Manitoba

Winnipeg man sues Catholic archdiocese alleging sexual abuse, racial taunting at former school

A Winnipeg man is suing a Roman Catholic archdiocese, alleging he was sexually abused by an official at a former Catholic school more than 50 years ago.

Sexual abuse and humiliating attacks alleged at former Sainte-Marie school in Winnipeg

The plaintiff says he was sexually abused by a priest and spiritual advisor at the school while he was a student, and publicly humiliated by a teacher. (Bert Savard/CBC)

A Winnipeg man is suing a Roman Catholic archdiocese, alleging he was sexually abused by an official at a former Catholic school more than 50 years ago.

The abuse is alleged to have taken place at the former Sainte-Marie School on Des Meurons Street in Winnipeg in September or October, 1964, when the man was a young student there.

It names the school, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Saint Boniface and two unnamed school officials as defendants.

The plaintiff, who CBC is not naming, alleges a priest who served as the school's "spiritual advisor" made sexual advances on him, facilitated by a nun who was the plaintiff's teacher. The plaintiff doesn't know their names, the suit says.

The suit alleges the advances led to "an incident of masturbation involving the [advisor]."

The man, who is Métis, also alleges the nun publicly chastised, demeaned and humiliated him because of his heritage for the following two years, until 1966, while she was his teacher.

The sexual abuse and humiliating attacks left the man with psychological issues that continue to this day, including panic attacks and nightmares, the suit says.

The allegations have not been proven in court.

Church stands in solidarity with victims: spokesperson

Richard Fréchette, a spokesperson for the archdiocese, confirmed Friday the organization has been served with the lawsuit.

Fréchette said in a news release, the archdiocese began an internal investigation after it was contacted by an individual who shared a story of abuse in the summer of 2018.

He said the church stands in solidarity with victims of sexual abuse.

"Every single abuse case involving a minor, no matter when it took place, is wrong," he wrote.

"Each time the heinous crime of sexual abuse is reported, we must listen attentively and respond compassionately to those who have been victimized and hurt, particularly if the abuser is connected in any way with our Church."