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Price of Canada scandals hits $23 million.

OTTAWA -- The cost of Canada's worst church-related sex scandal has reached $23 million with the number of alleged victims increasing to 700.

The compensation package for sexual abuse victims at two boys' schools in Ontario operated by the Christian Brothers, a Catholic lay order, was increased by $10 million in a secret deal reached June 7.

The original $13 million fund was created last year after 300 former students in St. Joseph's Training School for Boys and St. John's Training School for Boys complained about sexual abuse at the schools in the 1950s and '60s.

The new package was agreed to by the Toronto and Ottawa archdioceses, the brothers of the Christian Schools of Ottawa and the Ontario government -- all of whom signed the original deal.

The new agreement was not made public for fear it might jeopardize future criminal proceedings against the brothers of the Christian Schools of Toronto, who have refused to take part in any compensation package.

"It's a scam," Mel O'Donohue, lawyer for the Christian Brothers in Toronto, said in an interview June 11. "I'll have nothing to do with (David McCann) nor with his organization." McCann is founder of Helpline, an association of former wards of the two schools who sought compensation.

O'Donohue claimed that McCann once came to his office demanding a check for $3 million from the Christian Brothers of Toronto or else he would publish information that would be "extremely embarrassing" to the Christian Brothers. "We don't play blackmail," said O'Donohue.

McCann dropped out of sight under the witness protection program after the compensation package was signed last December. O'Donohue said McCann is an admitted cocaine dealer who has left the country. "He knows full well that if he comes back, he'll probably end up in jail, and he should end up in jail."

The lawyer read from an affidavit from a former student at St. Joseph's who said, "McCann told me explicitly that I could make some money from (a statement of abuse) whether it was true or not and that some organization called Helpline would guarantee that. In my view this was a scam."

Another affidavit from a former student stated, "What is being alleged against the brothers is all bullshit, and I am prepared to do anything to help the brothers."

While there have been several convictions of former brothers from St. Joseph's, O'Donohue said only one former brother of St. John's, operated by the Toronto Christian Brothers, has been convicted even though there have been six trials. "And that decision is presently under appeal," he said.

Sources said the Christian Brothers of Toronto have poured massive amounts of money toward their defense. In one case alone the estimate was $550,000, with more money being spent on an appeal.
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Title Annotation:sex abuse scandals at St. John's and St. Joseph's Training Schools
Author:Babych, Art
Publication:National Catholic Reporter
Article Type:Cover Story
Date:Jul 2, 1993
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