Woman sues Roman Catholic Diocese of Kamloops, alleging sexual abuse

A former teacher wants offices in Kamloops searched for documents related to her case

  • Mar. 7, 2019 11:08 a.m.

A former elementary schoolteacher who is suing the Roman Catholic Diocese of Kamloops and a retired priest — alleging sexual abuse at his hands while she taught at Our Lady of Perpetual Help four decades ago — wants offices in Kamloops searched for documents related to her case.

As reported by Kamloops This Week in December 2016, Rosemary Anderson originally filed an eight-page notice of claim in B.C. Supreme Court, claiming sexual abuse at the hands of Father Lindo Molon and an apparent coverup by then-Bishop Adam Exner.

In the document, Anderson claims to have been vulnerable when she began teaching at the North Shore school in 1976.

Her claim describes Molon as her superior at the school. The original claim states she went to Molon for help after the death of her father.

“Commencing in or around September 1976 and continuing for approximately eight months, Father Molon — approximately 20 years older than the plaintiff and in a position of superior spiritual, religious, moral and vocational power and/or authority — exploited the plaintiff and repeatedly performed sexual acts upon the plaintiff innumerable times, including intercourse,” the document reads.

Anderson claims in the document to have reported the incidents to Adam Exner, the bishop of the Kamloops diocese in the spring of 1977, after which Molon was transferred to an Ontario parish.

The claim also states Anderson was ordered to leave the Kamloops diocese “by the close of the school year, under threat of slander and/or harassment by the OLPH education committee.”

In the document, Anderson claims to have suffered a loss of potential earnings. She is also seeking aggravated damages, punitive damages and special damages.

“The defendant, Father Molon, exploited the plaintiff’s vulnerability, religious devotion and obedience to manipulate her into submitting to the sexual assaults,” the claim reads, also accusing Exner of wrongdoing.

“The bishop intimidated the plaintiff and demanded that she leave the diocese under threat of slander and harassment by the education committee that governed the plaintiff’s employer, the OLPH elementary school.”

In June 2017, Exner responded to the civil claim, denying liability.

In a follow-up to the original filing, Anderson filed a notice of application in B.C. Supreme Court on Feb. 27, asking for an order to search offices of the Archdiocese of Kamloops.

“She contends that there is a real concern that material documents exist that have not been appropriately searched for, disclosed or explained,” the court documents state.

The church has said such documents do not exist.

A court date of April 1 has been set to hear the application.

Molon is now 86 and living in Ontario. Court documents state he “lacks capacity” and is represented by his litigation guardian, the Ontario Public Guardian and Trustee. On May 16, 2018, his guardian responded to the civil claim, denying liability.

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The latest filing from Anderson includes information from the Aug. 14, 2018, evidence given by now Archbishop Emeritus Exner.

During that questioning, Exner admitted that people in Kamloops in the mid-1970s came to him with concerns about Molon, but that he never took notes, though he concluded he “had to do something about this man” — whom Exner appointed as assistant co-pastor at OLPH parish in November 1974.

Exner said he had no knowledge regarding the absence of records in Molon’s personnel file with respect to events between 1975 and 1976, the period of time during which Exner admitted to receiving reports and investigating Molon’s sexual transgressions.

The last letter in Molon’s file from 1975 is dated Feb. 21, 1975. The next letter in his file is dated March 15, 1977.

Exner said Anderson came to him to report that a relationship with Molon developed after she went to him for counselling after the death of her father.

In his testimony, Exner described Molon as “a playboy and she was not the only one he was taken advantage of. He was taking advantage of quite a few people.”

Exner said he heard many rumours of Molon involved in “inappropriate relationships with women,” adding that while he did not speak with the women allegedly involved, he did speak with Molon, who, according to Exner, replied, “I’m human.”

Exner did not formally suspect Molon until Oct. 24, 1977. He said he considered defrocking Molon, but “still wanted to leave a door open for possibility of rehabilitation,” conceding that Molon “wasn’t co-operative in any sense” to the offer of rehabilitation.

Exner also admitted he was concerned about the effect of the events involving Molon and the parishioners and that it was a scandal.

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According to court documents, “removing the scandal was a foremost concern.”

None of the allegations raised have been proven in court.

The civil trial is scheduled to be held in October.

(Names of victims of sexual assault and those alleging they were sexually assaulted are not typically published, per Canadian Press Style guidelines, but Anderson has authorized KTW to use her name)

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