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Abuse victims from northern Ont. to receive $13M from Anglican Church, Scouts Canada

Ralph Rowe abused hundreds of mainly Indigenous victims between 1975 and 1987 when he was a priest working in the Anglican Diocese of Keewatin. At the time, the diocese included northwestern Ontario and parts of Manitoba. (Supplied) Ralph Rowe abused hundreds of mainly Indigenous victims between 1975 and 1987 when he was a priest working in the Anglican Diocese of Keewatin. At the time, the diocese included northwestern Ontario and parts of Manitoba. (Supplied)
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WARNING: This story contains information about child sexual abuse.

A class action lawsuit by victims of a former Anglican priest who was also a Scouts Canada leader has been settled for $13.25 million.

Ralph Rowe abused hundreds of mainly Indigenous victims between 1975 and 1987 when he was a priest working in the Anglican Diocese of Keewatin. At the time, the diocese included northwestern Ontario and parts of Manitoba.

Rowe was a former Royal Canadian Air Force pilot who served with the Ontario Provincial Police on Manitoulin Island. He was ordained into the Anglican Church in 1975.

The tragic story was the focus of a 2015 documentary called ‘Suvivors Rowe.’

According to the original statement of claim filed in 2017, Rowe would fly his plane into mostly remote Indigenous communities under the guise of providing “religious services and character-building activities.”

“However, throughout this time, Rowe’s conduct was motivated by a sinister desire to gratify his improper sexual appetite for young boys,” the statement of claim said.

He would groom his victims over time, enabling his abuse of hundreds of mostly aboriginal victims, some as young as five years old.

“Rowe took the plaintiff and class members on camping trips and church outings and hosted children’s activities and sleepovers,” the claim said.

“He also took children for trips in his airplane.”

Rowe was convicted of 10 counts of sexual abuse in 1988. In 1994, he pled guilty to 26 similar charges, involving more than a dozen victims.

More convictions followed in subsequent years and by 2012, he had been found guilty of more than 60 sex crimes involving dozens of young male children. It is believed there were hundreds of victims over decades.

In 2017, the Anglican Church formally apologized to Rowe’s victims, the same year that the class action lawsuit for $110 million was launched.

The $13.25 million settlement was agreed to earlier this summer but still must be approved by the courts.

Claimants will receive compensation under agreed criteria, with victims who suffered the most severe abuse with the most lasting consequences receiving the highest compensation.

Full details can be found here.

Victims of sexual abuse committed by Ralph Rowe are asked to contact 1 888 353 6661 or send them an email.

Resources for sexual assault survivors in Canada

If you or someone you know is struggling with sexual assault or trauma, the following resources are available to support people in crisis:

If you are in immediate danger or fear for your safety, you should call 911.

A full list of sexual assault centres in Canada that offer information, advocacy and counselling can be found at ReeseCommunity.com. Resources in your community can be found by entering your postal code. 

Helplines, legal services and locations that offer sexual assault kits in Alberta, B.C., Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Quebec, Ontario and Nova Scotia can be found here.

National Residential School Crisis Line: 1-866-925-4419

24-hour crisis line: 1-416-597-8808 

Canadian Human Trafficking Hotline: 1-833-900-1010 

Trans Lifeline: 1-877-330-6366

Sexual misconduct support for current or former members of the Armed Forces: 1-844-750-1648

Read about your rights as a victim here.

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