Jun 29, 2018

Loretta Merrit speaks to the Toronto Star about the London diocese sexual abuse case settlements

A decade-long court battle between the Roman Catholic Diocese of London and its insurance company has disclosed $15 million in largely secret settlements to people who sued priests for sexual abuse.

The payments — listed in a document filed with London’s Superior Court — went to 50 people accusing 12 priests in the diocese of sexual abuse.

In a trial, awards in sexual abuse cases are partly based on the pain and suffering caused by the abuse. Pain and suffering awards have been capped by Supreme Court rulings at about $375,000, says Loretta Merritt, a Toronto lawyer who specializes in abuse cases.

“Generally speaking, the younger and more vulnerable the child, the higher the award,” Merritt adds. “The greater the number of the incidents, the more invasive the incidents, the more violent the incidents, the longer the duration over which the child endured the abuse — the higher the award.” 

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Loretta P. Merritt