July 23rd, 2024

Church must pay $104 million to victims of historical abuse in Newfoundland

By The Canadian Press on July 5, 2024.

Mount Cashel orphanage in St. John's Newfoundland is seen in this 1989 photo. The Roman Catholic Church has been ordered to pay settlements totalling $104.1 million to 292 survivors of historical clergy abuse in Newfoundland and Labrador, including those at the now-infamous Mount Cashel orphanage in St. John's. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. – The Roman Catholic Church has been ordered to pay settlements totalling $104 million to 292 survivors of historical abuse in Newfoundland and Labrador, including those at the now infamous Mount Cashel orphanage in St. John’s.

An insolvency monitor’s report published today says individual claim entitlements from the archdiocese of St. John’s range from $55,000 to $850,000.

Ernst and Young’s report says the average entitlement is about $356,000.

Lawyer Geoff Budden, whose firm represents more than 200 survivors of abuse at the former Mount Cashel orphanage run by the Christian Brothers from the 1940s to the early 1960s, says the order today is an important step, but the decades-long fight is not over.

He says the archdiocese has only raised roughly $40 million to cover the settlements through the sale of properties in eastern Newfoundland, including the famed Basilica-Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in St. John’s.

Budden says he will be arguing that the archdiocese can find more money through its insurance policies and even by tapping some of its co-defendants in the decades of clergy abuse cases that have brought the church to its current state of bankruptcy.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 5, 2024.

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