Clergy abuse victim launches $2M lawsuit against priest

The Niagra Falls Review/June 13, 2009

The Catholic church continues to be committed to "a process of justice, healing and reconciliation for the victims of clergy abuse," Monsignor Kevin Beach, vicar general of the Archdiocese of Ottawa, said yesterday.

Beach was responding to a civil lawsuit filed Tuesday against the archdiocese and Dale Crampton, a former priest at St. Maurice parish in Ottawa who was convicted in 1987 of sexually molesting seven boys.

One of his victims, "Alex," who was 14 when he was assaulted by Crampton in 1982, held a news conference this week to announce his $2 million suit.

Beach said the church has assisted Crampton's known victims as much as possible. He suggested Alex's lawyer, Robert Talach of Ledroit Beckett, urged him to launch the $2 million lawsuit instead of communicating directly with the church.

Talach denied that accusation yesterday.

"My client contacted me with the purpose of seeking justice," Talach said. "I didn't urge anyone to launch a lawsuit or contact the media. There's almost an implied shame in (the church's) statement of suing the church or going public. Those mechanisms are there for Canadian citizens to seek justice, to get meaningful compensation, to penetrate this veil of secrecy."

Beach invited other victims "who may wish to seek justice and reconciliation" to call him at the Diocesan Centre (613 738-5025) and initiate the process, which he said includes access to independent legal advice. But Talach said the church can't expect victims of abuse to "just walk in the front door and deal with them."

"They've got to know that the first thing that happens when you're victimized by an authority figure such as a priest is that you lose your sense of trust, and you're not equipped with the trust to deal with people one on one like they expect Alex to do," he said.

Crampton, meanwhile, has kept a low profile since serving his eight-month sentence in 1987. In fact, Talach has been unable to find him to serve him the lawsuit. Talach said the church told him they do not know his whereabouts, but received the lawsuit on his behalf. In its statement yesterday, the church did not comment on its current relationship with Crampton.

But after the Sun published the story on Wednesday, a woman called the newspaper to say Crampton was living in Ottawa's west-end.

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