School board faces lawsuit over historic sexual assaults


by Terry Myers

The Renfrew County District School Board says it can’t comment on a multi-million dollar lawsuit filed against it for cases of sexual abuse by a former teacher and principal more than 40 years ago.

The school board issued a statement Monday that it is “reviewing” a statement of claim filed in Ontario Superior Court on February 20, “seeking damages related to sexual assaults that occurred in the early 1970s.”

“A former employee was charged and convicted for these assaults in 1998,” the board said.

“Our District unequivocally condemns any form of abuse toward students by those who we entrust with their care.

“At this time we are not in a position to comment on specific questions regarding the lawsuit or any of the events at issue.”

The board’s statement comes in response to a lawsuit filed by Ottawa lawyer Michael Switzer on behalf of three former students of Fairview Public School in Pembroke.

The former students – identified in the lawsuit as “RM,” a female living in the city of Ottawa; “CK,” a female living in the town of Renfrew; and “DW,” a male living in the village of Eganville – say they were sexually abused by Clarke Anderson, 72, an elementary teacher and principal at Fairview PS in the mid to late 1970s.

The claimants are seeking $10 million each in “general, special, punitive, aggravated, and exemplary damages for negligence, assault, false imprisonment, and battery.”

They also seek court costs and “such further and other relief as this Honourable Court may deem just.”

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