Court awards teacher nearly $850k after sexual abuse by Catholic priest

Aug 28 2020, 1:24 pm

A retired teacher has been awarded nearly $850,000 in compensation by a judge after the court found she was abused sexually by a Roman Catholic priest over 40 years ago in Kamloops, BC.

The ruling by Justice David Crossin of the BC Supreme Court focuses on when in 1976, Rosemary Anderson began work at Our Lady of Perpetual Help. According to court documents, the role suited the then 27-year-old, as she loved teaching and was a devout Catholic.

Shortly after arriving, she met Erlindo Molon, a priest who the court says used his power and the death of Anderson’s father to start a sexual “relationship born of a betrayal of trust and perpetuated by an abuse of power.”

The relationship would end months later, but not before a series of sexual assaults took place. Anderson gave two specific instances, including one in her apartment where she fought the priest off. However, she indicated it happened many more times after that.

“For a time at least, Fr. Molon would continue to arrive at the plaintiff’s apartment and, in the plaintiff’s words, rape her,” the judge wrote in his ruling.

Anderson estimates Molon had sex with her between 70 to 100 times and testified she was not freely participating.

Ultimately, the court ruling was that the diocese’s Bishop and leadership at the time failed to act in light of their priest’s “predatory instincts.” The document also indicates hearsay evidence of sexual assaults by Molon on other women.

Anderson began the case seeking damages in 2016. The diocese did concede that it will be “vicariously liable for any damages awarded” against its former priest, but “denies any direct liability.”

The judge was direct about his feelings on the matter.

“The evidence concerning this conduct was essentially uncontradicted,” he wrote. “It paints a disturbing picture of a priest pursuing, for his own prurient interests, the calculated exploitation of a young woman who was obviously, at that stage of her life, in dire need of emotional and spiritual care.”

In the result, Anderson was awarded $844,140 from both Molon and Roman Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of Kamloops for damages, including the following:

  • non-pecuniary damages in the sum of $275,000
  • loss of past income in the sum of $125,000
  • cost of future care in the sum of $25,000
  • punitive damages against the defendant Father Erlindo Molon in the sum of $250,000
  • punitive damages against the Roman Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of Kamloops in the sum of $150,000
  • special damages in the sum of $19,140

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