Archdiocese of Vancouver Sexual and Physical Abuse Class Action

Murphy Battista LLP has filed a proposed class action against the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vancouver for sexual, physical and psychological abuse of parishioners by individuals who, at all material times, were employees, agents or servants of the Archdiocese – including cardinals, bishops, archbishops, priests, deacons and lay ministers. The claim alleges that the abuse was systemic and occurred over several decades.

The claim alleges that the Archdiocese, as a general matter, failed to respond adequately to complaints by parishioners of abuse by Clergy. The Archdiocese was aware of the abuse and allowed the abuse to continue. The Archdiocese was also complicit in silencing survivors, who were required to take oaths of secrecy when making complaints to the Archdiocese about assaults perpetrated on them by Clergy, especially in instances of sexual abuse. The Archdiocese also silenced Clergy, who faced strict penalties – including excommunication – for publicly revealing details of allegations of sexual abuse by priests.

The claim alleges that the Archdiocese failed to have in place management and operations procedures that would reasonably have prevented the abuse. The Archdiocese maintained a system that was inadequate to protect the Parishioners from abuse at the hands of Clergy and, in doing so, the Archdiocese was systemically negligent.

On November 25, 2019, Archbishop Miller recognized the systemic nature of the harms, and apologized for the Archdiocese’s role in a Pastoral Letter, stating:

I realize that no expression of regret can repair the horror of what happened. Although nothing can undo the wrong that was done to you, I nonetheless wish to offer each of you my heartfelt apology for the trauma, the violation in body and soul, and the sense of betrayal and abandonment by the Church that you feel. For those occasions when we failed to protect you or when we were more concerned with the Church’s reputation than with your suffering, I am truly sorry and ask for your forgiveness as I strive to make amends and bind your wounds.

The claim also alleges that, as a result of the authority and power vested in Clergy by the Archdiocese, the Archdiocese is vicariously liable for the acts and omissions of Clergy, including the sexual, physical and psychological abuse of the Parishioners by Clergy. Further, through the close and direct relationship between the Archdiocese and Clergy, and as a result of providing Clergy with the opportunity to abuse their power and take advantage of a relationship with remarkable power imbalance – and a relationship of psychological and spiritual intimacy – the plaintiff and the class allege that the Archdiocese breached its fiduciary duty to Parishioners and is liable for Clergy’s conduct.

We hope that this lawsuit bring survivors forward to get the compensation they deserve in a manner that prevents the need for survivors to publicaly litigate their own individual case and to pursue compensation for their experience in a manner that avoids re-traumatization.

Who does it affect?

The plaintiff brings this action on her own behalf on behalf of a proposed class of persons who attended parishes in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vancouver (“Class” or “Class Members”, to be further defined in the plaintiff’s application for certification).

If I was physically or sexually assaulted, but not raped, can I be part of this class action?

Yes. Please contact us.

Questions?

Please email us at [email protected].

Who are the lawyers?

A team of lawyers at Murphy Battista LLP, led by Angela Bespflug and Bill Dick, Q.C. are pursing this action.

What should I do if I have been impacted?

Please fill out this FORM and we will contact you.

ALL INFORMATION WILL REMAIN PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL.

For information about this class action you can:

Email [email protected]

or

Call Murphy Battista’s Vancouver office at (604) 683-9621 or Toll Free at 1-888-683-9621, and ask to speak to a member of the legal team handling the Archdiocese Class Action. Reception will transfer your call to someone who can help you.

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In the News

Murphy Battista LLP Files Archdiocese of Vancouver Abuse Class Action

September 10, 2020

Murphy Battista LLP has filed a proposed class action against the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vancouver alleging systemic sexual, physical and psychological abuse of parishioners by individuals who, at all material times, were employees, agents or servants of the Archdiocese – including cardinals, bishops, archbishops, priests, deacons and lay ministers…

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