Canada
Former Ontario student awarded $3.2 million in sexual abuse case

QMI AGENCY

BELLEVILLE, ON -- A jury awarded a Tyendinaga, ON man $3.2 million for extensive sexual abuse inflicted on him by a Belleville elementary school teacher in the 1970s.

"The jury found the (Hastings and Princed Edward) board of education liable and negligent for physical and sexual assaults committed on Scott Langstaff," said Lanstaff's lawyer, Steven Baldwin, following the verdict Thursday night.

The compensation package covers damages for Langstaff's myriad of recurring issues, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), marital woes, suicidal thoughts and inability to work since 2008 - all of which he purports were a direct result of the abuse received from Robert Terrence Marson, his Grade 7 science teacher.

The jury agreed, rendering a verdict in favour of Langstaff, who attended the proceedings with his wife, Barbara.

"The conclusion was there was a lack of supervision of the pedophile teacher," Baldwin said.

Board lawyer Wayne Morris said little about the potential for an appeal, saying he awaits instructions from the board.

"We've got 30 days to decide," Morris said. "My client will decide what to do."

The six-member jury was tasked with determining if the Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board met its obligation to protect Langstaff from "unreasonable risk of harm" or failed to act as a "careful prudent parent would."

In a statement of defence, Marson did not challenge evidence related to the abuse of the then-12-year-old Langstaff, from 1976 to 1977, while Marson was a teacher at Harry J. Clarke.

The jury also heard how Marson deceived colleagues by not being forthcoming about his indecent interaction with students.

Jurors heard of the board giving Marson a key which gave him unlimited access to a mini-zoo that he housed in his science classroom at Harry J. Clarke.

It was there Marson sexually assaulted and assaulted Langstaff, who was left alone with the pedophile during recess, lunch breaks, after school and weekends, under the pretence that students were helping care for the animals.

Marson later admitted the primary purpose for the classroom zoo was "to groom young boys to become his victims," said Justice Wolf Tausendfreund.

Tausendfreund said Marson "sodomized" during a trip to Algonquin Park. Marson retired from teaching in 1997 and his teaching certificate was later revoked.

Marson, then 68, was convicted and sentenced to two years in prison in April 2008, for the indecent acts.

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