Ex-priest, Anglican diocese face civil suit
Disgraced ex-cleric David Norton’s legal troubles appear to go way beyond the criminal courts.
The former Anglican priest who was convicted Tuesday of four counts of indecent assault and one count of sexual assault involving boys from Chippewas of the Thames First Nation already is facing civil action from another victim in London and a counter-claim from the Diocese of Huron.
The plaintiff in a $4.9-million lawsuit against Norton and the Diocese of Huron is the victim in Norton’s sexual interference conviction registered earlier this year, who was abused by the priest at St. Mark’s parish in the 1990s.
Norton, 72, pleaded guilty in March and was sentenced in August to four years in prison.
The St. Mark’s victim, whose identity is protected by court order in the criminal trial, approached the London police after indigenous men brought charges in 2015 against Norton for abuse in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
The civil suit was filed after the charge in the St. Mark’s case was laid in 2016.
“We’ve been waiting for the prosecution to end before going forth with the civil matter,” said the man’s civil lawyer Paul Ledroit, of London.
Norton worked as a priest in the Bahamas before ministering at Chippewas and Oneida from 1976 to 1983. He was sent to the Yukon in 1983.
No civil actions have been started by any of the four victims from the Chippewas case, all of whom were altar boys at St. Andrew’s church on the reserve.
The statement of claim in the St. Mark’s boy’s lawsuit hasn’t been proven in civil court, although Norton entered into an agreed statement of facts outlining the sexual abuse when he pleaded guilty in criminal court.
The statement of claim, filed in court, alleges Norton used his position of trust as a priest “to develop a close personal relationship with the plaintiff and his family when he was young.”
That relationship allowed Norton “to exert total control over him, prey upon him and sexually abuse him.”
The abuse began in 1990 when the plaintiff was 10 years old and continued for four years. The statement claim lists fondling, masturbation and other sexual activities.
The plaintiff also is suing the diocese, saying knew or ought to have known Norton “had the propensity to engage in deviant behaviours