Halifax verifying claims for abuse settlement

  • December 21, 2023

The deadline to submit a claim of sexual abuse against the Roman Catholic Episcopal Corporation of Halifax and the Roman Catholic Episcopal Corporation of the Yarmouth has now passed.  

From Dec. 14, 2022, to Dec. 14, 2023, the call was sent out across the Halifax-Yarmouth archdiocese for victims of abuse by diocesan priests from April 14, 1954, to March 31, 2020, to file their declaration and potentially receive compensation. This window opened exactly a month after the archdiocese settled the class action suit for $10 million.

“While the class action suit is a constant reminder of the damage and great hurt that has been inflicted on individuals by members of the clergy, it is necessary to provide an opportunity for justice and healing for all victims,” wrote Archbishop Brian Dunn in a November 2022 statement. “It is a hard thing to do but it is the right thing to do.”

Aurea Sadi, spokesperson for the archdiocese, told The Catholic Register that with the application process completed, “claims will go through a process of verification and compensation as appropriate.” She did not mention how long it would take for arbitrators to adjudicate each claim.

The potential amount of money that a class member may receive ranges from $30,000 to $350,000. Personal injury lawyer John McKiggan told media in 2022 that 90 survivors will likely step forward. He based this estimated figure on “expert evidence and data collected from the American College of Catholic Bishops.”

The archdiocese has sought to provide answers and comfort to lay parishioners who are concerned about how the class action suit will shape the future of pastoral ministry.

“The sexual abuse crisis casts an ever-growing shadow on the Church locally, nationally, and throughout the world,” states an archdiocesan FAQ document. “Yet our work as Catholics remains the same: spread the light of Christ to dispel the dark shadows of our world. We need to acknowledge the wrongs that have happened in the past and atone for them. Yet our good works of caring for the poor, sick, hungry and the vulnerable must continue. Shining Christ’s light means that there may be things that we did not want to see but must deal with in order to build up Christ’s Church.”

This document also assures parishioners that no collection contributions have gone towards paying diocesan lawyers or the $10-million settlement. The pot “will be made up of a combination of assets of the Roman Catholic Episcopal Corporations of Halifax and Yarmouth and insurance proceeds.”

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