An impartial third party has been engaged by the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, a Catholic order that ran 48 of Canada’s residential schools, to supervise efforts to ensure that former members who committed sex crimes do not re-offend.
While some survivors of sexual assault have applauded the hiring as a positive step, others have attacked the Oblate’s choice to keep the monitor’s identity a secret.
The appointment of an impartial monitor, according to Tony Charlie, who experienced sexual assault by an Oblate brother while attending Kuper Island Residential School beginning in the middle of the 1960s, is “a good move.”
He said that if the Oblates refuse to make the monitor’s findings public, it is hard to certify that it is truly independent.
The Oblates hired the monitor in December 2022 and expect he will begin monthly meetings later this month.
The monitor will meet with Oblates who are convicted sex offenders — men who abused children in residential schools, northern Indigenous communities and various parishes across the country.
A June 2022 report confirmed that at least nine such offenders had taken refuge at the Springhurst retirement residence in Ottawa after being released from prison.
Thorson responded by describing the monitor’s work history, which includes looking into workplace harassment and abuse in institutions ranging from large corporations to social services organizations and Indigenous communities, in response to the question of why the Oblates aren’t identifying the monitor.
Thorson refused to name the monitor, only claiming that they “had no connections” to the Oblates.
In order to reassure certain survivors that the hire is truly independent, he continued, the Oblates “may be inclined” to take into account disclosing the name of the third-party monitor.