Supreme Court of Canada Sides with Irene Deschenes, SNAP Applauds
We applaud the decision by the Supreme Court of Canada to stand with a survivor of clergy sexual abuse over the powerful, monolithic institution that is the Catholic Church. The record shows that the Diocese of London, ON, not only enabled Irene Deschenes' abuse but also misrepresented to her when it first learned of allegations against her perpetrator. Irene’s victory in court is a win for everyone who believes in transparency and justice and we are grateful that she has prevailed.
The Diocese of London, ON has fought Irene at every possible turn, so this is truly the story of one brave and persistent person triumphing over the money and might of a powerful institution. The fact that the Diocese fought so hard after lying to Irene about their knowledge of the abuses committed by Fr. Charles Sylvestre is yet another demonstration that the Catholic Church will protect its reputation and finances at any cost. If only Church leadership would instead see innocent children as a resource of the Church and been similarly passionate about defending them from abuse.
We are glad that the Supreme Court agreed with Irene that Catholic officials misled her and coerced her into signing a settlement under false pretenses. We believe that this decision may well make a difference to all survivors who have felt that they were treated in bad faith by Church leadership. We hope that Irene’s win in Canada’s highest court will help encourage and inspire other survivors both in that country and also around the world.
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 SNAPnetwork.org)