October 10, 2008

Victims sue over rogues’ gallery of child molesters

Unsupervised teachers, social worker, abused dozens of victims

JIM BELL

The well-known Newfoundland lawyer, Geoffrey Budden, filed four lawsuits last week on behalf of numerous Nunavummiut who were sexually abused in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s by a mini-rogues' gallery of child molesters employed by the federal and territorial governments.

The statements of claim, filed at the Nunavut Court of Justice in Iqaluit, include:

All of the claimants listed in the four legal actions were children or adolescents when the sexual abuse is alleged to have occurred. Their names are sealed and may not be published.

The allegations of sexual abuse by Amyot in Sanikiluaq raise disturbing questions about possible negligence by the Government of the Northwest Territories, Budden said.

When the GNWT hired Amyot in 1984 to work as a social worker in Sanikiluaq, his record contained two criminal convictions related to the sexual abuse of children in southern Canada, Budden said.

Amyot was convicted on a charge of gross indecency in 1966 and was convicted on a charge of indecent assault in 1972.

"How on earth could a person with that kind of track record have been hired and placed in a community such as Sanikiluaq where Edward Horne had already been for a number of years?" Budden said in an interview.

In 1987, Amyot was convicted in Ontario provincial court on four counts of sexual assault related to the abuse of three boys in Sanikiluaq over a 17-month period.

MacDiarmid, a well-known teacher in Pond Inlet, was convicted on a charge of indecent assault in the late 1960s. But he continued to be employed afterwards as a consultant.

MacDiarmid's sexual activities with a Pond Inlet boy were described in The Peoples' Land by Hugh Brody, a suggestion that MacDiarmid's activities were widely known at the time.

Cloughley, who worked as a teacher for the federal and territorial governments between 1959 and 1987, was a prolific child molester.

In February of 1996, Justice Ted Richard sentenced Cloughley to 10 years in prison after the disgraced teacher pleaded guilty to nine sex-related offences committee against Inuit and Dene children, many of whom were girls.

Cloughley, then 61, had originally faced 22 sex charges relating to incidents in Fort Franklin, Grise Fiord, Arctic Bay, Clyde River, Resolute Bay and Rae Lakes between 1959 and 1987.

The first of his victims to come forward, a woman from Resolute Bay, committed suicide in a Yellowknife drunk tank in 1995 after becoming distraught over the prospect of having to testify at Cloughley's trial.

Also well-known as an artist and author, Cloughley now appears to be living in New Zealand, his birthplace.

Budden said he is "not particularly optimistic" about the prospect of resolving these cases through an alternative dispute mechanism.

But he said the victims suffered much damage because of the failure of government employers to perform their duties and are entitled to compensation and money to pay for treatment