Marson named in new suit
Former student suing public board for damages linked to alleged sex abuse
The local public school board has been hit with yet another multimillion dollar civil suit linked to a disgraced former middle school teacher convicted of preying on his students in the 1970s.
Robert Reynolds, counsel for the male victim, who can’t be named due to a publication ban, said his client has claimed for damages arising as result of alleged abuse he suffered from convicted paedophile, Robert Terrence Marson, while he was a student at Harry J. Clarke, where Marson taught.
“It’s a claim against the board because of the actions of that guy (Marson) who was a teacher for the board,” Reynolds said of the civil claim heard last week by Justice Helen MacLeod-Beliveau. “We just submitted closing arguments, the other side now has an opportunity to respond and then it goes in front of the judge in early May to hear oral arguments based on the written submissions.”
The suit is linked to a historical sexual abuse case, which culminated in 2013 with a six-member jury panel awarding Scott Langstaff, another student of Marson, $3.2 million for extensive sexual abuse inflicted on him by a Belleville elementary school teacher in the 1970s.
“It’s a similar case and a similar trial, except this one is just in front of a judge without a jury,” Reynolds told The Intelligencer. “The numbers aren’t the same, but it’s the same kind of claim. The amount claimed would be similar in order of magnitude to what’s claimed (in the Langstaff case).”
Reynolds said his client was a student at Harry J. Clarke.
“He was a student at the school during Marson’s time and he came into contact with Marson,” Reynolds said.
In the Langstaff case, the jury found the Hastings and Prince Edward District School liable and negligent for physical and sexual assaults committed on Langstaff
Langstaff launched a civil suit after Belleville’s Justice Stephen Hunter in 2008 convicted Marson of abusing him.
The jury in the resulting civil trial on Jan. 24, 2013 ruled the board must pay Langstaff $3.2 million in damages.
Justice Wolf Tausendfreund ruled April 5, 2013 in Belleville that the Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board was “vicariously liable” for now-retired teacher Marson’s sexual assaults upon Langstaff.
Reynolds, who didn’t act as counsel for Langstaff but is aware of details in the case, said the 2013 civil ruling of $3.2 million in compensation was appealed by the board.
“The board appealed and the trial judge was set aside by the Court of Appeal and it was sent back for new trial,” Reynolds said. “Before it came up again for a new trial it settled.”
During the 2013 civil case, the jury heard of the board giving Marson a key which gave him unlimited access to a mini-zoo he housed in his science classroom at Harry J. Clarke.
It was there Marson sexually assaulted Langstaff, who was left alone with the pedophile during recess, lunch breaks, after school and weekends, under the pretence students were helping care for the animals.
Marson later admitted the primary purpose for the classroom zoo was “to groom young boys to become his victims,” said Justice Wolf Tausendfreund in 2013.
Marson retired from teaching in 1997 and his teaching certificate was later revoked.
Marson, then 68, was convicted and sentenced to two years in prison in April 2008, for the indecent acts.
Robert Terrence Marson