A man is suing the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Vancouver over allegations that a former priest and a former teacher sexually abused him in the mid-1970s.
The man, who is only identified as John Doe in the lawsuit, says that Father John Kilty, an ordained priest of the Vancouver Archdiocese who served as pastor of Holy Trinity Parish in North Vancouver from 1956-1982, targeted him while he was a six-year-old student at Holy Trinity Elementary around 1974 and ’75.
He claims that Raymond Clavin, a former pupil of the Christian Brothers who was employed as a teacher, also committed multiple acts of sexual assault and battery on him.
The abuse allegedly included the full spectrum of violations from sexual touching to full-blown rape with Kilty allegedly drugging the plaintiff against his will.
In a statement released by his lawyer, Sandra Kovacs, John Doe says that he was invited by other children and Father Kilty into Kilty’s home for a can of pop, a home that was vibrant with kids going in and out freely.
Kilty, who is no longer alive according to the suit, was kind to him at a time when he needed support and kindness, and he did not realize that his friendly gestures were techniques to groom an “unsuspecting and wide-open little boy” for sexual abuse, says the plaintiff.
Unlike Kilty, Clavin did not psychologically manipulate him but instead insinuated himself into his family’s life and agreed to help in his after-school care, he says.
“I cannot find the right words to explain how the sexual abuse I endured at age six has impacted my life,” he said in the statement. “When the most intimate moment of one’s young life is simultaneously the most horrifying and disgusting, there is a suffocation of every authentic experience from that moment onward. The stain of these traumatic events has, and continues to, permeate all facets of my life experience.”
The lawsuit says it’s not known whether Clavin is alive.
The plaintiff said he was aware of a class-action lawsuit filed against the Archdiocese of Vancouver and supports that suit but decided to file his own individual action because he wants to personally hold the institution accountable.
He said he understands that a positive legacy for Kilty exists in some pockets of the Catholic community in North Van and hates to be the person to take that away.
“However, what I find truly unfortunate is that I have had to come forward to effect this change, instead of the (church) taking this step themselves to set the record straight, because I am confident that I was not the only victim and that they knew or ought to have known that Father Kilty and Clavin were sexually abusing children.”
The lawsuit says the church was complicit in a culture and system of “entrenched clericalism” that enabled perpetrators of sexual abuse to continue to commit their “grievous crimes” and wherein witnesses, complainants and whistleblowers were silenced.
The plaintiff claims to have suffered a number of injuries including physical pain, “moral” injury, spiritual injury and post-traumatic stress disorder, and is seeking damages.
A spokeswoman for the church said in an email that they had just become aware of the case and will be investigating right away.
“As soon as we have any information we will be able to respond, which will likely take a few days,” she said.