When will AER be punished for its relentless, Charter-violating abuses to Albertans harmed by the oil and gas industry, and worse, for AER teaching their abusive techniques to regulators globally?
Graphic content warning: This story contains details of sexual assault [Gather your courage! It’s an excellent interview]
Listen 30:21 at link
When priests are found guilty of sexual abuse, the Roman Catholic Church follows a familiar script: offer money to the victim, settle out of court and avoid a public trial.
Usually, it works.
Rod MacLeod refused to settle.
Instead, he hired Rob Talach, a lawyer based in London, Ont. — known as “the priest hunter” — and insisted on his day in court.
Watch the film trailer below.
‘He’d start by tickling you’
MacLeod was a 13-year-old student at St. Charles College, an all-boys school in Sudbury, Ont., when his physical education teacher, a Basilian priest named William Hodgson Marshall, began to sexually assault him. The attacks continued for four years.
The school’s gym was located down the hall from the showers, and students had to pass Father Marshall’s office en route.
“That’s where he would grab you and pull you in,” MacLeod told The Sunday Edition host Michael Enright.
“He would kind of pin you between his desk and his chair. He would put his leg up so that it was like an enclosure … and then he’d start by tickling you and then very quickly it would be down into the shorts, and so on.”
Marshall also regularly pulled students into an empty classroom, locked the door and assaulted them.
Priest showed up at victim’s home
MacLeod said when he learned how to avoid him at school, the priest started to show up at his home, which his staunch Catholic parents considered an honour.
He would take MacLeod for “driving lessons,” then park the car and attack him.
“The pattern that is in play in many of these cases is identical,” Talach told Enright.
“I’ve joked before that it must be a night school course at seminary because many of the perpetrator priests employ the same mechanisms to get at their victims.”
Talach added that developing a relationship with the victim’s family offers predators a “firewall,” because parents develop an affinity for the priest that — in addition to their religious loyalty and faith — stops them from reporting the abuse to higher authorities.
“And then, of course, there’s another firewall, that if it does get to the ears of the hierarchy of the church, it’s a pretty safe bet that they’re going to … simply move him,” said Talach, who has dubbed this “the silent shuffle.”
It happened to Marshall, who was transferred to four different communities, but each time remained a teacher with access to potential victims.
Prey features never-before-seen footage of Talach questioning Marshall during his deposition, as the priest calmly confesses to four decades of serial sexual abuse of young boys.
“It was a very surreal moment to sit across from a perpetrator priest,” said Talach, “and to take the priest’s confession, in a sense.”
Only about one per cent of cases involving sexual abuse by priests goes to trial, and MacLeod said the church could have avoided it in his case.
“I could have been persuaded not to go forward if I’d felt there was a contrite heart, a true sense that they were sorry and something like this would never happen again,” he said.
“But all I got was, here was another corporation that was protecting all of their assets right to the very letter, dragging things out as much as possible, being less than forthcoming, being less than helpful. So the more I experienced that, the more determined I became to see it through.”
‘There is a cathartic effect to litigation’
Talach said the average amount the church pays its victims is $250,000, “so these aren’t lottery wins.”
In MacLeod’s case, the church tried to abort the trial midway through with an offer of $1 million.
He refused. [BRAVO!]
Talach had warned him the legal proceedings would be long and difficult, but added that “there is a cathartic effect to litigation beyond the money.”
The jury awarded Rod MacLeod almost $2.6 million, including a landmark ruling for punitive damages of $500,000.
“There really hasn’t been a cost to the church other than paying for the spilt milk in these situations,” said Talach.
“In most of these cases, they’re paying cents on the dollar as to what the real life effect was on the victim. The church in Canada has never had to pay a fine or be punished and no one has spent a day behind bars, from the hierarchy.
“So when we talk about punitive damages, that’s where we start to get that punishment piece — or penance, to use their language – which is more than due here.”
It’s in their DNA to do the wrong thing.– Lawyer Rob Talach
Neither MacLeod nor Talach is surprised the church has appealed this decision.
“I’ve dealt with them now for 17 years, the Catholic church as a whole, and you can count on one hand the number of times they’ve done the right thing,” Talach said. “So, you know, it’s in their DNA to do the wrong thing.”
MacLeod said he was encouraged at first to hear about the actions Pope Francis was taking against sexual predators in the church, but became discouraged again when the Pope announced that forced celibacy for priests would continue.
“You want some outcome that leads to prevention,” Talach said. “The all-male celibate priesthood needs to go. You need to be like any other occupation in this nation: men, women, gay, straight, trans, single, married, blended family. Just open the doors and fix the problem.”
Unrepentant Catholic Order Appeals Verdict by Press Release, May 23, 2018, Beckett Personal Injury Lawyers
Unapologetic and unrepentant, the Basilian Fathers of Toronto (“Basilians”) today quietly faxed a Notice of Appeal in a legal case which garnered national media attention only a few weeks ago. It was April 26, 2018 when a Toronto civil jury delivered a judgment in the total sum of $2,570,181 which included $500,000 in punitive damages against the Basilians, a Roman Catholic Religious Order of priests who operate on three continents, including all of Canada and the United States, with their headquarters located in Toronto, Ontario.
Now 27 days later and only a few days short of their appeal deadline, the Basilians opted for more litigation instead of reconciliation against the 68 year old man who as a youth was sexually abused by one of their own. The case involved the historical sexual abuse of Rod MacLeod, a student at St. Charles College high school in Sudbury from 1963-1967. The abuser was Father Hodgson Marshall, then a Basilian priest who in 2011 was ultimately convicted of abusing 17 young people over his 38 year career. Marshall had served in Rochester, Toronto, Windsor, Sudbury and Sault Ste. Marie.
Shockingly, it was disclosed in the trial that the Basilians had in fact received at least three complaints of sexual misconduct by Father Marshall before he was assigned to St. Charles College and another three afterwards. The Basilian pattern of response to such complaints appeared to simply be to transfer Marshall.
The plaintiff, Mr. Rod MacLeod had originally responded to the verdict by saying “I hope this outcome will cause the Basilians to rethink their position on how they treat sex abuse victims; stop listening to their legal experts and listen to their hearts and the teachings of Jesus Christ”. [Pffffffffft! That’ll never happen, as long as there is a legal profession servicing the catholic church]. With this appeal it appears that lawyer’s advice was preferred to that of Christ’s.
In response to the appeal, Mr. MacLeod states “Once again the Basilians have shown their true colours. When faced with a judgment carefully considered by six citizens of the community do they say mea culpa and ask for forgiveness for their sins? No, they act like a corporate entity and appeal the decision. [Pedophilia is a corporate entity! Big money in it] But they according to their own words are supposed to have a higher calling then just being a profit centre. [What? People still expect the catholic church to be interested in Jesus? Church authorities have shown themselves over and over to be only interested in ego, more ego, cover-up, raking in money and to be able to sexually exploit (like oil and gas companies) as they please] Because of their higher calling they pay no taxes. When “higher calling” organizations act like profit centres they should lose their tax exempt status and be treated like any other corporation.” [Ya, but most of the multi-billion dollar profit corporations don’t pay taxes in Canada either, rather, they get billions in subsidies and goodies from taxpayers]
Mr. Rob Talach, lawyer for the victim responded to the appeal as follows; “The Basilians clearly don’t like to be judged and will continue to spend charitable funds on legal bills in an effort to deny a 68 year old man his rightfully obtained compensation. Not only is the appeal itself offensive in the circumstances but so is the fact that they waited almost a month to do so.
Ontario jury sets record punitive award against Catholic Church over priest’s abuse by Sean Fine, April 27, 2018, The Globe and Mail
A jury has awarded $500,000 in punitive damages against a Roman Catholic religious order over a priest’s abuse of a schoolboy, accusing it of betraying the community’s trust by covering up abuse and moving a serial predator along to new posts.
Rob Talach, a lawyer who represented the victim, Rod MacLeod, now 68, said the case represents the largest punitive award by a civil jury in a sexual-abuse case against the Catholic Church in Canada. Over all, the jury award in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice amounted to $2.5-million, which includes money for lost wages, suffering and lost enjoyment of life.
Punitive damages are reserved for particularly egregious conduct, and are meant to deter such conduct in the future.
“I think that the public, as expressed through the jury, is fed up. They want to see more action by institutions,” Mr. Talach said in an interview. “We are moving in a more positive direction. MeToo is part of that. The Cosby conviction is part of that.” (U.S. entertainer Bill Cosby was convicted of sexual offences this week in Pennsylvania.)
Evidence showed that William Hodgson Marshall, a member of the Basilian Fathers (a Catholic order of priests), sexually abused Mr. MacLeod 50 times between 1963 and 1967 while Mr. Macleod was a student at St. Charles College high school in Sudbury, Ont., and Mr. Marshall was a priest and gym teacher.
Mr. Marshall admitted to the church that he had between 58 and 87 victims over three decades, according to evidence presented during the civil trial. The order had received several complaints of abuse about him. He was sentenced to two years in jail in 2011 for indecent assault of 16 children and one woman. He died at age 92 in 2014. There have been at least 17 lawsuits, most of which have been settled out of court.
In Mr. Talach’s closing address to the jury, he likened Mr. Marshall to “a barrel of toxic waste: Every time he abused, it was like that barrel was leaking.” And the Basilians’ response was “simply to move the barrel to another community,” including Rochester, N.Y., Toronto, Windsor, Ont., and Sudbury.
The jury used strong terms in denouncing the church’s conduct, in a document written for the court stating the particulars of the conduct for which it ordered the $500,000 in punitive damages. “Concealment: Silent shuffle undertaken to divert … avoiding scandal, neglected to document offences. Put children in harm’s way – grossly negligent. No reconciliation with victims. … Betrayal of trust with the community.”
The Basilian Fathers, in a statement, said they respect the judgment and are determined to work toward the eradication of sexual abuse. They also said they had previously expressed their “deep shame” over Mr. Marshall’s actions, and that he was dismissed from the priesthood and religious life by Pope Benedict XVI in 2013.
The statement also said the Fathers’ manner of dealing with complaints “was inadequate by today’s standards and knowledge.” The Basilian Fathers have not decided yet whether to appeal the award, Rev. Thomas Rosica, a spokesman, said in an interview.
Deacon René Laprise, a spokesman for the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, said the church has no data to show whether the punitive damages award in the Marshall case was the largest in Canada, as each diocese is responsible for managing cases in its community.
Mr. MacLeod said in an interview that he hopes the new level of punitive damages will be his legacy.
“Finally, we’re pulling the veil off and showing the public exactly what’s been going on.”
[But not yet for the mountains of crimes and gag orders by oil and gas companies and their teams of enablers (regulators, lawyers, judges and politicians) across the country]
Refer also to:
ULTIMATE COURT FRAUD? COURT ORDERED GAG ORDER! Ungagged: The Cardinal Pell trials by Sonali Paul, Reuters, March 23, 2019
MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Scooped. It’s a reporter’s nightmare.
After I spent weeks covering the trial of Cardinal George Pell in a small court room in Melbourne, a New York-based reporter for a U.S. media organization was first with the news that one of the most senior officials in the Vatican had been convicted of sexually assaulting two choir boys.
I had to sit on the story for another 11 weeks.
Media had been barred by the court [UNFORGIVABLE!] from publishing anything in Australia about Pell’s prosecution on five sexual offences committed against the two boys at St Patrick’s Cathedral in Melbourne 22 years ago.
Pell was found guilty in December, a verdict announced in court, but the gag order was lifted only on Feb 26. Reuters published news of the conviction only after the gag order was lifted.
… The suppression order had applied throughout Australia “and on any website or other electronic or broadcast format accessible within Australia”. Those failing to comply with suppression orders can be jailed for up to five years as well as fined nearly A$100,000($70,630). A company can face a fine of nearly A$500,000.
At the same time, however, I am bound by the Reuters Trust Principles, which commit all journalists in the company to supply “unbiased and reliable news”.
Normally, when the verdict was announced, I would have sent a series of stories to my editors, urgently reporting the conviction for our clients and readers around the world followed by several updates through the day.
But the gag order precluded that.
Unlike Reuters, several overseas media institutions published the verdict as soon as it was announced. Soon it was widely available online, including in Australia.
The Daily Beast broke news of the conviction out of New York the day Pell was found guilty. The Washington Post and Catholic news agencies offshore followed suit.
The New York Times published the verdict in U.S. print editions but not online.
U.S. media that ran the verdict but did not block coverage to Australia were technically in breach of the suppression order, but there was no way the order could be enforced against them, legal experts said.
“Australia would have to extradite someone, say from the Washington Post. There’s no way that that could happen under U.S. law, because the U.S. publisher would be facing charges that are totally repugnant to the first amendment,” said Jason Bosland, deputy director of the Centre for Media and Communications Law at the University of Melbourne.
The first amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects freedom of the press.
GAG ORDER LIFTED
County Court of Victoria Chief Judge Peter Kidd said he imposed the gag order to avoid tainting the jury in this trial and another case he had set for March 2019, where Pell faced charges on other child sex offences from the 1970s. [Or to protect the church, as seems to happen all too often?] The charges in the second case were dropped last week, leading to the end of the gag order.
In Australia, some newspapers ran headlines, including one that said “CENSORED”, and articles referring to a trial where an unnamed high-profile person was convicted of a serious crime that could not be reported.
For 10 weeks, I and about eight other reporters spent four and a half days a week covering the Pell trials – a mistrial and then a subsequent trial. The jury was given Friday afternoons off, so we were free too.
Pell would wait during breaks in a small interview room next to the courtroom, with two companions most of the time.
When the jury went in to deliberate on the verdict, it was nerve-jangling. We hovered in the corridor outside the court room the whole time, and no one left the court house except when we saw lunch being taken in to the jurors.
The trial’s highlight was the testimony of the one surviving victim. But only the jury, the judge, the lawyers and Pell heard his testimony from a remote site. It lasted for more than two days, including a cross-examination by Pell’s lawyer, Robert Richter.
Pell did not take the stand at any time.
The rest of us in court heard a long line of church officials and ex-choristers being interrogated about Sunday mass protocols, choir processions, wine bottles, and the Cathedral layout. All of them said they had never seen nor heard of anything untoward at the cathedral in late 1996 or early 1997.
In those circumstances, it was easy to forget the gravity of the case and not having heard the victim, the guilty verdict came as a surprise.
Then, after the drama over the gag order, the judge permitted live television coverage of the sentencing on Wednesday. Only a single camera was used, which was trained on the judge and the broadcast was cut immediately after the sentence was delivered.
Pell was sentenced to six years in prison.
Australia seeks possible jail for journalists over gag order on cardinal George Pell’s paedophilia trial by the Straits Times, March 26, 2019
SYDNEY (AFP) – Australia has demanded jail time or fines for 23 journalists accused of breaching an order not to report on the paedophilia trial of cardinal George Pell. [BRAVO THOSE COURAGEOUS INTEGRAL JOURNALISTS and their news organizations!]
In a court filing released on Tuesday (March 26), the department of public prosecutions called for the reporters and 13 of the country’s leading news organisations to face trial for contempt of court.
Pell’s long court case was kept out of public view, thanks to a strict order from Chief Judge Peter Kidd, who barred not only reporting of the trial but also any reporting of his gag order.
But following Pell’s conviction in December on charges of sexually abusing two choirboys in the 1990’s, newspapers such as The New York Times and the Washington Post published details of the case outside Australia, arguing that a judge in one country cannot make law for the world.
A number of Australian newspapers and media organisations then ran headlines complaining that they were being censored and warning Australians they were not able to report a story that was in the public interest.
A series of suppression orders had prevented reporting details of the case against Pell since May 2018, with judges arguing they were necessary to avoid prejudicing juries in two scheduled trials of the top Vatican official. [How many judges are pedophiles? How many children were raped by priests during these court-ordered gag orders?]
The suppression order was lifted after a second trial due to begin next month was abandoned.
Among those now summoned and threatened with “orders for imprisonment” are Mr Ben English, editor of Sydney’s Daily Telegraph, and Mr Michael Stutchbury, editor of the Australian Financial Review – as well as the editors of Melbourne’s two main newspapers.
News organisations cited included media magnate Rupert Murdoch’s Nationwide News, Australia’s biggest newspaper group, and Nine Entertainment, which recently bought the country’s second newspaper publisher, Fairfax Media.
A preliminary court date has been set for April 15. [All the world’s not a stage, it’s a pedophile ring]
“Unconscionably Unjust!” “Beyond the Pale!” Legal gag at it’s most vile: Protecting known multimillionaire pedophile Epstein and entire network, aided & abetted by? Lawyers! “Non-prosecution deal” gave Epstein and his pedophile ring immunity from all federal charges. How many churches & law societies? Will lawyers & judges hammer out another humdinger of a gag to make sure the world never finds out?
Law Society of Ontario a Pedophile Ring? Racism, misogyny *and* enabling sexual abuse of children? Ottawa lawyer, John David Coon, in custody for sex crimes against four-year old daughter of one of his clients. Law Society documents reveal they gave Coon licence to practise law despite knowing of his prior criminal conviction for sexually assaulting another child
Child-sex tourism continues to rise in Canada and abroad: two year study. “In Canada, indigenous women and children are especially vulnerable and are often moved around to be exploited near oil rigs”
“Klippenstein, admittedly, ‘would not be the person’ he is ‘without freedom of thought and expression,’ so where’s his outrage at the legal suppressing of those freedoms – aka gag orders? And who would he be then, with his mouth legally taped shut?” Comment to Andrew Nikiforuk’s article in The Tyee on Klippenstein & Wanless cowardly quitting the Ernst vs Encana lawsuit
Q & A with Andrew Nikiforuk by The Hill Times: “Democracies die without uncomfortable truth-seekers like Jessica Ernst. How could you not like a story like this? It is inspiring. Everyone should take notice.”
… Why is [Slick Water] important and who should read it?
“The book exposes much hidden science about fracking as well as the legal mechanisms that the oil and gas industry have used to hide related damages.
Incredibly, the Catholic Church used the same legal mechanisms to cover up the abuses of pedophile priests in cities like Boston years ago. A representative of the Bishop offered money to the abused family and demanded that they sign confidentiality agreements. Meanwhile the Church sent the abuser off to another parish. The shale gas industry has employed the same legal chicanery. They give abused landowners a cheque and then ask them to sign non-disclosure agreements and all to maintain a regulatory fiction: that fracking is safe and proven.
“Ernst will not settle out of court with her abusers or let the facts about groundwater contamination be swept under a legal carpet. That’s what makes her story so important.”