The Supreme Court of Canada refused to hear an appeal of a ruling that found the Roman Catholic archdiocese in St John’s liable for decades of sexual abuse at the Mount Cashel Orphanage.
The legal battle over multiple counts of sexual abuse has been going on for over 20 years. The trial judge initially found in 2018 that the archdiocese could not be found vicariously liable for the actions of the Christian Brothers at the Mount Cashel orphanage in the 1950’s and 1960’s, but the Newfoundland and Labrador Court of Appeal disagreed. In 2020 the Court of Appeal unanimously ruled that the Roman Catholic Episcopal Corp. of St. John’s was liable for the sexual abuse suffered by orphans at the hands of the Christian Brothers, finding that the relationship between the archdiocese and the Christian Brothers was sufficiently close to justify finding that the archdiocese was responsible for compensating the victims. In denying leave to appeal, this judgment will now stand.
The archdiocese will now have to pay the four lead plaintiffs about $2million, divided among them, and the remaining survivors, of whom dozens are still alive, will have a clear path to seek their own compensation. The decision to find the archdiocese vicariously liable marks a landmark day, and will have an impact on sexual abuse cases across Canada.
If you have questions about the law on sexual abuse cases in Canada and how you may be impacted, please reach out to our team today.