Montreal — About 150 former pupils and boarders of the former Montreal Institute for the Deaf who were sexually abused between 1940 and 1982 will share US $21.6 million after their class action was settled.
The record amount includes $14.4 million the Clerics of St. Viateur, whose members worked at the institute, agreed to pay in November.
A second settlement, totaling $7.2 million, was reached Feb. 10 with the Raymond-Dewar Institute, the name for the Montreal Institute for the Deaf as of 1984.
Superior Court Judge Eva Petras approved the settlements in mid-February and asked attorney Andre Forget, a former judge at Quebec's Court of Appeal, to review the victims' claims. Forget was the court's assessor during other class actions against the Brothers of the Holy Cross and the Redemptorists that were settled in recent years.
The settlement is "by far the most important sum ever paid in Quebec for sex abuse against minors," said a statement released by Kugler Kandestin, the law firm representing the victims.
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Officials with the Clerics of St. Viateur, known as the Viatorians, declined comment on the settlements. The order also refused to disclose the canonical status of congregation members named in the lawsuit.
In November, Fr. Nestor Fils-Aime, the order's superior, said his congregation would "have to submit itself to stringent financial sacrifices to pay the agreed sums."
Meanwhile, the order released the 2014 update of its 28-page policy regarding sexual misconduct within the community.
The lawsuit first filed in 2012 included the names of 27 priests and brothers of the congregation. A seven-page table inserted into the court record associated the initials of the victims with the names of the 24 brothers and three priests accused of sexually abusing the minors. One of the priests named was identified by 24 victims.