Wednesday, April 28, 2021

OCDSB, Royal facing 6 new lawsuits in historical sex abuse cases


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Four decades have passed, but Chris Hilkes still gets choked up talking about the abuse he suffered at Bell High School in Ottawa.

Now, he and five others are suing former teacher Bob Clarke, as well as the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board (OCDSB) and the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre for the alleged negligence that they say contributed to their abuse. 

"Sex abuse has greatly, profoundly affected my life, mentally, spiritually, relationship-wise and mostly financially, and the civil suit is to bring back a bit of what I've taken as a loss," said Hilkes, now 56.

It's the latest in a series of criminal and civil proceedings involving Clarke, the former music teacher convicted for sex crimes against 10 former students who attended Ottawa schools where he taught in the 1970s, 80s and 90s. Around the same time, Clarke was also an out-patient at The Royal, seeking treatment for what he perceived was his inappropriate behaviour toward young people.

Each plaintiff in the six suits launched in mid-April is seeking $1.95 million in damages. They claim the abuse has led to major depression, suicidal behaviour, flashbacks, and loss of both income and enjoyment of life.

"I've lived in rooming homes. I have absolutely nothing," said Hilkes. "I survive. I picked up the odd little jobs here [and there], but nothing of a career type."  (more...)

OCDSB, Royal facing 6 new lawsuits in historical sex abuse cases

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