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Ex-residential school student files suit
« on: April 23, 2003, 02:55:00 AM »
"Ex-residential school student files suit
by Sarah Elizabeth Brown
A Whitehorse Star Archive story originally published April 21, 2003

Ed. note: some readers may find some details in this story offensive.
A middle-aged Yukon man is suing the federal government and the Catholic Church for abuses he says he suffered at the hands of priests responsible for his care during his days at the Lower Post, B.C. residential school.
The lawsuit was filed with the Yukon Supreme Court earlier this month.
In it, the 57-year-old first nation man says he was repeatedly sexually assaulted by two boys? dorm supervisors over an eight-year period.
The man would have been five or six when the abuse started in September 1952. It didn?t end until June 1960.
While he?s suing the Attorney General of Canada, the Catholic Episcopal Corporation of Whitehorse, four religious orders and the priest in charge of the school, it?s the two dorm supervisors who were responsible for the abuse, the lawsuit alleges.
Both former dorm supervisors have been dead for several years, and the suit is against their estates.
Jerzy George Maczynski worked at the school between 1955 and 1961, and again between 1965 and 1969.
He died in 1998 while serving a 16-year sentence for 11 counts of indecent assault, six counts of buggery, one count of attempted buggery and nine counts of gross indecency. All convictions were against first nation students at Lower Post.
The 57-year-old who brought the suit forward April 9 alleges that Maczynski fondled his genitals, masturbated him and performed oral sex on him. The young student was forced to return the sexual favours, the court documents say, and as well, Maczynski performed anal intercourse on the boy.
Ben Garand worked at the school between 1950 and 1955, and was charged in 1994 with five counts of indecent assault against students. When he died the next year, those charges died with him.
The man says in his court documents that Garand?s assaults included masturbating himself by putting his penis between the boys legs and ejaculating.
Beyond the sexual abuse, the man said, he suffered physical abuse and intimidation at the hands of priests, religious brothers and staff at the school. He lost his aboriginal language, culture and family roots when he was taken to live most of the year at the mission school.
The federal government, Catholic Church and religious orders failed to screen all personnel providing services to young students, the court documents continue, and they either knew or ought to know that Maczynski and Garand were pedophiles with a history of abusing students. The government and Catholic organizations failed to end the abuse and prevent it from happening again, according to the lawsuit.
The Catholic Church ran the school on behalf of the federal government between 1951 and 1975.
The man suing says that the two dorm supervisors? boss, Father Yvon Levaque, was told of the abuses in the late 1950s by students, but he failed or refused to conduct a proper investigation, the lawsuit alleges.
Levaque was the school?s principal and administrator between April 1956 and 1964, when he left. He?s believed to live in Ottawa.
Though the school was in northern B.C., most of the couple of dozen former students who?ve sued for abuse they suffered are from the Yukon.
Eight years of abuse left the man with post-traumatic stress disorder, sexual trauma and an inability to undergo normal peer development, sexual development and the inability to form and keep intimate relationships.
He doesn?t deal well with people in authority, with his anger or with expressing emotions. He hasn?t finished school and isn?t able to get and keep jobs, resulting in a loss of income and income-earning capacity, the court documents say.
Alcohol addiction is another result.
It?s a story all-too familiar to Lower Post and other residential schools in the territory.
In December 1998, an out-of-court settlement was announced between the federal government, Catholic Church and 11 former Lower Post students.
The following September, another 17 former students filed lawsuits, also for sexual assault and other forms of abuse in the 1950s.
Last December, the federal government announced a fast-tracking system to settle the 12,000 outstanding mission school abuse claims across the country out of court, though the ?points? system was quickly criticized.
In late winter, the federal government and the Anglican Church ratified a deal capping the church?s liability at $25 million.
The federal government built the Lower Post residential school in the early 1950s to educate northern B.C. and Yukon aboriginal youth in the standard of the day.
First nation children were normally removed from their parents and communities each summer and taken to Lower Post, where they remained until summer vacation.
Lower Post is not the only former residential school to be hit by lawsuits for physical and sexual abuse.
Former employees at the Anglican Church-run Carcross residential school and Coudert Hall, a first nations student residence in Whitehorse managed by the federal government, have been subject to litigation.

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