SNAP Applauds Decision from Canadian Appellate Court

An appellate court in Canada has upheld a ruling that holds the Archdiocese of St. John’s responsible for cases of child sexual abuse that occurred at an orphanage within its boundaries. We applaud this decision and appreciate that the court chose to put a nail in the coffin of one of the Catholic Church’s oldest arguments to avoid accountability for cases of abuse.

In this case, the Archdiocese of St. John’s argued that abuse inflicted by priests from the Christian Brothers religious order was not the responsibility  of the Archdiocese, even though the children abused were from families within the Archdiocesan boundaries and the order priests worked in the Archdiocese with the permission of the Archbishop. We have long seen this same brand of hairsplitting and lack of accountability in the United States and the only time it stops is when a secular authority steps in, as has happened in this case.

We applaud the court for this decision and believe that it will help unveil the secrets held by both the Archdiocese and the Christian Brothers. Hundreds, if not thousands, of children from a variety of backgrounds, from First Nation tribes to white suburbs, have been victimized by Archdiocesan and order clerics alike. Each and every victim is due their day in court, and this decision by the Court of Appeal makes it clear that both the Archbishop and the order bear some responsibility for decades of abuse perpetrated against countless kids.

We hope this news will encourage other survivors to come forward, make a report to police and prosecutors, and get information into the public sphere that can help protect children today and hold enablers and abusers accountable.

CONTACT: Zach Hiner, SNAP Executive Director (517-974-9009, [email protected])

(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is

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