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Religious Tolerance logo

Sexual abuse by Christian brothers, clergy, etc.


The Canadian situation

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Dollar amounts in this essay are in Canadian dollars. At the time of the events in this section, one American dollar was worth about 1.6 Canadian dollar. In 2010, it was worth 1.05 dollars.

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bullet "I saw many young children beaten up and strapped. I saw Brother --- wake up young children and take them to a room to sexually assault them. I saw children handcuffed to a pillar in the basement. They would be pushed and kicked. I saw Brother --- use a pool table stick to hit children if they would not have anal sex with him. Children were given cold showers then strapped. If I told any Brothers that another Brother tried to have sex with me, I would be strapped." From a report on abuse at St. Joseph's and St. John's Training School for Boys. 1

bullet " 'Lord, when did we see thee hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister to thee? ' Then he will answer them, saying, 'Amen I say to you, as long as you did not do it for one of these least ones, you did not do it for me.' " A description of Jesus' "final judgement" of the people of all nations and religions, found in Matthew 25:31-51 in the Christian Scriptures (New Testament).

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Reports of child sexual abuse by Canadian Roman Catholic clergy, Brothers, and church employees appear to have peaked in the 1990s. They have since declined. "The wave of cases now hitting U.S. courts...has already crested" in Canada. 2 Reverend William Kokesch, director of communications services for the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops said in 2002-MAR: "What the church in the U.S. is now going through, we faced about 10 years ago." 3 It seems that Canadian dioceses recognized the magnitude of abuse sooner than their American counterparts. Most have abandoned earlier policies of denial and cover-up, and have developed programs to handle any new allegations openly and with fairness to the victims.

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Topics covered in this section:

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  1. B.C. Hoffman, "The Search for Healing, Reconciliation and the Promise of Prevention -- The Recorder's Report Concerning Physical and Sexual Abuse at St. Joseph's and St. John's Training School for Boys," Reconciliation Process Implementation Committee, Ontario, Concorde Inc., (1995)
  2. Jennifer Peter, "Abuse scandal shrouds beginning of Holy Week: Catholics asked to take solace from Easter message of victory over evil," Associated Press, 2002-MAR-24. Published in Toronto Star, 2002-MAR-25, Page A2.
  3. Scott Simmie, "Victim abused by priest: 'Floodgates will open'," The Toronto Star, 2002-MAR-24, at:

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Copyright 2001 to 2010 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2002-MAR-26
Latest update: 2010-SEP-10
Author: B.A. Robinson

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