Woman Received $1.75M for Sexual Abuse by Priest

May 8, 2009

By: Dave Chidley, The Canadian Press

Beckett Personal Injury Office's Scales of Justice's article image

LONDON, Ont. - A woman who was sexually abused by a priest in southwestern Ontario has been awarded $1.75 million to settle a civil lawsuit.

Lou Ann Soontiens, of Chatham, Ont., was among 47 woman that Rev. Charles Sylvestre pleaded guilty in 2006 to sexually assaulting over four decades.

Sylvestre, a parish priest in London, Sarnia, Chatham, Windsor and Pain Court, died in prison just months into a three-year sentence.

Soontiens' lawyers call the settlement a "full measure of justice" after she endured five years of childhood sexual abuse, a related abortion and decades of living with the effects of abuse.

The case, which Soontiens launched three years ago, was settled within days of the start of the trial with the Roman Catholic Diocese of London.

Lawyer Robert Talach calls the settlement, reached Tuesday, the "largest settlement of an individual sexual abuse case in Canadian history."

Beckett Personal Injury Office In Downtown London

June 12, 2024

Compensation for Victims of Sexual Misconduct: Economic Damages

As noted in a past blog post, many of those who have experienced sexual violence often do not realize that they are entitled to compensation for their injuries.

Read More
Beckett Personal Injury Office In Downtown London

June 12, 2024

Stay Safe While Running: Essential Tips Every Jogger Should Know

As the weather warms up and daylight extends into the evening hours, many people are eager to lace up their running shoes and hit the pavement.

Read More
Beckett Personal Injury Office In Downtown London

May 31, 2024

Proving Causation in Complex Cases

In civil cases involving sexual abuse, victims must show that the abuse caused or materially contributed to their psychological injuries, even if it was not the sole cause. The concept of indivisible loss, where multiple traumas contribute to a single psychological condition, means that a defendant can be held fully liable if their conduct was one of the causes of the harm. Read today's blog to learn more.

Read More