Supreme Court upholds ruling allowing class action against Saint Joseph's Oratory
Oratory sought to be excluded from sexual assault suit in November 2017
The Supreme Court of Canada has rejected a bid by Montreal's Saint Joseph's Oratory to be excluded from a sexual assault class action suit.
On Friday, the high court upheld a Quebec Court of Appeal ruling allowing the suit against the oratory and the Congregation of Holy Cross for alleged sexual abuse.
The oratory was included in the suit amid allegations that some of the abuse by members of the congregation occurred in the landmark church.
In 2013, the Congregation of Holy Cross apologized and paid up to $18 million in a mediated, out-of-court settlement to compensate victims for abuse that occurred at three Quebec institutions, not including the oratory, over a five-decade span.
A spokesman for a victims' rights group has said that settlement prompted about 40 additional alleged victims to come forward, resulting in the current class action suit.
Allegations date back to 1950s
The initiator of the suit, referred to only as "J.J.", alleges that he was sexually assaulted by members of the Holy Cross congregation while he was a student at Notre-Dame-des-Neiges elementary school and at the oratory in the 1950s.
He asked the court to authorize the class action after seeing a 2011 report by Radio-Canada's investigative program Enquête on sexual assaults committed by members of the congregation, according to a summary produced by the Supreme Court.
The oratory, which filed its request to appeal to the Supreme Court in November 2017, said it is "exceptionally targeted as the only place cited and as an institution" in the latest lawsuit.
The Congregation of Holy Cross apologized and paid up to $18 million in 2013 to compensate victims for abuse that occurred at three Quebec institutions over a five-decade span. It did not include the oratory.
The Supreme Court gave no reasons for deciding to hear the appeal.