British Columbia man sues Catholic Archbishop of Vancouver for alleged sexual abuse in 1970s – Cowichan Valley Citizen


A Chilliwack man who says he was sexually assaulted at a Bible camp in the late 1970s is suing the Roman Catholic Archbishop and Archdiocese of Vancouver who ran the camp.

The alleged perpetrator is not named in the lawsuit, named John Doe, who was a counselor and / or clergyman at the camp located on Gambier Island in Howe Sound.

Vernon Mulvahill’s notice of civil suit was filed in the British Columbia Supreme Court in Vancouver last month.

It was 1978 or 1979 when Mulvahill said he was sent by his parents to Camp Latona on Gambier Island in Howe Sound. He is now 49 years old.

“During the week of the camp’s activities, John D. sexually assaulted the complainant,” according to the civil complaint.

The complaint describes degrading and sexually explicit acts that John Doe allegedly committed on the seven or eight-year-old.

Mulvahill alleges that John Doe not only sexually assaulted him, but involved other children in the sexual activity.

Then he made sure Vernahill didn’t tell anyone about it.

“The Complainant alleged that in order to facilitate the abuse, John D. adopted a pattern of behavior that was intended to confuse the Complainant and threatened to believe that obeying John D. was the only option. “

Mulvahill said John Doe used his position as a counselor and / or clergyman as a representative of the church, to develop a close relationship with the boy when he was vulnerable and in need of guidance.

Vernahill says the reason the abuse was allowed to occur was the position of trust and authority vested in John Doe by the defendants, the Archbishop and the Archdiocese.

Among the lasting psychological effects of the alleged abuse, Vernahill says he suffered damage and loss for: post-traumatic stress disorder; mental anguish; depression; anxiety; addiction; suicidal thoughts; distrust of men; and shame, guilt, low self-esteem and feelings of worthlessness.

He seeks general and special damages against the defendants.

Camp Latona on Gambier Island opened in 1959 when it was purchased by the Archdiocese of Vancouver, according to information on the camp’s Facebook page.

“Thousands of children from all walks of life have passed through this camp; with the experience of Camp Latona offering something that every child will remember for a lifetime, ”he says.

The camp was sold in 1999 to an American Christian organization and resold in 2007 and is now in private hands, still run as a camp.

In 2019, the Catholic Archdiocese of Vancouver released a report after an internal investigation that named nine clergy with ties to the Lower Mainland who had been convicted or prosecuted of sexual abuse dating back decades.

“While nothing can undo the harm done to you, I nevertheless wish to offer all of you my sincere apologies for the trauma, the violation in body and soul, and the feeling of betrayal and abandonment of the Church you feel, ”Archbishop J. Michael Miller said in a 2019 statement.

The church has created a line to report abuse by clergy in the Archdiocese of Vancouver. Victims can dial 604-363-7338 or 1-800-968-3146.

“We encourage all victims of clergy abuse to come forward to continue on the path to healing and righteousness.”

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