Alleged victims claim sexual abuse in lawsuit against province, church, priest
Lawsuit alleges Anglican priest Gordon William Dominey sexually abused youth in his care in 1980s
A B.C. man has filed a lawsuit against the Province of Alberta, the Anglican Diocese of Edmonton and Gordon William Dominey, alleging the priest repeatedly sexually abused him and at least nine other individuals while they were incarcerated at the Edmonton Youth Development Centre in the 1980s.
The plaintiff, whose name is protected by a publication ban, is seeking to have the lawsuit certified as a class action.
The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages on behalf of the plaintiff and other alleged victims, who were all aged 14 to 16 at the time of the alleged abuse, and were incarcerated at the EYDC between 1985 and 1989.
In February 2016, Dominey was charged with five counts of sexual assault and five counts of gross indecency in relation to the alleged assaults, which were reported to have happened at the facility. Dominey now faces more than 30 sexual assault and gross indecency charges, after more alleged victims came forward.
Dominey was a priest with the Anglican Diocese of Edmonton from 1980 to 1990. He was hired by the Province of Alberta to work with children at the EYDC from 1985 to 1989.
'He has carried this burden for three decades'
According to the lawsuit, Dominey's work at the EYDC included conducting masses and prayer sessions, providing mentorship and support services and organizing weekly social activities and swimming lessons for children.
The plaintiff was 14 when he was incarcerated at the facility for a four-month period in 1985, and turned 15 while there.
During his first visit to the swimming pool, Dominey fondled him underwater, the lawsuit alleges. Non-consensual sexual contact in the water by Dominey continued during the plaintiff's next few visits to the pool, the lawsuit alleges, before Dominey forced sexual intercourse on the plaintiff in a shower stall at the pool.
The lawsuit alleges Dominey forced sexual intercourse on the plaintiff during two more swimming outings before the plaintiff stopped going on swimming trips and cut off all contact with Dominey.
As a result of the alleged abuse, the lawsuit said the plaintiff has developed depression, anxiety and anger issues. The lawsuit claims he lost trust in authority and religious institutions, performed poorly in school and had trouble with the law. The alleged abuse affected his relationships with intimate partners and led to periods of emotional distance from his children.
"[Plaintiff] feels shame and embarrassment over what Dominey did to him, and he has carried this burden for three decades," the lawsuit alleges. "These injuries are directly attributable to Dominey's conduct."
The lawsuit claims that as a result of the alleged abuse, the survivors suffer PTSD, flashbacks and anxiety, have damaged self-esteem and relationships with family and friends, and fear being alone with male authority figures. They will require ongoing medical and psychological care as a result, according to the lawsuit, filed on Sept. 21, 2017.
Lawsuit filed after changes to Limitations Act
The lawsuit claims the Diocese and the Province of Alberta are liable for Dominey's alleged actions for failing to screen him before he was hired, supervise his work thereafter, or enforce policies that would have denied him the opportunity to allegedly abuse the plaintiff and the others.
The Diocese and the province owed a duty of care to provide a safe environment at the juvenile correctional facility, and the province breached Charter rights by not ensuring the safety of the youth and protecting their right not to be subjected to cruel and unusual punishment, the lawsuit said.
The plaintiff is seeking general and unspecified damages.
I feel my life could have been a lot different if this kind of thing hadn't happened.- Plaintiff
CBC spoke with the plaintiff, who said filing the lawsuit offers some closure.
"Him being responsible for what he did to me and others, that's what it is to me really. And some kind if retribution for inflicting the damage ... on my life," he said.
"I feel my life could have been a lot different if this kind of thing hadn't happened."
The lawsuit was filed in part because of recent changes to the Limitations Act, which allow survivors of sexual offences to sue regardless of when the incidents of abuse occurred.
The statement of claim has been filed with the court, but the proposal for the class-action suit has not yet been certified with the court. The defendants have 20 days to file a statement of defence.
Dominey's criminal trial is set for January 2019.
Both the criminal allegations and the allegations in the lawsuit have not been proven in court.