Supreme Court allows suit against St. Joseph's Oratory over abuse allegations

The Supreme Court of Canada has rejected a bid by Montreal's Saint Joseph's Oratory to be excluded from a sexual assault class action suit.

The high court today upheld a Quebec Court of Appeal ruling allowing the suit against the oratory and the Congregation of Holy Cross for alleged sexual abuse.

The oratory was included in the suit amid allegations that some of the abuse by members of the congregation occurred in the landmark church.

The high court was unanimous that even though the alleged abuse occurred more than 60 years ago, a suit seeking damages was not prescribed by law.

In 2013, the Congregation of Holy Cross apologized and paid up to $18 million in a mediated, out-of-court settlement to compensate victims for abuse that occurred at three Quebec institutions, not including the oratory, over a five-decade span.

A spokesman for a victims' rights group has said that settlement prompted about 40 additional alleged victims to come forward, resulting in the current class action suit.