Mount Cashel decision coming Thursday from Supreme Court of Canada

·2 min read

Canada's top court will rule on Thursday whether to grant one last appeal to continue the legal battle over decades of abuse at Mount Cashel Orphanage, or to finally put the court case to rest and order the Catholic Church to compensate the victims.

The Supreme Court of Canada will announce whether or not it will hear the case to decide if the Roman Catholic Episcopal Corporation is on the hook for the abuse suffered by boys at the infamous former orphanage in St. John's in the 1940s and 1950s.

The court proceedings surrounding Mount Cashel date back decades to the late 1990s.

In 1999 the victims — now elderly men. only ever identified in court as John Does — sought damages against the Christian Brothers of Ireland, who had run the orphanage, as well as the archdiocese, which wasn't involved in the day-to-day operations.

They were successful in receiving small sums from the Christian Brothers, before the organization dissolved into bankruptcy, with four survivors then setting out to have the Archdiocese of St. John's cover the rest. This latter battle has wound its way through Newfoundland and Labrador's courts for the last few years, and in July 2020, the province's court of appeal found the Archdiocese of St. John's did have a responsibility toward the victims.

At the time, the victims' lawyer said that meant the church would have to pay out millions of dollars, with the decision possibly opening the floodgates for other abuse survivors to come forward and sue the archdiocese.

The archdiocese appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada in September. The court announced Monday it will release its judgment on Thursday at 9:45 a.m. ET or 11:15 a.m. NT.

If it decides to hear the case, the legal proceedings continue, and if not, the church will have to pay an as yet undecided amount of money.

The orphanage housed hundreds of boys before it closed in 1990, and has since been demolished.

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