Victims of abuse at Ontario school get $1-million settlement
A judge has approved a $1-million class action settlement for a group of men who attended St. Joseph's training school in Alfred, Ont., just east of Ottawa.
The men, all former students, were physically and sexually abused by the Christian Brothers who ran the school in the 1950s, '60s and '70s. The victims were awarded compensation a decade ago, but they didn't get all the money.
Friday's judgment completes the payment.
Justice Bernard Manton told the victims that he thinks of them every time he drives through the town of Alfred and passes the building that used to house St. Joseph's. Before approving the settlement, Manton asked the men to try to forgive the Christian Brothers who ran the school, even if they can't forget.
One of the men, Gaston Osborne, says he will do neither. "I can't say I'm going to forgive. I'm never going to forgive, I'm never going to forget what happened. (I) went through hell."
Two hundred and thirty of the school's former wards already won compensation in the early 1990s from the province, the Archdiocese of Ottawa and the Christian Brothers who ran St. Joseph's. It totalled about $7.5 million.
The St. Joseph's victims shared a portion of that money with the victims of another school near Toronto. The Christian Brothers were expected to pay that money back to the St. Joseph's victims, but didn't. Friday's order will make that happen.
David McCann, who led the class action suit, says there is still one more chapter before the story of St. Joseph's is over. The victims are still demanding an apology from Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty, something former premier Mike Harris refused to do formally.