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Third man files sexual abuse case against Mission Roman Catholic organizations

Sexual abuse allegations against priests and a seminarian against boys at a Roman Catholic Mission seminary and abbey continue to mount.
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A Mission seminary and abbey as well as priests and a seminarian are facing further sex abuse allegations.

A third B.C. man has filed a notice of civil claim against the Roman Catholic Seminary of Christ the King and Westminster Abbey claiming sexual abuse of him while he was 13.

Andrew Ehman joins Mark O’Neill and an unnamed man in claims against the Seminary of Christ the King; Westminster Abbey Ltd.; The Roman Catholic Archbishop of Vancouver, a Corporation Sole; and the estate of Harold Vincent Sander a.k.a. Dom Placidus Sander. 

Ehman and O’Neill also allege Shawn Rohrbach sexually abused them. O’Neill alleged the offences happened from age 13 to 17.

Ehman’s claim adds the estate of Anthony Kalberer, also known as Father Augustine, as a defendant.

The claims say Rohrbach was a college student employed by the seminary while Kalberer was subprior of the abbey and a seminary teacher and dormitory supervisor.

Ehman alleges around 1975 Easter weekend, Rohrbach plied him with Lonesome Charlie wine, invited him to play games in the shower room and initiated sexual contact.

The claim said Ehman was in a vulnerable position and exploited by Rohrbach.

“Rohrbach was a predator skilled at grooming, preying upon and exploiting underage boys to submit to sexual activity after plying them with alcohol,” said the claim filed in B.C. Supreme Court on May 24 by lawyer Sandra Kovacs.

Further, the claim alleged, Sander saw the activity and walked away.

The claim said Sander then discussed the situation with Kalberer, who reportedly met with Ehman and Rohrbach but no action was taken.

That, said the claim, “emboldened” both Rohrbach and Sander in their alleged predatory behaviours against other minor seminarians.

The claim said that, as a result of alleged intentional acts, negligence, wilful blindness, recklessness and breach of fiduciary duty toward the plaintiff, Ehman has experienced post-traumatic stress disorder, low self-esteem, sleep problems, depression, anxiety, social isolation, distorted thinking and an impaired ability to trust others.

Abbey Prior Benedict Lefebvre said the issue is being handled by legal counsel.

"Since it is a matter in litigation, we cannot offer any further comment at this time," Lefebvre said.

Spokesperson Makani Marquis said the Vancouver diocese couldn’t comment as the case is before the courts.

None of the allegations have been proven in court.

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