BCS History of Teacher Sex Alligations
And this from last November:
Sherbrooke Record (Quebec)
November 2, 2006 Thursday
HEADLINE: More victims?: New BCS allegations
BYLINE: Brion Robinson, The Record
SHERBROOKE – New alleged victims, including one Eastern Townships resident, have come forward with sexual abuse allegations against Lennoxville borough’s Bishop’s College School since a former student sought court permission to file a multi-million class action lawsuit on behalf of himself and others.
“I was just advised of a new victim last night,” Brian McPhadden, one of two lawyers representing the plaintiff, told The Record Tuesday.
The documents, filed in Superior Court in Montreal in mid-October by a man known only by the initials A.B.T., estimate there are at least 10 other victims.
“We’re now aware of 10 or 11 male victims,” claimed Toronto lawyer McPhadden.
The 58-year-old plaintiff lives in Vancouver and states in court documents that he was a BCS resident between 1958 and 1965. It claims he and other school boys were sexually abused by the now deceased Reverend Harold Theodore Gibson Forster, who was a house master, school chaplain, teacher and choirmaster.
The alleged abuse, which included beating the boy’s bare buttocks with a comb before massaging them, allegedly occurred in 1962 when the victim was 14.
A.B.T.’s Quebec legal representative is Irwin Liebman. He said these types of cases are becoming more common in the legal system.
“What we’re seeing is more litigation than before and more people willing to see the process through,” he said.
McPhadden said A.B.T. will not speak with media, but he said his client is “upbeat” and “determined to see the court case through.”
Papers were served on the school Oct. 24, BCS board chairman David Stenason confirmed, noting the parents of some 260 current students and tens of thousands of alumni have been informed of the situation by way of a one-page letter.
Stenason, who graduated from BCS 31 years ago, also said he was unaware of any new accusations, adding he expected alleged victims to contact a lawyer before communicating with the school.
The A.B.T. suit seeks $13 million from the school for liability in hiring, employing and inadequately supervising Forster, as well as damages of $13 million for “breach of duty of care.”
The suit also seeks $4 million in punitive and exemplary damages, $2 million for aggravated damages as well as special damages to be determined at trial.
McPhadden, who has been involved in similar cases, also said the dollar figures could rise.
“It signifies to the defendant the magnitude of what happened,” he said, noting it would be a benefit to both sides to reach an early agreement.
An early resolution would save the school legal fees and not be so damaging to its reputation, he said.
When asked whether a multi-million dollar claim could seriously hurt the private school, BCS spokesman Stenason admitted “any pay out hurts the school.”
But he added that “the lawyers can say whatever they want and whatever number they want, but the verdict is up to the courts to decide.”
Although the events are alleged to have happened almost 50 years ago and the accused Forster died in 1967, Lawyers Liebman and McPhadden say they are confident they have a strong case.
Many former students have already come forward, Liebman said, and they have brought a lot of evidence to the table.
There’s little doubt the abuse ended after Forster’s departure, McPhadden said, adding that the private school is responsible for its students’ well-being.
“The school was staging a parental role,” he said.
The Toronto law firm’s Web site states that after the school is served with court documents “the firm will seek a claims resolution agreement with the school. Should agreement not prove possible at an early stage, a court hearing to certify the action as a class proceeding will be scheduled.”
Liebman said the hearing could take place as early as mid-2007.
The lawyers are still waiting to hear from the school.
“It’s too soon to say if we would consider a settlement,” Stenason said. “I wouldn’t want to comment on behalf of the school too early.”
Speaking on behalf of A.B.T., McPhadden said, “It’s his hope the school will do the right thing.”