No Avoiding Victims’ Pain
The scourge of Catholic priests sexually abusing innocent children is never far from mind in Nova Scotia.
In the shadow of the recurring crisis, it is almost refreshing to hear a Church leader speak plainly about the overwhelming pain suffered by the victims of sexual abuse and the enormity of the breach of responsibility and trust perpetrated by offending priests.
Archbishop Anthony Mancini did that in a recent letter to the people of the Archdiocese of Halifax-Yarmouth, where a class action is in the works that will have hundreds seeking financial compensation for alleged sexual abuse by priests dating back to 1960.
Mancini said experience has shown that every time the sexual abuse crisis has been highlighted, it has been hard to face “because such crimes and the devastation which sexual abuse has had on the victims cannot and must not be ignored or swept under the carpet.”
Sweeping it under the rug is what the archdiocese is accused of.
The website of McKiggan Hebert law firm in Halifax stated that the class action was filed to the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia in August 2018 by Douglas Champagne on behalf of other abuse survivors and claims the archdiocese or its previous incarnations of the Halifax and Yarmouth dioceses held a decades-long policy of secrecy regarding allegations of sexual abuse.
Champagne alleges he was sexually abused by Fr. George Epoch, a Halifax priest, resulting in lasting and permanent effects on his life. The lawsuit claims the archdiocese sent priests accused of sexual misconduct to a treatment facility in Ontario, then placed them back into parishes without any notice or warning to parishioners.