Basilians Sexual Abuse Silence
CAUTION: This story contains graphic content related to allegations of sexual assault and might be upsetting to some readers.
If you or someone you know are victims of sexual violence, you can contact Crisis Services Canada, a 24/7 hotline, at 1-833-456-4566 or you can find local support through the Ontario Coalition of Rape Crisis Centres; The Government of Canada has also compiled a list of sexual misconduct support centres. If you are under 18 and need help, contact the Kid’s Help Phone online or at 1-800-668-6868.
To keep children safe from sexual abuse, the Catholic Church needs to go beyond rules and re-think the way it’s run, says one of Canada’s leading experts on clergy abuse.
“The clergy sexual abuse crisis has unrolled as it has, not because people didn’t pay attention to Church beliefs, tradition and regulation, but in fact because of those rules and regulations,” says Sister Nuala Kenny, a Catholic nun and pediatrician who has been on the frontlines of the sex abuse crisis in Canada for four decades.
CityNews has been investigating the stories of multiple people who say they were sexually assaulted by priests as children. All the priests in question belong to a Catholic order called the Basilian Fathers, also known as the Congregation of St. Basil, whose headquarters is in Toronto.
We reached out to Basilian Vicar General Father David Katulski, who victims are instructed to contact should they have a sexual assault claim. He is also the order’s media contact. Instead of hearing back from Fr. Katulski, we received an email from the Basilians’ longtime lawyer, who turned down our interview requests.
“Historically, it’s deeply problematic because of the secrecy and silence,” Sr. Kenny says. “As long as you’re holding on to ‘We have to protect the image, and protect the institution, and institutional reputation and offender reputation,’ you can’t make amends in this way.”