If you have experienced the trauma of sexual abuse by one of the Church's ministers, employees, or volunteers, and seek healing for the hurt this has caused you, please contact the bishop's delegate for sexual misconduct, Rev. John Sharp, at 519-433-0658 x225.
May God's healing peace and love enfold you.
A Safe Environment Policy for the Diocese of London (PDF)
(updated March 2008)
The Misconduct Committee
In the document, From Pain to Hope, the Canadian Catholic Bishops write: "The devastation of sexual abuse touches the whole community to one degree or another: the families and friends of the victims, those in their immediate community, and the groups linked to the abusers. Abuse causes profound damage. We became aware of the traumas that still resound within adults who lived through the repeated abusive experiences in the past. Our Church, people and clergy, has been deeply affected by this devastation." (# 63)
The misconduct committee of the Diocese of London seeks to offer healing to those within our faith community who have suffered this trauma. The mandate for this committee is two-fold: a) to offer compassion towards victims of abuse, demonstrating to them that the Church does care about them and wishes to do everything possible to respond with compassion to the situation of pain that they have experienced; b) to take responsibility to assist in discovering the truth about these difficult situations, while maintaining the principle that a person is innocent until proven guilty.
Regarding Charles Sylvestre
"The Diocese has admitted vicarious liability for Charles Sylvestre's actions that led to his criminal convictions. We wish to reach just settlements with survivors as quickly as possible, and have reached settlements with seven survivors up to now. Additional negotiations are scheduled and we are hopeful that many additional settlements will be reached. We are paying for counseling for victims who request counseling.
"Some of the victims are alleging more abuse, however, than the abuse for which Sylvestre was convicted. Others are making claims for loss of income. Where the abuse claims go beyond the criminal allegations and where there is a serious loss of income claim, we have asked for the opportunity to ask some questions of the victim and to have an independent medical examination. Although this request came from one of the Diocese's insurers, it is not unreasonable, because these claims cannot be evaluated without information.
"Some of the victims have expressed their fear that they might be put through a difficult process of questioning. They need not have such fears.
"We want to make it clear that it is not our intention to inflict additional pain on anyone.
"The victim's lawyer is present during the questioning. Legal counsel for the Diocese of London asks questions in a manner that is respectful and sensitive, and does not go over the abuse that Sylvestre was convicted for, since that is clearly admitted. Some of the victims are alleging more abuse than they did in the criminal process, so our legal counsel must ask about that. On the loss of income claims he is obliged to ask about their education and job experiences. Their fitness for employment needs to be evaluated by a qualified medical professional.
"The Diocese has the right to refuse to accept instructions from the insurers that are unreasonable, and to pay more than the insurers are prepared to support. One insurer, which has since denied coverage, instructed us not to admit the facts of the abuse or vicarious liability. The Diocese admitted the abuse and vicarious liability anyway. We will do our best in these legal processes to respect the interests of the victims."
-Bishop Fabbro, August 16, 2007 at St. Ursula's Parish, Chatham