Photo by Michael Swan

Antigonish clears its abuse debt

By 
  • November 8, 2012

ANTIGONISH, N.S. - The diocese of Antigonish in Nova Scotia no longer owes $16 million to 125 victims of clerical sexual abuse.

The diocese has made its final payment to settle a class-action lawsuit, the Canadian Press reports. The settlement was negotiated by former Bishop Raymond Lahey, who was arrested on charges of importing child pornography just three weeks after announcing the deal to settle claims dating as far back as the 1950s.

The lawsuit was initiated in 2002 by Ron Martin, whose brother committed suicide that year leaving a note about abuse he suffered at the hands of Fr. Hugh Vincent MacDonald. MacDonald was charged in 2003 but died before his trial could come to a conclusion.

The last payment is not the end of the process of healing, said diocesan spokesman Fr. Don MacGillivray.

“Healing always takes time,” MacGillivray told the Canadian Press. “But I’m a person of hope, and that’s what my faith calls me to be.”

The diocese put 150 properties up for sale, dumped its shares in the local weekly paper, The Casket, and drained savings from parishes to come up with the full settlement.

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