Sunday, February 14, 2010

Ex-students claim abuse at NS schools for deaf

Ex-students claim abuse at NS schools for deaf

Two men have launched a class-action lawsuit claiming they were sexually and physically abused while at schools for the deaf in Nova Scotia.

Walter Wile, of Calgary, and Myles Murphy, from St. John's, have filed the lawsuit in Nova Scotia Supreme Court.

Wile, 61, claims he was physically and sexually abused during the nine years he spent at both the Halifax and Amherst schools in the 1950s and 1960s.

Murphy, 59, claims he was psychologically and physically abused by employees and students while he was at the residential school in Amherst in the early 1960s.

"The children were easily victimized because they were cut off from their families and also really cut off in a sense because of language, so they were perfect victims for sexual wrongdoing," said Tony Merchant, the Saskatchewan-based lawyer handling the suit.

He said eight people have joined the class-action lawsuit so far.

None of the allegations have been proven in court and the province has not filed a defence.

Merchant said the province has not yet been served because he's waiting to see whether similar cases in other provinces are certified. Court must approve a class-action case before it can proceed.

The Halifax school was open from 1856 to 1961. The larger school that opened in Amherst, in northwestern Nova Scotia, shut its doors in 1995. It took in students from around Atlantic Canada.

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