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VIC Deed of release sexual abuse Catholic Church

Discussion in 'Personal Injury Law Forum' started by MartyJ, 9 August 2017.

  1. MartyJ

    MartyJ Member

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    As part of a settlement following a 'Towards Healing Process' in Victori, I was forced to sign a deed of release in order to obtain the compensation.

    During the negotiation process, I stated many times that I was not willing to sign such a deed.

    I was informed, after divulging all my personal information including how close I was to financial incapacity (bankruptcy), that the only way the Diocese would pay was if I signed such a deed. I was also informed that I this would make no difference to my ability to revisit the process if the limitation laws changed.

    Last year I found out that the statute of limitations had changed in Victoria and approached the Diocese seeking some help. This was refused and I was basically told to go away as I was breaching the deed that I signed.
    Do I have an ability to challenge such a deed? If so what firm would be best to speak with?

    The refusal of assistance compounded along with other factors and caused me to lose my house due to an inability to pay my mortgage. The settlement that I originally agreed to was predicated on the fact that the statute effectively barred me from suing for damages in court. Do I have any options to revisit?
     
  2. Tim W

    Tim W Lawyer
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    You can start by having a conversation with police
    about the criminal acts by the priest(s).
    Documents you signed years ago, under duress,
    do not impede criminal investigations.

    That does not mean that the priests involved
    will automatically and immediately go to gaol.
    But it does mean that whatever you signed back when,
    will not block the police from working.
    Nor does it block you from making a complaint,
    nor making a statement, nor from giving evidence.

    As to the prospects of a successful civil action,
    that's a more complex question, for which you will need
    formal, case-specific legal advice.

    Yes, in civil matters, the passing of the years is a thing.
    That said, you may find that these days,
    if a civil matter involving the Catholic Church
    otherwise has merit, and reasonable prospects of success,
    that the court may well be inclined to hear it,
    even if it is, as lawyers say, "out of time".
    This would be something to discuss with your lawyer.

    Let's be clear - the Church wants you to stay quiet.
    That's what they paid for.

    Make no mistake, you are a survivor of organised crime
    and of the organised perversion of the course of justice,
    conducted at the institutional level, across multiple jurisdictions
    and scores if not hundreds, of years.

    You can expect them to fight you every.single.step.of.the.way.
    I wish you strength, and every success.
     
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  3. MartyJ

    MartyJ Member

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    Thanks for the advice Tim,
    There are a couple of other points that I did not include in the original post.
    1. The priest is dead. He was found in a gay hotel toilet block having suffered a heart attack. So the police are not interested in investigating my allegations. I have spoken to a desk sergeant at a local Police station and he indicated that the likelihood of a successful investigation being carried out is very remote.
    2. The Towards Healing Process, which was very intrusive, found in my favour. They said that they would not identify me as part of the 'investigation' but people that I had not spoken to since secondary school contacted me to find out if it was, in fact, me that was the object of the investigation.
    3. They offered some assistance when I asked for some (as the repossession of my house was imminent) but then withdrew this offer before telling me it was settled once and for all.
    4. At all times they told me during the investigation p[rocess which took six long and painful months (The Towards Healing investigators a retired Police Inspector and a senior Church member) that whatever the result, I would not be precluded from seeking as much assistance as was suitable for me to move on.
    5. I suffer from PTSD and have done for many years. Part of the settlement was for 10 counselling sessions only. I have been seeing a pyschologist, a pyschiatrist, and a GP very few weks for many years and use medication to balance out negative thoughts. Ther is no realistic prospect that this condition will get much better in the short term.
    6. The cash offered to me was $18000 and I was told that if I did not sign the deed I would get nothing. This was a bullying exercise and left me even more vulnerable to the vagaries of the condition of PTSD.

    I understand that there is not much that I can do now. I do not have any funds to pursue this by engaging legal counsel and if I want to see what options I may have I am forced to seek advice through forums such as this.
    I am appreciative of your comments and your thoughts as expressed that I am a survivor.
    My question really is how much longer do I need to suffer before authorities are forced to take notice, not just for me but for the many thousands that have suffered?
     
  4. Rod

    Rod Well-Known Member

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    Recommend discussing your case with a criminal lawyer to see if there is any scope for compensation under the 'victims of crimes' legislation.

    Signing a deed under duress may help you as well, but I'm unclear if the statute of limitations kicks in to stop you making a civil claim. Roughly how long ago did the crime occur and when was the deed signed?

    BTW, I agree with Tim's comments.
     
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  5. Tim W

    Tim W Lawyer
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    No harm in asking.
    However, given that the offender is unconvicted,
    I would suggest that your chances of that scheme
    being able to help, are minimal.
     
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  6. Rod

    Rod Well-Known Member

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    Under Victorian law a conviction is not a necessary pre-condition for compo. The crime must have been reported to police within a reasonable time and the police do not need to arrest anyone, but the VoC tribunal must be satisfied that a crime has taken place.

    Having a deed of settlement is a good start :)

    Though keep in mind the max payout is capped at a fairly low figure.
     
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  7. Tim W

    Tim W Lawyer
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    Just check to see if it contains some sort of "without admissions" clause.
     
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  8. MartyJ

    MartyJ Member

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    It does have an without admissions clause. Just more sneaky practices by these lowlifes.
     
  9. MartyJ

    MartyJ Member

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    The deed was signed 5 years ago. The crimes occurred 42 years ago and I still suffer from the effects each and every day
     
  10. Rod

    Rod Well-Known Member

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    It doesn't harm your claim, but it may not help either.

    See a criminal lawyer if you want to pursue this further.
     
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