The former Mount Cashel Orphanage in St. John's. — Telegram file photo
A new settlement has been reached with the Catholic lay order, the Irish Christian Brothers, that affects some 160 victims of sexual abuse at the former Mount Cashel orphanage in St. John’s, The Telegram has learned.
The settlement is part of a $16.5 million cash payment from the Christian Brothers affecting 400 men and women in the U.S. and Canada who were molested as children by members of the Christian Brothers.
The Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors for The Christian Brothers Institute and The Christian Brothers of Ireland, Inc. has approved the terms and conditions of an agreed-to reorganization plan in the Chapter 11 cases of The Christian Brothers Institute and The Christian Brothers of Ireland, Inc. (In the United States, the Christian Brothers are the civil arms of the North American Province of the Congregation of Christian Brothers of Ireland.)
In response to sexual abuse claims, the Christian Brothers filed Chapter 11 cases on April 28, 2011 in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York. During the course of the Chapter 11 cases, more than 400 survivors of sexual and physical abuse filed claims with the Bankruptcy Court. The claims generally arise from the Christian Brothers’ operation/staffing of schools and child-care facilities from 17 U.S. states and Canada.
The reorganization plan, which the parties anticipate will be filed within the next three weeks, provides for steps by the Christian Brothers which the committee said it believes will safeguard children from future abuse.
Geoff Budden of Budden, Morris Law Offices in Mount Pearl, who represents 90 of former Mount Cashel residents, said it will take several months for the allocations to be worked out and eligible victims to receive cheques.
The settlement does not prevent any of the clients from continuing their claims against the Catholic archdiocese.
The victims include people who were at the Mount Cashel orphanage in the 1940s right up to when it closed in the late 80s.
The legal battle for those victims stretches back to the late 1990s.