VANCOUVER — A former elementary school teacher is suing a diocese of the Roman Catholic church, alleging she was sexually assaulted by a priest while working at a church-run school four decades ago in Kamloops, B.C.
The woman alleges in a notice of civil claim that she sought psychological and spiritual advice and counselling from Rev. Erlindo Molon soon after she began teaching at Our Lady of Perpetual Help.
She alleges in the lawsuit filed in British Columbia Supreme Court that Molon, who was about 20 years her senior, exploited and sexually assaulted her several times over several months.
“The sexual assaults … were without her consent, resulting from his abuse of the power and exploitation of the trust and psychological intimacy inherent to the relationship between an older priest and a young pious parishioner,” the statement of claim says.
Molon performed sexual acts upon her “innumerable times, including intercourse,” beginning in September 1976 for a period of eight months, the document alleges.
The woman’s lawsuit claims she reported the abuse to the Kamloops diocese in the spring of 1977 but the assaults continued and escalated in aggression until Molon was transferred to another posting in Ontario in May of that year.
The Canadian Press does not name people who say they have been sexually assaulted unless they give their consent to be identified. The woman’s lawyer could not immediately be reached.
None of the allegations has been tested in court and no statement of defence has been filed.
Efforts to reach Molon were unsuccessful.
The diocese of Kamloops declined to comment on the case.
The lawsuit seeks an unspecified amount in damages from Molon and the Roman Catholic bishop of the diocese of Kamloops for psychological injury and the resulting loss.
The lawsuit says the woman’s numerous psychological injuries include an impaired ability to trust others, low self-esteem and loss of connection to the church.
It says she abandoned a medical doctorate degree as a result of the injuries and, if not for the alleged sexual assaults, she would have become a doctor.
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