Under starkly different circumstances than when it was unveiled, the $13-million class action lawsuit Bishop Raymond Lahey negotiated with victims of sexual abuse was approved this week.
In August, Bishop Lahey sat side-by-side with Ronald Martin, himself the victim of sexual abuse at the hands of a priest, to announce the settlement. Martin led a charge for compensation after his brother committed suicide, leaving a note that revealed his history of being abused as a youth.
“I want to express to you in a personal way my most sincere regrets for the abuse that you and other members of your family have suffered,” Lahey said at the time.
Weeks later, Lahey would become a nationally-known figure when he was charged with entering the country with child pornography on his laptop.
The agreement was designed for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Antigonish to pay up to $13 million to victims while avoiding bankruptcy. It was contingent on approval from the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia.
On Tuesday the court ruled the agreement met the necessary criteria and “constituted a fair and reasonable settlement that was in the best interests of the class as a whole.”