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No time limit to pursue sex assault allegations: Grace

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December 1, 2017

Although a former Manitoba priest claims a woman waited too long to file a lawsuit that alleges sexual misconduct that began more than 15 years ago, Toronto civil sexual abuse lawyer Elizabeth Grace says there is no time limit to pursue these allegations, CBC News reports.

As the CBC article notes, the plaintiff, represented by Grace, partner with Lerners LLP, filed a statement of claim in September alleging that after she began individual pastoral counselling sessions with the priest in 2001, he began pressuring her to have sex with him and began kissing and fondling her.

The claim alleges the priest forced the woman to submit to sexual intercourse at various locations and that the misconduct continued until 2015.

In his statement of defence, the priest denies the allegations and says the relationship was consensual, says the article. He resigned from his position with the church in August 2016 after the woman made a complaint about him to the bishop of the Anglican diocese.

The woman is also suing the synod of the diocese, which has filed a cross-claim against the priest, seeking damages in relation to the woman’s claims and its legal costs, says the CBC.

In its defence, the diocese claims it expressed profound regret to the plaintiff and offered to pay for her to receive 10 counselling sessions.

However, in its statement of defence, the diocese also says it did not breach any duties to the woman, nor has it been negligent. Like the priest, the diocese argues that under Manitoba’s Limitation of Actions Act, the woman waited too long to file her lawsuit, which alleges sexual misconduct took place between 2001 and 2015.

Grace filed a reply in court, stating there is no time limitation for assaults of a sexual nature.

With respect to the diocese’s offer to pay for counselling mentioned in its statement of defence, Grace told the CBC her client has not yet been able to receive any such funding despite repeated requests.

“It’s disappointing that an institution like the Anglican Church that prides itself on being compassionate and caring has provided so little support for one of its members,” says Grace.

“I’m hopeful that it will make some funded counselling available to my client.”

This article originally appeared on AdvocateDaily.com
Elizabeth Grace

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