The sexual abuse scandal in St. John's archdiocese is an important chapter in the series of clerical abuse affairs that occurred in the dioceses of Canada.
James Hickey affair
James Hickey, a priest of the St John's diocese. had been convicted in 1999 of sexually abusing the boys while he was a parish priest on the Burin Peninsula. He spent five years in prison. Despite Hickey’s criminal conviction the Roman Catholic Church has fought the victim’s claims for compensation for almost 10 years.
In February 2009, the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador ruled that the Roman Catholic Church in St. John’s was responsible ("vicariously liable") for the sexual abuse of eight former altar boys by disgraced priest, Reverend James Hickey.
Mount Cashel orphanage scandal
In 1988, a scandal erupted over allegations of widespread abuse of children at Mount Cashel Orphanage in Newfoundland. The religious order that ran the orphanage filed for bankruptcy in the face of numerous lawsuits. Since the Mount Cashel scandal erupted, a number of priests across the country have been accused of sexual abuse.
The Hughes Inquiry was a Canadian royal commission which concluded that officials had transferred offenders and covered up the sexual abuse at Mount Cashel. It recommended that victims be compensated.
Allegations against bishop Lahey
In 1989, Fr. Kevin Molloy went to former St. John’s archbishop Alphonsus Liguori Penney to report that a child had seen pornography at the home of a priest Raymond Lahey. These allegations were recounted in 2009 when Bishop Lahey was subsequently arrested for separate allegations involving illicit pornography (cf sexual abuse scandal in Antigonish diocese).
Resignation of bishop Penney
Bishop Alphonsus Liguori Penney resigned his position after a commission of inquiry, which he personally appointed, found that he was probably aware of sexual abuse of children by priests in his archdiocese.
1992 guidelines from the CCCB
In 1992, the Canadian Catholic bishops responded by unveiling tough guidelines, calling for fairness and openness to all allegations, stressing the need to "respect" the jurisdiction of outside authorities, and recommending counselling and compassion for the victims. However, some assert that, the bishops' guidelines notwithstanding, the sexual abuse problems have not been adequately addressed.
2003 Supreme Court decision
In 2003, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the Roman Catholic Church is responsible (vicariously liable) for sexual abuse by its priests (cf Doe v. Bennett).
- "Catholic Church Liable for Sexual Abuse of Altar Boys: St. John’s, Newfoundland". 2009-02-16. http://www.sexualabuseclaimsblog.com/2009/02/catholic_church_liable_for_sexual_abuse_of_alter_boys_st_johns_newfoundland.html. Retrieved 2009-07-31.
- Notorious Mount Cashel orphanage to close
- The Hughes Inquiry
- Suspicion about Lahey raised 20 years ago
- Head Count of Ousted Bishops Grows to Eighteen
- Diocesan resources from the CCCB concerning sexual abuse