Dartmouth orphanage must surrender records

The Home for Colored Children in Dartmouth must hand over documents covering a five-year period.

Home for Colored Children has controversial past

The Home for Colored Children in Dartmouth must hand over documents covering a five-year period.

Dozens of former residents at the orphanage allege they were sexually, physically and emotionally abused by staff at the home.

No one employed at the institution has ever been convicted of abusing any of the residents.

The former resident at the heart of Monday's Supreme Court hearing lived at the home between 1955 and 1959. He wasn't in court.

His lawyer Ray Wagner asked that the home be forced to produce records detailing abuse involving not just this client, but anyone at the home during the same period.

"What we're attempting to do at this time here is to get information in the periods of time that the individuals were in to see whether there were any other complaints with respect to abuse in the home and whether those complaints were filed in the files," said Wagner.

Justice Patrick Duncan sided with Wagner on that point.

John Kulik, the lawyer representing the home, predicts the search will turn up nothing and cost the home thousands of dollars in the process, as other former residents demand similar searches.

"There are 57 other cases and so plaintiff counsel will likely just renew this application with respect to all the other cases," said Kulik.

"So, in reality, we'll have to do this search through all the files."

Whether or not the records from the home reveal any evidence of abuse, Wagner said the exercise could further support his claim of a coverup that will make up a large part of a class-action suit he hopes will be certified this fall.