Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Alleged abuse victims oppose settlement

Alleged abuse victims oppose settlement

Bishop's College School in Lennoxville, the object of a lawsuit for alleged sexual and physical abuse by a deceased staff member.
Updated: Tue Aug. 24 2010 7:24:36 PM

A settlement reached between Bishop's College School and forty former students who were allegedly abused there 50 years ago has not satisfied four of the claimants in the class action lawsuit.

The Lennoxville private school and the lawyer for the 40 alleged victims settled on compensation of $1.15 million in the spring, which would amount to about $20,000 to $40,000 per person after accounting for legal fees.

However, at a Quebec Superior Court hearing Tuesday to approve the settlement, four people stepped forward to say the amount wasn't enough.

The alleged victims claim they suffered physical and sexual abuse at the hands of Rev. Harold Forrester, who served as a teacher and housemaster at the school from 1953 to 1962.

One of the alleged victims who opposes the amount of the settlement still has vivid memories of what he says occurred at the school in 1959, when he was a 14-year-old student there.

He alleges he was summoned into Rev. Forrester's room one day and beaten with a hairbrush.

"Then he started to massage my bum," he told CTV Montreal's Annie DeMelt. "Round and round and round and making funny noises with his mouth, and breathing heavily."

The four alleged victims opposing the settlement amount would like to see a more generous offer, like the $5 million settlement reached last summer by Montreal private school Selwyn House in a similar case.

"I would have liked to see a settlement for $50,000 or $60,000, which is reasonable," the alleged victim said.

Unlike Selwyn House, Bishop's College School will have to pay the full amount of the settlement out of its own coffers because it has no liability insurance.

Superior Court Justice Kevin Downs has decided to further study the settlement and will render his decision to the lawyers for the claimants and the school by mail.

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