Edward English – a Christian Brethren teacher who was sentenced to 10 years in prison for beating and sexually assaulting boys at the Mount Cashel Orphanage in St. John’s – is the subject of a new police investigation in British Columbia .
Burnaby RCMP confirmed a complaint was filed Aug. 25 and relates to allegations of abuse at a private Catholic school between 1978 and 1982.
While police would not identify the subject of the investigation, a source with knowledge of the complaint confirmed English, now 74, is the teacher in question.
“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” English said when contacted by a CBC reporter on Wednesday. “I’m not going to comment on something if I don’t know.”
The reporter offered to explain the allegations to him, but he declined, saying “no comment”, before hanging up.
A source identified the plaintiff as a man part of a proposed class action lawsuit in British Columbia. The lawsuit alleges two private Catholic schools and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vancouver allowed six known child abusers to relocate from St. John’s to the Vancouver area, where they continued to prey on children.
In a sworn affidavit in the proposed class action, the man — known only as John A. Doe — said English repeatedly assaulted him while he was a student at St. Thomas More Collegiate, a grade 8-12 school in Burnaby, just outside of Vancouver.
“The abuse I experienced as a boy had a profound effect on my faith, my health and my personal relationships,” the man wrote. “I have told my immediate family about it but have not shared it with others close to me, my employer or my co-workers. I have not achieved and may never achieve the point where I am ready to share my identity with the general public.”
The allegations set out in his affidavit have yet to be tested in court.
English moved in infamous cover-up
Edward English became a household name in Newfoundland and Labrador in 1989 when news broke about what had really been going on at the Mount Cashel Orphanage for decades.
A court inquest found that two boys accused English of abusing them in 1975, and that English even confessed to the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary.
The biggest bombshell of the investigation, however, was that a deal had been struck between the Christian Brothers organization, the police and the Newfoundland and Labrador Department of Justice. English and five other brothers accused of molesting children were quietly moved out of the province around 1975, and no charges were laid.
The Christian Brothers also owned a K-12 school, Vancouver College, and St. Thomas More Collegiate. The six brothers landed in these two schools.
At the time the revelations came to light, English and the others had been teaching in British Columbia for more than a decade.
John A. Doe now wants to know how this could have happened.
“I demand accountability for the wrong done to me by Brother English,” he wrote. “Specifically, I want to know how it came about that he was allowed to teach at St. Thomas More after admitting to sexually abusing boys at Mount Cashel.”
English studied in British Columbia before
Criminal charges were laid in Newfoundland and Labrador after the Hughes Inquiry. The six brothers who moved to British Columbia were eventually convicted on various abuse charges.
But neither were ever charged with any crimes stemming from their time in British Columbia, despite now-revealed allegations that their abusive behavior continued after the cover-up was finalized.
A spokesperson for the RCMP in Burnaby confirmed that this was not their first investigation into English. Cpl. Alexa Hodgins said the force conducted an investigation in 2000, into allegations that a teacher abused children at St. Thomas More between 1978 and 1982. Hodgins said the case “was closed in early 2001, without charge at the request of the victim”.
The complainant was not John A. Doe, but Hodgins said the subject of both investigations was the same person, which meant it had to be Edward English.
For his part, Doe’s affidavit indicates that he surrendered to the Burnaby RCMP a few years after leaving St. Thomas More Collegiate, but was unaware of any action taken by the RCMP. police after making his statement. According to Hodgins, there was no record of a complaint before 2000.
English stayed in NB after his prison sentence
Of all the convictions stemming from Mount Cashel, English received the most severe sentence.
He was found guilty of 15 counts of physical and sexual abuse and initially sentenced to 13 years in prison. This was later reduced on appeal to 10 years. He was released after serving 5½ years behind bars and was granted full parole.
He was released to a halfway house in New Brunswick, and public records show he has remained in the Moncton area ever since, most recently living in a small house on a country road south of Moncton.
According to documents obtained by CBC News, English filed for bankruptcy in 2020. Proceedings were finalized in January 2021, a month before he was named in the proposed class action lawsuit in Vancouver.
Bankruptcy records show he operated a company called T. English Enterprises. There is little information about the company in searches of Canadian documents, but according to US customs records, a company called Ted English Enterprises with an address in Moncton was responsible for importing religious ornaments from China.
English attended the proposed class action proceedings by videoconference from his home in New Brunswick.
Certification hearings stalled in August as all sides wrestled with the admissibility of new evidence. Hearings are expected to wrap up in November and the judge will decide whether the case proceeds as a class action or as a series of individual lawsuits.