Students of Convicted Sex Offender Asked to Come Forward

March 29, 2012

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Four new civil lawsuits launched against convicted sex offender Father William Hodgson Marshall

A lawyer representing sexual abuse victims from St. Charles College in Sudbury is calling on former students and teachers to come forward with what they know.

At the centre of the case is Father William Hodgson Marshall, who is currently serving a prison sentence for molesting 17 students at schools across Ontario.

Four of the Sudbury victims have now filed civil lawsuits against the Sudbury Catholic District School Board and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Sault Ste. Marie. Also named in the lawsuits are The Basilian Fathers of Toronto and Bishop Ronald Peter Fabro — all of whom were either employers or supervisors of Marshall over the years.

Lawyer Robert Talach said, on top of compensation for his clients, he is hoping the lawsuits expose the truth about what happened.

"This is an illness, a disease, an infliction that struck this city,” Talach said. “To make sure it doesn't strike again, you have to diagnose, not just the symptoms, but the cause. And the cause was a lot of people turning their heads."

Talach is specifically appealed to former students of St. Mary's College in Sault Ste. Marie.

Father Marshall was the principal there in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Talach said it is one of the few schools Marshall worked at where no allegations of sexual abuse have been reported — and he believes there are dozens more who have yet to speak out.

"Can you really believe that he didn't do anything at St. Mary's,” Talach asked. “I mean, where was he feeding?"

Talach said sexual abuse victims often take decades before they speak out.

"I find that most males don't come forward until their late 40s, mostly into their 50s,” he said. “So they might not be at the stage where they want to come forward."

John Stadnyk, the director of the catholic school board in Sault Ste. Marie., said there have been no allegations of sexual abuse against Father Marshall filed with the board.

He said if anyone does come forward, the police will be notified immediately.

Published on March 29, 2012

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