New lawsuit alleges Catholic priest and teacher raped 6-year-old B.C. boy in the 70s

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A B.C. man who says he was sexually assaulted by a Catholic priest and a Catholic school teacher when he was a boy in the 1970s is the latest to file suit against church authorities in Vancouver.

The alleged victim, who filed a claim in B.C. Supreme Court last week under the pseudonym John Doe, says he was just six years old when he was abused by Father John Kilty and Raymond Clavin in North Vancouver.

In a written statement, Doe alleges the abuse he suffered "included the full spectrum of violations from sexual touching to full blown rape." He says it has taken him more than 40 years to feel comfortable making these allegations public.

"I cannot find the right words to explain how the sexual abuse that I endured at age six has impacted my life," Doe said.

"When the most intimate moment of one's young life is simultaneously the most horrifying and disgusting, there is a suffocation of every authentic experience from that moment onward. The stain of these traumatic events has, and continues to, permeate all facets of my life experience."

The statement of claim, filed Oct. 23, names the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Vancouver and the Catholic Independent Schools of Vancouver as defendants alongside Kilty and Clavin. Kilty is now deceased, but it's not clear whether Clavin is living or dead, according to Doe's claim.

The suit alleges that the church and Catholic school system were "complicit in a culture and system of entrenched clericalism that enabled perpetrators of sexual abuse to continue to commit their grievous crimes, and wherein witnesses, complainants and whistle-blowers were silenced."

None of the defendants have filed responses to the claim and the allegations have not been proven in court. A spokesperson for the Archdiocese of Vancouver said they are still looking into the case, while the Catholic Independent Schools of Vancouver did not respond to a request for comment.

Priest allegedly groomed 'unsuspecting' boy

At the time of the alleged abuse in 1974 and 1975, Kilty was pastor of Holy Trinity Parish in North Vancouver and Clavin was a teacher at Holy Trinity Elementary. Kilty is not included in a list the archdiocese released last year of nine clergymen who have criminal convictions or lawsuits settled against them related to cases of sexual abuse

In his statement, Doe says he met Kilty when the priest invited him inside his home for a can of pop. Doe describes the atmosphere there as "vibrant with kids going in and out freely."

He alleged he became dependent on Kilty's love and support, and their relationship eventually evolved to sleepovers, when Kilty would assault him.

"He was so kind at a time that I was in need of support and kindness. It felt amazing. It felt safe. What I did not know was that his friendly gestures were techniques used to groom an unsuspecting and wide-open little boy for sexual abuse," Doe said.

Getty
Getty

He alleges that Kilty threatened to abandon him if he spoke about what happened, and Doe was terrified of losing their relationship.

In contrast, Doe alleges Clavin inserted himself into Doe's family to help with after-school care.

"Clavin was the opportunist, controlling me with threats against me and my family should I say anything. I was terrified of him," Doe said in his statement.

His claim alleges that church and school authorities should have known that children were at risk under Kilty and Clavin's supervision, but did nothing to protect them. The suit accuses the Catholic bodies of "gross negligence, willful blindness, recklessness, breach of fiduciary duty, and/or negligence."

As a result, Doe alleges he suffered a range of long-lasting injuries including post-traumatic stress disorder, suicide attempts, depression, anxiety and incapacity to commit to marriage or raising a family.

'Disclosure is critical'

Doe has chosen not to join a proposed class-action lawsuit filed against the archdiocese this summer by survivors of alleged abuse. In his statement, he says he supports those who have chosen that route, but he wants the institution to answer his allegations directly.

"It is very important to me that I know what they knew, and when they knew it, about each of Clavin and Kilty, respectively. This disclosure is critical to my own sense of peace, reconciliation, and justice," Doe said.

The claim does not specify a monetary amount that Doe is seeking in damages.

Earlier this year, a B.C. Supreme Court judge held the Roman Catholic Diocese of Kamloops vicariously and directly liable for a total of $844,140 in damages, plus interest, for sexual abuse committed by a priest against a local woman in the 1970s.

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