Catholic Church in Alberta, predatory priest sued for $4M
Man suing church, priest's estate, says he was abused for 7 years by Father Robert Joseph Whyte
For failing to protect a child from sexual abuse at the hands of a predatory priest, the Catholic Church in Alberta should pay one of its former altar boys $4 million, according to a recently launched lawsuit.
Now 52-years-old, the plaintiff — a southern Alberta man — is also suing the estate of Father Robert Joseph Whyte for what he says he suffered between the ages of eight and 15.
"[He] was a young, vulnerable and innocent child who trusted that he was safe and secure with a priest of the Catholic Church," reads the statement of claim filed at the Calgary Courts Centre.
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In 1990, Whyte pleaded guilty to 18 charges of sexual abuse against boys aged 11 to 17 for crimes committed between 1962 to 1982 but the plaintiff was not one of the complainants. Whyte died in 2014.
The allegations outlined in the document took place at St. Mary's and Water Valley Churches between 1972 to 1979.
The pair sometimes travelled together with the worst of the alleged sexual abuse taking place on a trip to Radium Hot Springs when the priest made the boy sleep in his bed and tried to have sex with him, according to the document.
Whyte is accused of grooming the boy, calling him "special," "blessed," and "selected."
"Father Whyte violated his position of authority and trust by engaging [the boy] in inappropriate sexual activities when [he] was attending church on Sundays to perform his duties as an altar boy," says the statement of claim.
A history of 'sexual misconduct'
Even after the trip, the abuse is alleged to have continued weekly until the boy stopped going to Whyte's parishes when he was 15 years old.
Despite the church arranging for Whyte to attend treatment for incidents of abuse, the plaintiff says he was never warned of the priest's predatory behaviour.
"The defendants knew or ought to have known that Father Whyte had a history of sexual misconduct involving young boys and the potential danger."
The man says he now suffers from PTSD, flashbacks, anxiety, depression, panic attacks, self-hatred and loneliness.
The sexual violence he says he suffered has left him emotionally and psychologically damaged.