot continue,” said Vancouver’s Archbishop Adam Exner, one of seven committee members.
In many cases, church authorities have been so afraid of scandal that they tried to keep such offences from the public, Exner said, ”but that silence has been tremendously damaging, and has protected the abusers.”
The committee’s 92-page report makes 50 recommendations, to be considered by the country’s bishops at their plenary session in August.
Giving immediate attention to allegations of sexual abuse against a priest, and suspending him from duties within 24 hours when it seems warranted.
Having each diocese draw up its own policy on how to deal with sexual abuse, and naming diocesan officials and advisory committees of professionals to deal with such complaints.
Setting up separate advisory panels to help victims get treatment, counselling and any other assistance needed.
Preparing a code of ethics for clergy, and an improved process of formation for candidates for the priesthood, including the appointment of mentors for seminarians and newly graduated priests.
Exner predicted the bishops will act on the recommendations because of pressure from lay people and clergy across the country. More than 30 experts worked for more than two years to help prepare the report.
The bishops’ report is courageous, said David McCann, spokesman for former students who say they were physically and sexually abused by members of a lay Catholic order that ran St. Joseph’s Training School in Alfred, southeast of Ottawa. One member and one former member of the order have been convicted, and 17 others are awaiting trial on a number of charges.
But McCann said that it will take more than a written report to change the attitudes of the church and society.
And McCann questioned the bishops’ recommendation that, under tightly controlled circumstances, a few priests convicted of sexual abuse of children might be allowed to resume parish ministry after treatment.
”All the research on pedophilia says that such people are not really treatable. The church has a lot of other jobs where these men can serve.”
The report says most priests convicted of abuse will probably retire, have their clerical status revoked, or remain priests but without exercising any pastoral ministry.
Convicted priests should also contribute financially towards victims’ legal and medical costs and any necessary psychotherapy, the report says.
Shortly after the report was released, Ottawa’s Archbishop Marcel Gervais said he has already appointed an advisory committee including a psychiatrist, lawyer and registered nurse.
Former student at reformatory demands inquiry
The Ottawa Citizen
12 April 1990
TORONTO — Three decades of suppressed rage burst forth Wednesday from Richard McCann, a former student at St. Joseph’s Training School in Alfred.
He told reporters angrily that he didn’t get a commitment from the Ontario government to hold a public inquiry into physical and sexual abuse at the school in the 1950s and ’60s.
“I am not at all satisfied with the response,” he said, after meeting privately with Social Services Minister Charles Beer, Health Minister Elinor Caplan and Corrections Minister Richard Patten.
He also met with Premier David Peterson.
“I am not going to wait until Mr. Peterson grows old and grey and retires from politics.”
Peterson said Wednesday his government’s focus is to ensure the abuse never recurs.
He also held out hope for an inquiry once the “nature and extent of the problem” is determined by police.
“I think it’s fair to say we may not have a handle on all of it. You can imagine the trauma for these people — suppressing this for 25 years.”
Opposition MPPs said they support an inquiry.
But Patten, the Ottawa Centre MPP whose ministry had responsibility for training schools 30 years ago, says an Ontario Provincial Police investigation now under way must finish before his staff will begin reviewing files from the period to determine what went wrong.
McCann accused government officials of hiding behind the police probe and last week’s Supreme Court of Canada ruling that said judicial inquiries could not be substituted for criminal investigations.
McCann has become an unofficial spokesman for about 100 former students at the school who have come forward in recent weeks with stories of physical and sexual abuse.
They say members of the Brothers of the Christian Schools, who ran St. Joseph’s until it was taken over by the province in 1974, and other staff beat and sexually molested them.
The school was closed in 1981.
McCann, who is single, said he has had trouble staying with a job or forming lasting friendships because of his treatment at St. Joseph’s.
He said it’s needed to determine why the province failed to deal adequately with abuse at the school. An inquiry also could prevent children now in group homes from being abused.
Beer told reporters his ministry will assist with “funding and any other resources” in establishing a helpline across the province that former students can call for counselling and psychiatric help.
McCann, a 43-year-old farmer who also works as a consultant, said he is pleased with the offer of support, but told reporters the inquiry is the only way he and other former students can finally put their experiences at St. Joseph’s behind them.
ALFRED SEX ABUSE CASE; Abuse inquiry put on hold; Trials must be held before public hearings, premier says
The Ottawa Citizen
15 February 1991
TORONTO — Premier Bob Rae says criminal charges laid Thursday against lay brothers of the former St. Joseph’s Training School prevent his government from calling a public inquiry into the long-term abuse there.
Although former students continue to demand an immediate inquiry, Rae said the charges against the 19 Brothers of the Christian Schools must first be heard by the courts.
“The reality is that we can’t even look at a public inquiry until the charges have been dealt with,” Rae said.
David McCann, a spokesman for the 250 former students, said they still want a public inquiry.
McCann said one reason for an inquiry is that there will be no police investigation of the apparent provincial government cover-up. He said information on how the government handled allegations of abuse at the time could be explored at a public inquiry.
A spokesman for Attorney General Howard Hampton said Thursday he has directed prosecutors to “fast-track” the cases to ensure all are heard within six to nine months.
Only then will the question of an inquiry be dealt with, said Rosemary Hnatiuk.
The NDP had insisted in opposition that a public inquiry be called to determine how the abuse at the Alfred reformatory went undetected for so long. The school was run by the brothers under a contract from the provincial government.
Spearheaded by Welland-Thorld MPP Peter Kormos, now consumer affairs minister, the New Democrats said there was no reason police work and a public inquiry couldn’t be conducted at the same time.
Kormos did not return calls Thursday.
Rae said April’s Supreme Court of Canada decision scrapping a public inquiry into the Patricia Starr fundraising scandal prohibits the government from holding a public inquiry at the same as criminal proceedings.
Carleton Tory MPP Norm Sterling said he agrees with Rae, but warned the government has no other excuses to block a public inquiry when the trials are over.
Rae also said his government will continue initiatives begun last year by the former Liberal government to assist the former students and their families and to ensure such incidents are never repeated.
The Liberals provided funding for “Helpline,” a telephone service to assist former students obtain counselling and psychiatric help. They also established a task force to determine whether provincial policies adequately protect children in the social services system.
Its report, released last month, found significant flaws in the system. The report called for better training and screening of staff and improved systems for reporting abuse.
The province has yet to respond to the report.
News of the charges stunned former Corrections Ministry officials contacted Thursday.
“This is shocking,” said Leo Hackl, who was deputy ministry from 1965 to 1972. He said he was unaware of the problems at St. Joseph’s until contacted by OPP investigators.
“I could never imagine anything like this happening.”
Les Horne, who joined the then department of reform institutions in 1959, said he was surprised by the number of charges.