A request to search the offices of the Roman Catholic Diocese in Kamloops has been withdrawn by a former elementary schoolteacher suing the church and a retired priest.
Rosemary Anderson has filed a notice of claim in B.C. Supreme Court, claiming sexual abuse at the hands of Father Lindo Molon and an alleged coverup by then-bishop Adam Exner while she taught at Our Lady of Perpetual Help in North Kamloops four decades ago.
On Feb. 27, Anderson filed a notice of application in B.C. Supreme Court, asking for an order to search the offices, stating “there is a real concern that material documents exist that have not been appropriately searched for, disclosed or explained.”
A written response from the bishop of the Kamloops Diocese contends the order is unnecessary, noting church officials “searched everywhere there is to search at its offices and within its possession” and disclosed all documents to the plaintiff as required by the rules of the court.
“If there are ‘incriminating documents’ within the possession of the bishop, such items have now been identified, listed and produced,” the response reads.
“There is no evidence of the ‘possibility that the defendant may destroy such materials before the discovery process can do its work’ and, beyond that, documents were produced and Adam Exner was examined under oath on documents relevant to the inter-relationship of all the parties.”
The response states that even if more documents existed and were in the bishop’s possession, the plaintiff does not require them to make her case, which will be proven, or not, by the quality of evidence already gathered — the documents produced by the bishop to date, her own evidence and the Aug. 14, 2018, evidence given by now Archbishop Emeritus Exner.
“The facts are the defendant, Molon, operated as a priest in the Diocese of Kamloops and he apparently had a personal relationship with the plaintiff,” the court document reads.
Anderson’s lawyer, Sandra Kovacs, told KTW they adjourned the application in light of the thorough response from the diocese.
“We still don’t have all the answers Ms. Anderson is looking for, but we’re simply exploring a different process of getting those answers,” Kovacs said.
She said the challenge in such cases is that often documentation is sometimes missing or sparse.
“We’re not suggesting that that’s intentional on the [part] of the diocese, but Ms. Anderson’s goal is to discover the truth and the whole truth. That is part of her journey for justice,” Kovacs said.
In her claim, Anderson describes being vulnerable when she began teaching at the North Shore school in 1976, having gone to Molon, her superior at the school, for help after the death of her father.
“Commencing in or around September 1976 and continuing for approximately eight months, Father Molon — approximately 20 years older than the plaintiff and in a position of superior spiritual, religious, moral and vocational power and/or authority — exploited the plaintiff and repeatedly performed sexual acts upon the plaintiff innumerable times, including intercourse,” the document reads.
Anderson claims in the document to have reported the incidents in the spring of 1977 to Exner, then the bishop of the Kamloops diocese, after which Molon was transferred to an Ontario parish.
The claim also states Anderson was ordered to leave the Kamloops diocese “by the close of the school year, under threat of slander and/or harassment by the OLPH education committee.”
In the document, Anderson claims to have suffered a loss of potential earnings. She is also seeking aggravated damages, punitive damages and special damages.
“The defendant, Father Molon, exploited the plaintiff’s vulnerability, religious devotion and obedience to manipulate her into submitting to the sexual assaults,” the claim reads, also accusing Exner of wrongdoing.
“The bishop intimidated the plaintiff and demanded that she leave the diocese under threat of slander and harassment by the education committee that governed the plaintiff’s employer, the OLPH elementary school.”
In June 2017, Exner responded to the civil claim, denying liability.
None of the allegations raised have been proven in court.
An Oct. 7 court date has been set for the civil trial.
(KTW does not normally publish names of victims of sexual assault and those alleging they were sexually assaulted, per Canadian Press Style guidelines, but KTW has been authorized to use Anderson’s name).