Sudbury·Audio

Supreme Court rejects Catholic Church appeal to reduce damages in sex abuse case

The Supreme Court has rejected an appeal from the Basilian Fathers concerning damages awarded to a former Sudbury student.

'I hope this final victory will give hope to other sexual abuse victims to come forward and seek justice'

London, Ont. lawyer Rob Talach said today's Supreme Court decision puts a definitive end to the long legal battle involving the Basilian Fathers and Rod MacLeod, a former Sudbury high school student. (Doug Husby/CBC)

The Supreme Court has rejected an appeal from a Catholic teaching order concerning damages awarded to a former Sudbury high school student.

Lawyer Rob Talach says Father Hodgson Marshall was convicted of sexually abusing his client, Rod MacLeod, who was a student at St. Charles College from 1963-1967.

In 2011, Marshall was ultimately convicted of abusing 17 young people over his 38-year career. He served two years in federal prison and died in 2014.

Talach said Thursday's Supreme Court decision puts a definitive end to the long legal battle, and upholds the judgement on damages of more than $2.5 million dollars, including $500,000 in punitive damages.

"The outcome is a victory for not only Mr. MacLeod but also all victims of sexual abuse in Canada," Talach said in a release. "The law is now friendlier to victims and tougher on their perpetrators."

A call to the Basilian Fathers in Toronto has not been returned.

The Basilians are a Roman Catholic Religious Order of priests who operate on three continents, including Canada and the United States, with their headquarters located in Toronto.

MacLeod also commented on today's decision:

"I hope this final victory will give hope to other sexual abuse victims to come forward and seek justice through the courts. It is possible to achieve justice in Canada."

The lawyer for a man abused by a priest at St. Charles College says his legal battle is won. Rob Talach says the Supreme Court has ruled against the Basilian Fathers and put the matter to rest for good. Talach spoke about the ruling with the CBC's Kate Rutherford. 5:42