Update: McKiggan Hebert is pleased to announce that a proposed settlement has been reached in it’s class action against the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Halifax-Yarmouth. The $10,000,000 settlement will create a confidential compensation process so that survivors of priest sexual abuse can apply for compensation. For more details you can read the Notice of Proposed Class Action Settlement form.

McKiggan Hebert in Halifax has filed a class action against the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Halifax-Yarmouth on behalf of persons who allege they were sexually abused by priests from the Archdiocese from 1960 to date.

The class action, filed by Steven Gallant on behalf of other sexual abuse survivors, claims that the Roman Catholic Episcopal Corporation of Halifax and the Roman Catholic Episcopal Corporation of Yarmouth, more commonly known as the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Halifax-Yarmouth, had a decades long policy of secrecy of any allegations of sexual abuse against a priest.

Several priests from the Archdiocese of Halifax-Yarmouth have been criminally convicted of sexually abusing children within the Archdiocese.

Gallant alleges he was sexually abused by Father Robert MacDougall, a notorious sexual abuser, who was convicted of sexually assaulting children from his parishes. Gallant claims the sexual abuse had lasting and permanent effects on his life.

The lawsuit claims that the Archdiocese sent priests accused of sexual misconduct to Southdown Institute, a treatment facility in Ontario, and then placed the priests back into parishes without any notice or warning to parishioners.

You can read a copy of the class action pleadings here.
The class action was filed by Halifax lawyer John McKiggan of the law firm McKiggan Hebert and Koskie Minsky LLP of Toronto.
According to John McKiggan Q.C., lead counsel from McKiggan Hebert:
Childhood sexual abuse is a crime that can have lasting and debilitating effects on it’s victims. Predators use their influence and positions of power to gain access to, and abuse, vulnerable children. The claim alleges the Archdiocese of Halifax was aware of sexual abuse by many of it’s priests and failed to take steps to protect children within the Archdiocese.
This class action is about survivors of childhood sexual abuse being able to take control of their lives and hold the Archdiocese accountable for it’s inaction.”
McKiggan said that proceeding as a class action helps to protect survivors:
Many survivors of sexual abuse, through no fault of their own, carry a great deal of shame and guilt about what happened to them. Fear of public disclosure prevents many victims of childhood abuse from breaking the silence about what happened to them and seeking help. The advantage of a class action is that it allows survivors claims to be resolved in a respectful and private fashion that protects vulnerable victims of abuse.
McKiggan Hebert is accepting enquiries from persons who were sexually abused by priests from the Archdiocese of Halifax and the former Diocese of Yarmouth.  If you, or a member of your family, were a victim of sexual abuse by a priest, you may contact us for further information.

An August 20th story in the CBC described what Roman Catholic Archbishop Anthony Mancini has spent most of his 11 years as head of the Halifax-Yarmouth diocese dealing with. He said, “I can’t talk about what’s happening in Pennsylvania or talk about what’s happening in Chile or what’s happening in Australia, but it’s been happening in Halifax, Nova Scotia for the last 40, 50 years. So we’re not immune to this stuff.”

“It’s been happening and we’ve been dealing with this over the last number of years. I’ve been here just about 11 years and this has been one of the primary issues that I’ve dealt with and continue to deal with during the whole ministry that I’ve exercised here.”

Mancini also said, “If you’ve been abused, call the police, call the authorities. We want to deal with it. Why? Not because I like litigation. Not because I care about fighting with lawyer or any of this kind of stuff. It’s because it’s necessary. Because the church is in crisis.”

For more information about the Halifax Priest Sexual Abuse Class Action call McKiggan Hebert toll free at (877) 423-2050 or fill out the confidential interview form at the bottom of the page.

John McKiggan Q.C. has received national recognition for his work over the past 25 years representing survivors of childhood sexual abuse. He is the author of Breaking the SilenceThe Survivor’s Guide to Abuse Claims in Canada.

Other Class Action Lawsuits

You can see other class action lawsuits we are involved with by clicking on our Class Action page. You can also view our successfully completed Class Actions.

Archdiocese Class Action Interview Form 

(Confidential for lawyer’s use only)

This Interview Form asks you to describe events and how they have affected you. Responding to questions contained in this form may be disturbing and trigger painful memories. We suggest that you proceed slowly and that you read and complete this form in a safe place. If you feel anxious or unwell when you think about your experience, or while you are filling out this form, we encourage you to seek support from someone, such as a family member, counselor, treating health care professional, friend, or someone else.