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RELIGION | Religion IN BRIEF

Church to Appeal Molestation Verdict

July 25, 1998|Religion News Service

The United Church of Canada says it will appeal a court decision that found it and the Canadian federal government "vicariously liable" for the sexual abuse of children at a residential school for indigenous children run by the church on behalf of the government.

Judge Donald Brenner of the Supreme Court in British Columbia this year found the church and the government liable without fault for sexual assaults committed by Arthur Plint, a former dormitory supervisor in the now closed Alberni Indian Residential School on Vancouver Island.

Plint is serving 11 years in prison for abusing 18 boys at the school through the 1950s and 1960s. The school was one of 80 run by Anglican, UCC and Roman Catholic churches.

"In filing this appeal, we are not for one moment backing away from our statement . . . that 'we express our deep regret and sorrow to the First Nations of Canada for the injustices that were done and for the role of the United Church of Canada in the native residential school system,' " the church said.

But he said the denomination disagreed with the judge's legal analysis.

"Every person involved is struggling with how justice for horrific wrongs can be achieved," moderator Bill Phipps wrote in a letter being sent to all United Church congregations.

"I urge all of us to continue praying for God's guidance, remembering especially the victims of these evil acts and the wider legacy of assimilation policies reflected in the residential school system."

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