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B.C. man alleges Catholic priest sexual abuse, sues multiple dioceses

The alleged abuse happened when the man was around 17 years old. According to court documents, the then-teen was allegedly told no one would believe him if he reported the abuse.
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A Surrey man is suing Roman Catholic dioceses, alleging sexual abuse.

A Surrey man has filed a civil action against multiple Roman Catholic dioceses, orders of clergy and the estates of several dead priests alleging sexual abuse when he was a boy.

In a notice of civil claim filed in B.C. Supreme Court on Sept. 8, W.B. alleges he was abused by Father Harold McIntee.

In 1989, McIntee pleaded guilty to 17 counts of sexual assault against males, many of them residential school boys as young as 10.

The defendants named in the claim are: the estates of McIntee, Bishop Emeritus John Fergus O’Grady, Bishop Emeritus Hubert O’Connor, Father James Anthony Jordan; the Order of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate in the Province of British Columbia; OMI Lacombe Canada Inc.; Missionary Oblates Canada Inc.; Oblates of Mary Immaculate — St. Peter’s Province; The Roman Catholic Episcopal Corporation of Prince Rupert also known as the Diocese of Prince George, British Columbia; The Roman Catholic Archbishopric of Vancouver, a Corporation Sole and the Roman Catholic Bishop of Victoria, a Corporation Sole.

A representative of one church said they are aware of the claim and are examining it while awaiting further details.

The claim said W.B. was 17 in 1981 when he began attending mass and prayer and youth groups at Sacred Hear Catholic Church in Terrace.

He alleges that, while he was staying overnight at the rectory, he was experiencing abdominal pain. McIntee allegedly asked W.B. to remove his pants.

Later, in the remote mining town of Kitsault, W.B. alleges McIntee climbed into bed with him and sexually abused him. The claim further alleges that after W.B. attempted suicide, McIntee visited him in hospital and told him no one would believe him if he reported the abuse.

The claim alleges McIntee abused his privilege as a priest to groom to youth and gain his trust.

“McIntee knew the grooming and abuse perpetrated by him upon the plaintiff was unlawful and gravely injurious,” the claim filed by lawyer Sandra Kovacs said.

St. Joseph’s Indian Residential School

The claim said McIntee worked at St. Joseph’s Indian Residential School in Williams Lake from 1959 to 1963. He worked alongside Glenn (Len) William Doughty, who was later convicted on multiple counts of sexual abuse of young males.

The claim said McIntee also worked alongside and under the supervision of O’Connor, principal of St. Josephs and later bishop of Prince George. O’Connor resigned in 1991 amid multiple charges of sexual abuse of Indigenous girls at St. Joseph’s and elsewhere, the claim said.

In 1997, O'Connor was convicted of rape and indecent assault of female students at schools. He was later acquitted of indecent assault in a 1999 appeal and a new trial was ordered for the rape charge but the Crown decided not to pursue the case after O’Connor apologized.

McIntee was sentenced to two years in jail and three years' probation but was never removed from the priesthood, according to the claim.

The claim said between 1964 and 1975, McIntee was in Duncan under the authority of then-bishop of Victoria Remi DeRoo. The claim alleges McIntee groomed and abused a 13-year-old Indigenous boy there.

After that, McIntee took leaves of absence, living in Dawson Creek, Detroit, Beaconsfield and Montreal, Que. and Arnprior, Ont., court documents state.

It was around 1981 that McIntee was assigned to Terrace under the authority of then-Prince George Bishop O’Grady. The claim alleges McIntee abused three young males, including W.B., there.

The claim asserts the oblates and the bishops should have known McIntee was a pedophile or and ephebophile with a propensity to groom and sexually abuse young males.

The claim says oblates are structured to be shielded against liability from civil actions arising from historical abuse claims.

Church response

Lawyer Mary Margaret MacKinnon spoke to Glacier Media on behalf of Victoria’s Bishop Gary Gordon.

She said the diocese is aware of McIntee’s wrongdoings, that the bishop wants to respond compassionately and stand with the victims.

“He’s a convicted sexual predator,” she said. “To my knowledge, there was no evidence of wrongdoing in Victoria.”

“As this matter is before the courts, we cannot comment at this time," Vancouver archdiocese spokesperson Makani Marquis said.

The Prince George diocese has not responded to Glacier Media's request for comment.

Dark networks

The claim said the alleged abuse is not an isolated incident but rather part of a continuum of abuse entrenched in the Roman Catholic Church.

The church culture “permitted dark networks to form, where clergy abusers identified and communicated with one another about their abuse of children, youth and vulnerable person, for the purpose of targeting, improving access to, and sharing children and vulnerable victims,” the claim said.

The claim noted Australian criminologists and sociologists are mapping dark networks and have identified 99 clergy members in two dioceses. That project has uncover a “mafia-like” code of silence, the claim said.

“[W.B.] says the culture permitted similar dark networks to form in Western Canada, causing or contributing to his grooming and abuse.”

Abuse reporting

The Victoria diocese has a bright red button at the top of its website for people to report sexual abuse or a cover-up by a bishop as does the Archdiocese of Vancouver.

The case is one of many now before B.C. Supreme Court.

None of the allegations have been proven in court.

jhainsworth@glaciermedia.ca

twitter.com/jhainswo

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