Cape Croker Sexual Abuse Survivors Win Settlement

Members of the Chippewas of Nawash First Nation at Cape Croker, Ontario, have won a settlement of approximately $3.4 million in a case that involves allegations of sexual abuse by a now deceased Jesuit priest. Claims were filed against the Jesuits of Upper Canada, the Roman Catholic Episcopal Corporation of the Diocese of Hamilton and the Attorney General of Canada, by 16 sexual abuse survivors, and six other claims were made by family members under the Family Law Act as parents and spouses of the primary victims.

The settlement was reached during the course of a precedent setting week long pre-trial conference presided over by Justice Richard G. Trainor and Justice John S. Poupore of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice. The settlement was ratified by the defendants and their insurers on May 15, 2000.

Susan M. Vella and Danielle Szandtner of Goodman and Carr represented the plaintiffs before the Court. For the defendants: Wally Zimmerman and Donald McLean of Zimmerman & Associates represented the Jesuit Fathers of Upper Canada; William McMurtry and Stephen Moore of Blaney McMurtry LLP represented the Roman Catholic Episcopal Corporation of the Diocese of Hamilton in Ontario; and James Leising and Tom Andreopolous, Department of Justice acted for the Attorney General of Canada. A number of third parties were also involved in the case: Peter Stanford of Ogilvy Renault appeared for M.J. Oppenheim in his capacity as Attorney in Canada for the Non-Marine Underwriters, Members of Lloyd’s of London, England; Barry Percival of Benson Percival Brown appeared for Lombard Insurance Company; Mark O’Donnell and Mark Barrett, of O’Donnell, Robertson & Sanfilippo appeared for Ecclesiastical Insurance Office Public Limited Company; Paul Lee of Paul Lee & Associates appeared for American Home Assurance Company; Robert Bell of Borden Ladner Gervais LLP appeared for Royal Insurance Company of Canada; Vern Rogers of Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP appeared for Guardian Insurance Company of Canada; R.B. Lawson of Lawson, McGrenere, Wesley, Rose & Clemenhagen appeared for Gerling Global Insurance Company; Brian Brock of Dutton, Brock, MacIntyre & Collier appeared for Sedgwick Limited; James E. Dunn of Samis, Blouin, Dunn appeared for Citadel General Assurance. Patrick M. Nadjiwan of Nahwegahbow Nadjiwan appeared for the Fourth Party, Chippewas of Nawash Band.