Unapologetic and unrepentant, the Basilian Fathers of Toronto (“Basilians”) today quietly faxed a Notice of Appeal in a legal case which garnered national media attention only a few weeks ago. It was April 26, 2018 when a Toronto civil jury delivered a judgment in the total sum of $2,570,181 which included $500,000 in punitive damages against the Basilians, a Roman Catholic Religious Order of priests who operate on three continents, including all of Canada and the United States, with their headquarters located in Toronto, Ontario.
Now 27 days later and only a few days short of their appeal deadline, the Basilians opted for more litigation instead of reconciliation against the 68 year old man who as a youth was sexually abused by one of their own. The case involved the historical sexual abuse of Rod MacLeod, a student at St. Charles College high school in Sudbury from 1963-1967. The abuser was Father Hodgson Marshall, then a Basilian priest who in 2011 was ultimately convicted of abusing 17 young people over his 38 year career. Marshall had served in Rochester, Toronto, Windsor, Sudbury and Sault Ste. Marie. Shockingly, it was disclosed in the trial that the Basilians had in fact received at least three complaints of sexual misconduct by Father Marshall before he was assigned to St. Charles College and another three afterwards. The Basilian pattern of response to such complaints appeared to simply be to transfer Marshall.
The plaintiff, Mr. Rod MacLeod had originally responded to the verdict by saying “I hope this outcome will cause the Basilians to rethink their position on how they treat sex abuse victims; stop listening to their legal experts and listen to their hearts and the teachings of Jesus Christ”. With this appeal it appears that lawyer’s advice was preferred to that of Christ’s.
In response to the appeal, Mr. MacLeod states “Once again the Basilians have shown their true colours. When faced with a judgment carefully considered by six citizens of the community do they say mea culpa and ask for forgiveness for their sins? No, they act like a corporate entity and appeal the decision. But they according to their own words are supposed to have a higher calling then just being a profit centre. Because of their higher calling they pay no taxes. When “higher calling” organizations act like profit centres they should lose their tax exempt status and be treated like any other corporation.”
Mr. Rob Talach, lawyer for the victim responded to the appeal as follows; “The Basilians clearly don’t like to be judged and will continue to spend charitable funds on legal bills in an effort to deny a 68 year old man his rightfully obtained compensation. Not only is the appeal itself offensive in the circumstances but so is the fact that they waited almost a month to do so.
The media contact person for this matter is Robert Talach who can be reached at (519) 639-2807 (c) or firstname.lastname@example.org
Published on May 23, 2018