Lawyers reach out to Nunavut victims of child molester
Online information on Maurice Cloughley class-action lawsuit now available
Warning: There are some details in this story that may be upsetting to readers.
If the notorious child molester Maurice Cloughley was your teacher any time between April 1, 1969, and July 30, 1981, you can now find information about a class-action lawsuit that lawyers have filed on your behalf.
On Aug. 18, lawyers from two southern law firms issued a notice to all Nunavummiut who are eligible to be a member of a class action that they launched against the governments of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut in December 2016.
There’s an Inuktitut version of the notice embedded after this article.
In that notice, the lawyers say you can get more information in English or Inuktitut from this website.
Also, anyone with questions about the lawsuit can call Trilogy Class Action Services at 1‑866‑329‑7153 or fax them at 416-342-1761. Their email address is email@example.com.
The lawsuit covers the following:
• People who were enrolled as students in schools within Nunavut between April 1, 1969, and July 30, 1981.
• People who were exposed to Maurice Cloughley during the period when Cloughley was employed as a teacher in the community where the class member lived.
• People who were sexually assaulted by Cloughley, people who were made to be subjects of child pornography by Cloughley, or were made to engage in sexual activities with other children by Cloughley, or some combination of those forms of sexual exploitation.
Those who wish to opt out of the class action have until Nov. 2 this year to do so.
The lawsuit alleges the two territorial governments are responsible for sexual abuse that Cloughley inflicted on Nunavut children from 1969 to 1981, when he taught in what is now Nunavut under the supervision of the GNWT.
At a criminal proceeding in July 1996, held in Iqaluit, Cloughley went on trial on 22 sex charges related to incidents alleged to have occurred between 1959 and 1987, involving complainants from the Nunavut communities of Grise Fiord, Arctic Bay, Clyde River, Resolute Bay, as well as Deline and Rae Lakes in the Northwest Territories.
Cloughley was defiant at first, entering not-guilty pleas to all charges.
But 12 days into trial, he pleaded guilty to nine counts. Justice Ted Richard of the N.W.T. Supreme Court then sentenced him to 10 years in prison.
The allegations in the class action echo evidence that Inuit and Dene witnesses, many of them shaking and sobbing, gave the court at Cloughley’s 1996 criminal trial.
That includes allegations that Cloughley fondled children, performed oral sex on them and forced them to have sexual intercourse with him.
He is also alleged to have ordered children to perform simulated sexual intercourse on each other and to have taken nude photographs of them for his pornography collection.
And throughout nearly three decades of abuse, his employer failed to supervise him and failed to ensure the safety of his victims, the lawsuit alleges.
Shortly before his trial, Cloughley, who was also a well-known artist and author, published a book admitting that in 1959 he lied about being a Roman Catholic when the federal government hired him to teach Roman Catholic children in the Dene community that was then known as Fort Franklin.
The first Indigenous victim to approach the police about Cloughley’s sexual abuse was a woman from Resolute Bay who later died by suicide inside an RCMP holding cell in Yellowknife.
At the 1996 proceeding, Crown prosecutor Jean-Pierre Rousseau described the woman as “a hero,” because her story sparked a police investigation that subsequently exposed Cloughley’s sexual abuse and led to the filing of multiple charges against him.
As for the lawsuit, Justice Paul Bychok of the Nunavut Court of Justice ordered this past June that the lawsuit be deemed a class action and on Aug. 4, the class-action notice was filed at the Nunavut court.
The lawyers representing the class-action clients are Alan Regel of the Cooper Regel firm of Sherwood Park, Alta., and Lynn Moore of Morris Martin Moore of Mount Pearl, Nfld.