St. Kevin’s deal approved in reshuffle of Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. John’s

ST. JOHN’S, NL — The court has approved an agreement that St. Kevin de Goulds Roman Catholic Parish will retain assets and cash while the archdiocese assesses its assets and settles sexual abuse victim compensation claims.

The lawyers were in the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador on Friday morning, May 27, where they presented a resolution that will allow the parish to keep its church, parish hall, cemetery and some of the money collected in a 50/50 lottery and a successful Chase. the Ace fundraiser in 2017. Judge Garrett Handrigan heard from attorneys representing all parties involved before approving the settlement, sealing the details for now.

At the same time, Handrigan granted the Roman Catholic Episcopal Corp. (RCEC) of St. John’s – the legal entity of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. John’s – more time to finalize its proposal to sell its properties to settle the abuse. complaints.

The company was found in January 2021 to be vicariously liable for the acts of abuse that occurred at the Mount Cashel Orphanage. The archdiocese had argued that the orphanage was independent of it and took the case to the Supreme Court of Canada, which declined to hear the archdiocese’s appeal from a Supreme Court of Appeal decision of Newfoundland and Labrador who sided with the victims of sexual abuse. .

The ruling by the nation’s highest court ended a long and difficult battle lasting more than 20 years for former residents. era of the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s The Archdiocese subsequently filed for protection from its creditors.

St. John’s attorney Geoff Budden, who is representing more than 60 of the plaintiffs, told the court that his clients want details of the St. Kevin’s deal to remain confidential for now, given the sales in course of other properties, “to maximize the return.”

“We think it’s in everyone’s best interest,” Budden said. Lawyers for all other parties agreed.

Kyle Rees, who represents St. Kevin’s Parish, told the court of a “procedural hiccup” in the previous three days that suggested the approval request would not be heard on Friday, before things change again. .

“My clients are a group of volunteers from the church parish committee and they have worked very hard to raise this money,” Rees said. “They feel that at this time the church and all rights belong to them but they understood that the potential consequence…could be the complete annihilation of their organization and the loss of property and things, that is so the reason why they finally decided to enter into the agreement that you see in front of you.

The parish isn’t opposed to keeping the financial details of the deal confidential, Rees said, but it doesn’t particularly mind if they’re released either.

Rees told the court earlier this year that creditors wanted access to $5.5 million belonging to the parish.

“My clients are a group of volunteers from the church parish committee and they have worked very hard to raise this money,” Rees said. “They feel that at this time the church and all rights belong to them but they understood that the potential consequence…could be the complete annihilation of their organization and the loss of property and things, that is so the reason why they finally decided to enter into the agreement that you see in front of you.
—Kyle Rees


“If (St. Kevin’s) didn’t have that Chase the Ace money, there wouldn’t have been such talks,” he said in February. “They are in a somewhat privileged position compared to other churches.”

Representing the company, attorney Geoffrey Spencer petitioned the court for a further extension of the ongoing Creditor Protection Proceedings. The previous extension expired on Friday.

“This stay is necessary to allow the RCEC to continue its efforts to realize the assets for the benefit of its creditors and to institute a formal claims process which is currently underway. We hope this will be finalized so that the RCEC can be able to determine the precise amount of liability it faces,” he said.

Handrigan granted the extension of the stay of proceedings until the end of July.

The company has sold several residential properties since announcing it was seeking bankruptcy protection and is seeking offers on assets around St. John’s, including the Basilica of St. John the Baptist. The deadline for submissions is June 2, after which lawyers will be back in court.

“I’m available at your request, just let the court know and we’ll schedule a meeting,” the judge said.

With files from Glen Whiffen and Barb Sweet

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