Recent Sex Abuse Trial Results and Transcripts

Hands of catholic priest This sex abuse trial was heard in May 2017 in Guelph. The plaintiff was abused by a catholic priest when he was 11 years old, in 1963 while on a road trip to Notre Dame Cathedral in Montreal with the priest. The plaintiff, as an 11 year old boy, looked at the priest as though he was God, with the power over his immortal soul, the power to hear confession and redeem sin, and the ability to determine whether he would go to hell or heaven. The impact of sexual abuse by the priest had a severe and profound effect on the plaintiff which he did not appreciate until he was 60 years old. This connection late in life of the effects of the abuse is very common in cases of childhood sexual abuse.

The plaintiff early on in his life found alcohol to relieve the anger, guilt, shame, and anxiety he felt after the abuse, after being molested by a man of God. He became an alcoholic. He lost his family and his wife left him, and he lost jobs due to his alcoholism.

The defence of the Archdiocese of Toronto, who was responsible for the priest (now deceased) was that the plaintiff’s alcoholism was due to other factors, and in essence that he would have become an alcoholic even without the abuse. The abuse, the Archdiocese argued, had a ‘minimal’ impact on the plaintiff’s life.

However, none of the plaintiff’s five siblings ever lost their jobs or their families due to alcohol. None of the plaintiff’s siblings became alcoholics. None of the plaintiff’s siblings were abused by a Catholic Priest.

Below are links to transcripts of certain key portions of the evidence.

  • The first are the arguments at the start of the trial regarding family photographs from the 1950s and 1960s, showing the plaintiff as a young child. He came from a stable and normal household. The defence objected to the inclusion of this evidence. Ledroit Sabo was successful in having the family photos admitted into evidence.

    McCabe v. RCEC 2017 – May 8 admissibility of family photos and school records
  • The second transcript is the evidence of Dr. Peter Jaffe, called by the plaintiff as an expert psychologist on the effects of sexual abuse. Dr. Jaffe is a leading expert in Canada on the impact of childhood sexual abuse and has been appointed by the Court in public inquiries on historic sexual abuse. Dr. Jaffe opined that the childhood sexual abuse in this case had a significant impact on the plaintiff.

    McCabe v. RCEC 2017 – May 12 – Evidence of Dr. Peter Jaffe
  • The third transcript is the evidence and cross-examination of Dr. Jeff McMaster, who was called by the Archdiocese on the basis that the plaintiff’s lifelong alcoholism was due to ‘other factors’ unrelated to the sexual abuse. The Jury was obviously affected by this effective cross examination by Paul Ledroit to discredit Dr. McMaster and his opinion.

    The Jury ultimately awarded $550,000 in this case to the plaintiff, including an award of punitive damages against the Archdiocese.

    McCabe v. RCEC 2017 – May 18 and 19 – Evidence and Cross-Examination of Dr. Jeff McMaster