Saturday, January 20, 2018

‘Justice is long overdue’ for training school survivors, says MP who spent three ‘painful’ years at one

abuse accountability Catholic crime education misconduct pedophilia rape violence youth
MP David Sweet, who represents Flamborough-Glanbrook, stands in front of
the former site of St. Joseph's Training School in Alfred, Ontario, this month.
Sweet is speaking out about the abuse he suffered, and witnessed at the school,
now a French-language college, while he lived there in the early 1970s.
David Sweet walks slowly down a snow-covered laneway cutting through the campus of what used to be St. Joseph’s Training School, a residential reform institution for boys deemed “delinquent” or “unmanageable” decades ago by the courts.

It’s early January and Sweet, a federal Conservative Member of Parliament, is walking a reporter and photographer through the site of the former school, located in the small town of Alfred, Ont., about 70 kilometres east of Ottawa. It was here that Sweet says he spent three “painful” years between the ages of 13 and 15 in the early 1970s, after being sent to the school for running away from his home in Kingston and stealing a few cars.

Sweet, who is the National Conservative Caucus Chair, is now going public with his experiences at St. Joseph’s, he says, to lend his voice to a growing number of former training school students telling their stories of abuse. He is also calling for a public inquiry into that abuse.

Sweet decided to tell his story after a Star investigation revealed last month that the government has secretly settled more than 200 lawsuits alleging historic sexual, physical and emotional abuse by teachers and staff at provincially run secular training schools. The investigation also revealed that two provincial officials sounded alarms in the 1970s about the abuse, but that the province appeared to have ignored those warnings.  (more...)


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