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Newsroom

Alleged Abusers Named
By Michael Lightstone / The Chronicle-Herald

Court documents filed recently in Halifax identify alleged abusers accused of sexual and physi-
cal misconduct at the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children.

It's the first time alleged victims have named names since legal action was launched against the Westphal facility in January 2001. Both men and women are mentioned in episodes alleged to have happened decades ago.

The names were provided in demands for particulars — lawyers' requests for details — filed Tuesday with the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia.

The people in question are not named in this newspaper because criminal charges haven't been filed.

More than 30 people are suing the home, alleging they were sexually assaulted or beaten — sometimes both. At least 27 others have filed notices of intended action with the court.

Alleged victims are men and women; some are siblings.

Const. Peter Marshall, a spokesman with the RCMP, said Friday he's aware of one complaint that was investigated by police. No charges were laid.

One alleged victim, Tracey Lynn Dorrington-Skmner, 38, says she was repeatedly sexually assaulted when she lived at the home during the 1970s and '80s. A court document says she was allegedly raped at about age 11 by a staffer's husband, whom she names.

"The plaintiff, previously a virgin, was penetrated at this time and she recalls this as the worst pain experienced in her whole life," it says.

Another alleged victim, Leonard Anthony Smith, says in a court document that staff and former residents of the home subjected him to "sexual misconduct" when he was a child.

He alleges he was also beaten. "The plaintiff ... remembers a ritual where all the boys would be whacked on their freshly shaven necks after they had had the hair cut," the document says.

The home's management has refused to talk about the allegations, heeding advice from lawyers. Over the years, some former residents have publicly denounced their treatment at the facility but others have come forward to praise it.

Established in 1921, the centre originally cared for needy black children, but it now looks after children 12 to 16 from all backgrounds.

The provincial government and municipal children's aid societies are named as co-defendant in the allegations because they had the responsibility of looking out for the alleged victims' welfare.
 
© Copyright 2003 Internations' Justice Federation