Horne abuse victims get money for therapy
Individual compensation still to be negotiated
Sixteen Nunavut men who were victimized by Edward Horne in the 1970s and 1980s have begun a treatment program in Yellowknife, thanks to a $3.2-million commitment from the governments of Nunavut and the Northwest Territories.
That money, negotiated in response to a lawsuit launched by the former teacher’s victims in January 2001, will pay for a variety of therapeutic programs.
But except for some token payments, the 82 individuals and three estates involved in the case will have to wait until at least this fall before they’ll get any cash for themselves.
“The main issue left to be resolved would be the issue of individual compensation. The therapeutic element has been pretty much settled,” lawyer Geoffrey Budden of Mount Pearl, Nfld., said this week.
The Yellowknife treatment program, which began on June 17 at the Somba Ké Healing Lodge, is the first of a series of therapeutic and counselling activities aimed at helping Horne’s victims recover from the effects of sexual abuse.
Many of those activities would take place within the Nunavut communities where the victimized men now live.
“As it stands now, we envision a program where the emphasis would be on community work, in their home communities,” Budden said. “That would involve people on the ground providing counselling, or experts in the field visiting those communities on a periodic basis. But it would also involve, for the men for whom it is appropriate, treatment at Somba Ké or elsewhere.”
The first payment from the two governments, for $998,695, covered logistical costs and the cost of hiring experts to support the case.
The second payment of $3.2 million also covers the cost of hiring experts, but most of it will go toward therapy, Budden said.
The Nunavut and Northwest Territories governments have agreed to an “alternative dispute resolution” process to settle the case.
f it’s successful, the case will not go to trial, and Horne’s victims won’t have to go through the ordeal of giving evidence in court.
Justice John Vertes of the NWT Supreme Court is the case management judge.
Budden said the last major issue left to work out is the question of individual compensation payments for victims. Although his clients will get some small cheques this year, that issue won’t be worked out until the fall, he said.
“We’ll distribute small amounts to our clients, quite token amounts, just to give them a bit of a money at a time of year when everybody’s trying to get outfitted,” he said.
But Budden said the large compensation payments that individuals are likely to be paid may not be delivered in one-time, lump-sum payments.
Instead, they may be made in what is called a “structured settlement,” he said.
“It wouldn’t necessarily be substantial sums of money to actually deliver to a person and then say, here’s your cheque. Rather than take your money in one lump-sum, you take it in monthly increments, and that has a number of tax advantages to it,” Budden said.
He said that so far, he and his colleague, New Jersey lawyer Stephen Rubino, who specializes in sexual abuse cases, have been pleased with how the two territorial governments have responded to their legal action.
“Our dealings with the government at the legal level have been very positive.”
Edward Horne, a former teacher, school principal and education consultant with the government of the Northwest Territories, was sentenced to five years in jail in the fall of 2000, after pleading guilty to 20 sex charges involving Inuit boys from Sanikiluaq, Cape Dorset and Iqaluit.
In 1987, Horne was sentenced to six years in jail after pleading guilty to eight charges involving 24 victims from Cape Dorset and Kimmirut.