Settlements end $100M class action lawsuit by alleged Manitoulin Island abuse survivors
A $100 million class action lawsuit launched on behalf of alleged victims of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy on Manitoulin Island has been abandoned after the victims reached individual settlements with the church.
All of the 29 alleged victims are from Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory and attended Holy Cross Mission, run by the Jesuit Fathers of Upper Canada.
The suit was launched in 2015 and named several defendants, including the Roman Catholic Episcopal Corporation of the Diocese of Sault Ste. Marie, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Sault Ste. Marie, the Estate of Father George Epoch and the Estate of Brother O’Meare.
"The action was brought on behalf of all persons who were abused as children by clergy or staff of the Holy Cross Mission in Wiikwemkoong (and) all parents, spouses, children and siblings of the abused persons," court documents said.
Two alleged victims – one of Father George Epoch and the other of Brother O’Meare – filed the suit and were joined by others.
O’Meare committed the sex abuse when he worked in Wiikwemkoong between 1950 and 1960, while Epoch’s crimes took place when he worked there from 1959 to 1963, 1969 to 1971 and 1983 to 1986 the suit alleges.
A third member of the clergy – a "Brother Hinton" – was also named as someone who abused children from 1963 until 1970. His whereabouts – and whether he is still alive – is unknown, the court documents said.
Four years after the class action was launched, officials approached lawyers for the Jesuits.
"Chief Duke Peltier and senior policy analyst Sandra Wabegijig of the Wiikwemkoong Unceded First Nation approached the counsel for the Jesuit Fathers of Upper Canada and asked that the legal process be resolved by an informal process," the court documents said.
The goal was to find a process that would still be fair but wouldn’t "re-traumatize" the alleged victims.
"Discussions followed with the Merchant Law Group with the leaders of the Wiikwemkoong community, and a consensus emerged that there should be a more informal process," the transcript said.
"It was agreed that compensation would be negotiated in accordance with the awards made in the federal Day School Settlement, which was a class action similar to the Indian Residential Schools Class Action."
All 29 people have since settled their claims, but "the terms of the individual settlements were not disclosed to this court," the transcript said.
"The counsel fee or costs awards were not disclosed to this court."
- Download our app to get local alerts on your device
- Get the latest local updates sent right to your inbox
However, the class action suit was still technically ongoing and lawyers for the alleged victims had to get court approval to end it.
In his ruling, the judge in the case said it was frustrating not to know the details of the individual settlements. That information would help him ensure the alleged victims are not giving up any rights by ending the class action suit.
"It may be that the negotiated settlements and the fees are reasonable and in the best interests of the putative class members who settled, but I cannot conclude that based on the information proffered on this discontinuance motion," he wrote.
However, considering none of the plaintiffs in the case are pursuing legal action at this point, the judge ruled it would be "futile."
"There are no representative plaintiffs willing to represent the putative class members who have not settled, and, in any event, the defendants could have the proposed class action mandatorily dismissed for delay," the judge wrote.
In agreeing to discontinue the suit, the judge said that all members of the lawsuit should be sent a copy of his ruling. If they have questions, they should get independent legal advice.
Read the full decision here.
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: 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
CTVNews.ca Top Stories
A new survey found that 48 per cent of Canadians say they won’t be taking any specific action to recognize National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
'Stories of resilience and survival': Indigenous-led tourism is one way to support communities in Canada
A growing number of businesses popping up across Canada are offering unique experiences that invite tourists to dive into the history, language and culture of Indigenous communities.
The federal Liberal government has made a lot of promises to Indigenous Peoples. But do those promises line up with what communities on the ground really want and need, or reflect their diversity?
Canada’s greenhouse gas emission up 2.3 per cent from last year due to oil and gas production, cold winter: report
New data from the Canadian Climate Institute shows that emissions from the oil and gas industry and buildings continued to climb in the previous year, undercutting Canada's overall emissions reduction progress.
When Kula needed water to stop wildfire, it got a trickle. Many other U.S. cities are also vulnerable
Hours before devastating fires scorched the historic town of Lahaina on Maui, Kyle Ellison labored to save his rental house in Kula, a rural mountain town 24 miles away, from a different blaze.
When Washington Sen. Patty Murray received a call early Friday morning that Sen. Dianne Feinstein had died, she immediately started calling her fellow female senators.
The United States is on the brink of a federal government shutdown after hard-right Republicans in Congress rejected a longshot effort to keep offices open as they fight for steep spending cuts and strict border security measures that Democrats and the White House say are too extreme.
Economists warn both Canada's economy and individual Canadians could suffer from impacts of a U.S. government shutdown, and that those impacts will deepen and broaden the longer it lasts.
A Scarborough family said they were shocked to get a notice from the City of Toronto that the artificial grass in their backyard, including a putting green, will have to be ripped out.
The man at the centre of a massive police search this week in Bracebridge has been found dead.
The Barrie woman accused of impaired driving causing a crash that seriously injured three pedestrians parted ways with her lawyer, further delaying court proceedings.
The charges against a woman accused of attempted murder and discharging a firearm in a Barrie catwalk shooting earlier this year have been withdrawn.
Cyclist in hospital with life-threatening injuries following head-on collision with pickup truck in Etobicoke
A cyclist is in hospital with life-threatening injuries following a head-on collision with a pickup truck in Etobicoke.
York police have issued a warning to the public following a string of opioid overdoses, one of them fatal, in the Newmarket area.
The Toronto Blue Jays could clinch a playoff spot for the second straight season as soon as today.
The new owners of a campground in Alfred, Ont. have shocked members, who have been told next season's rate would increase as much as 57 per cent. The proposed rate increase has left some unhappy campers, with little time to choose whether to stay or go.
The calendar says it's the last day of September, but the weather forecast feels much more like summer.
CTVNewsOttawa.ca looks at events happening in Ottawa on Friday and Saturday to mark the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
'Still so many questions': Arrest in Joshua Tarnue murder case brings mixed emotions for family, friends
The family and friends of Joshua Tarnue are left with questions following new police developments in the murder case.
A number of events are being organized around Waterloo Region to mark the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on Saturday Sept. 30.
A major development in a local infrastructure project has been unveiled by the province.
Downtown business owners can’t contain their disappointment after learning a provincially-led decision will remove hundreds of office workers from a building on Fullarton Street.
Suspect flees from police after uttering death threats, prompts 'code silver' at University Hospital
It was a tense night for police and hospital workers after a Norfolk County man who fled from police after uttering death threats attended a London, Ont. hospital, prompting a code silver situation.
'Your tip could make a difference': Owen Sound police, OPP renew appeal to public for information in restaurateur's homicide
Nearly six weeks after a violent assault claimed the life of a beloved restauranteur in Owen Sound, Ont., police are once again appealing to the public for information that could help crack the case.
Rental listing catches eye of councillor, off-duty WPS officer charged, Unifor and Ford ratify deal: Top Windsor stories this week
A “disturbing” rental listing caught the eye of a Windsor councillor, an off-duty Windsor police officer has been charged with assault in Ottawa, and Unifor members narrowly ratified a new three-year collective agreement with Ford. Here’s a look at the top stories on ctvnewswindsor.ca this week.
The third annual National Day for Truth and Reconciliation in Canada is on Saturday, Sept. 30.
'We can’t have reconciliation until we have the truth': Windsor honouring National Day for Truth and Reconciliation
Several events are taking place around Windsor-Essex to mark the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation along with Orange Shirt Day on Saturday, Sept. 30.
The Quebec government intends to table a bill in the coming days to join the class action lawsuit brought by B.C. against dozens of pharmaceutical companies accused of trivializing the harmful effects of opioids.
The Societe de transport de Montreal (STM) is equipping special metro constables with a gel form of pepper spray to deal with violence. The irritant would be used "as a last resort in cases where safety is at stake," said an STM spokesperson in a statement Friday.
Emergency services were called around 12:30 a.m. to a business on Charles-de-LaTour Street, near Chabanel Street West, in the Ahuntsic-Cartierville borough.
Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Andrew Furey made a solemn apology today to survivors of residential schools in southern Labrador.
Every homeless person has a different story, no matter where they come from, and that is no different for Dianne Munnings from the Bahamas.
Nova Scotia Health Authority’s Mental Health Department’s research team is conducting a study which delves into the impacts of cannabis use on youth between the ages of 15 and 16-years old.
Manitoba finance officials are reporting a $270 million surplus for the end of the 2022-2023 fiscal year.
CTV News Winnipeg was delving through the rabbit hole of past elections, finding facts that Manitobans may have not known.
A Winnipeg woman has pleaded guilty to handing out cannabis gummies to kids last Halloween.
Residential school survivor calling on people to 'learn' on National Day for Truth and Reconciliation
To help mark the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, St. Francis High School unveiled a 15-foot Indigenous art piece on Friday.
What started as a routine walk with her dog in the northeast Calgary community of Rundle on Sept. 17 quickly turned into an ordeal Aman Lamoureux will never forget.
Two pickup trucks collided on Highway 63 early Saturday morning near the Suncor North Gate.
Jessica Campbell grew up wanting to play in the NHL.
According to police, Dr. Tracy Pickett, 55, was reported missing on Wednesday, prompting a large search at Pacific Spirit Regional Park. Her remains were discovered Thursday evening.
The B.C. Supreme Court has dismissed a neighbourhood association's attempt to stop the City of Vancouver from providing services to the massive Senakw development currently under construction at the south end of the Burrard Bridge.
The group behind the tiny yellow stickers that are being spotted at intersections all over Vancouver hopes they will lead to safer roads.