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Ex-Jericho Students Settle For $12 Million

Editor's Note: The following article is reprinted from the Victoria Times-Colonist, April 3, 2004. *Image: A girl sitting on her bed, crying.

A $12.5-million settlement with the provincial government was announced in a class-action lawsuit that was begun by a deaf woman from Chemainus and grew to include 350 people who were sexually abused while students at the former Jericho Hill School in Vancouver.

"I was never going to give up. We deserve to have justice," Leanne Rumley said Friday, after the announcement. She started at Jericho, a school for deaf and blind people, in kindergarten in 1980. She was in Grade 11 in 1992 when it closed. "I'm satisfied, I'm relieved," she said in a telephone interview, with her mother Sharon Rumley interpreting for her.

"We've been waiting for a very long time. We've been fighting and struggling with this forever," said Leanne Rumley, who was the named plaintiff in the lawsuit and stood for the group of 350.

The mediated settlement of the lawsuit was approved in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver.

"It's a very, very important day," said Victoria lawyer Anne Sheane, who initiated the lawsuit in 1997 with about a dozen former students.

Most of the money will be in the form of compensation for pain and suffering by the 350 people, who attended Jericho for various periods from the 1950s until it closed. Former students in the class action group can apply for up to $125,000 each.

A Jericho Legacy Trust will be established with $2 million of the total to provide annual scholarships to deaf or visually impaired B.C. high school students. Decisions will be made by a board of mostly former Jericho students. It will also provide for counselling, education and employment training for the ex-Jericho students, who range in age from their 20s to their 60s.

Another key part of the deal, said Sheane, is an apology to be delivered by a provincial cabinet minister. The wording has not been drafted yet, she said. And there will be memorial plaques to honour the former Jericho Hill students who were abused.

Legal fees were part of the settlement, but not disclosed. They won't come out of the $12.5 million for the former Jericho students, Sheane said.

It took more than four years and appeals all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada to get the class-action suit registered in 2001, which in itself was a big day, Sheane said.

In December 2002 the B.C. government expressed willingness to try an out-of-court route to settlement, and an agreement-in-principle was reached last July. Only late Thursday night were the final details hammered out, Sheane said.

The B.C. government initially fought the lawsuit, its lawyers arguing those who felt they had a case should have sued individually. But on Friday Premier Gordon Campbell issued a statement that said: "The provincial government has always believed that the best solution to this difficult situation is through a just, negotiated settlement."

Campbell went on to acknowledge the abuse that occurred at the school, which was one of the components of the claimants' agreement. "We recognize the significant difficulties faced by these students and I commend their courage in coming forward and persisting with this over the years," Campbell said. "This settlement marks an important milestone for those who have had to deal with the impact of their experience at Jericho."

Comments

I was abused heavily by stepmother and I can see how it ruined my life so I can relate and feel sorry for yous too bad so little $$$ that not even buy a condo!!! I wish I sue my step mom she was very neglect and threat kill me when I was 5 just cause I called her mom!!! also she get my deaf sister tio play her abuse game!!!

ALSO that land will soon be devoleped why the deaf none of them want memorial there or a park in their honour???also 125,000 thats nothing those kids abused and no education hardly any graduate most cant read and now welfare and crackheads!!!

My sister wqas abused by teachers there most students say she lied just want money,one fact fir sure she was seduced and impreganated by an adult interpeter and she was a child that makes him pedophile!!!

I went to Jerichohill School from 1960 to 1963 I too had experenced abouse durning my stay at this school. Over the years I kept what happened to myself not knowing who too talkj to. Now with the internet and seeing former students stories I am interested in talking whit whoever wants to share their stories. Thankyou

I went to Jericho Hill School and was abused. But I never really heard about this until now. Why is there a delay in letting the former students know? Please help in getting a fair justice for the former students. Thank you.

I used to go ex jerchio hill school for deaf i got almost died i gotabusive beat me up from my teacher don gym i did report there but i havent hear long time from now my name is johnny carl thomas peequaquat my birth aug 3 and 1975 a i was start school jhs bc 1979 to 1987 pls let me know thank u

I used to go ex jerchio hill school for deaf i got almost died i gotabusive beat me up from my teacher don gym i did report there but i havent hear long time from now my name is johnny carl thomas peequaquat my birth aug 3 and 1975 a i was start school jhs bc 1979 to 1987 pls let me know thank u

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