Former orphanage resident shocked by abuse allegations
Published Friday, November 9, 2012 6:25PM AST
Last Updated Friday, November 9, 2012 6:26PM AST
A former resident of the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children says he is shocked to hear about allegations of abuse at the home.
“I never ever had nothing done to me at all,” says Frank Jackson. “I was never singled out to be picked at or I always had these good memories of it.”
Jackson says he lived at the home for the first nine to 10 years of his life in the 1950s and 1960s. He also returned to the home for a few years as a teenager.
“I have had a beautiful experience in there, and if I had the chance to live it over again, I would.”
More than 100 former residents are part of a proposed class action lawsuit alleging decades of mental, physical and sexual abuse.
Jackson says he wasn’t aware of the allegations until he heard about them on TV about a week ago.
He says he doesn’t want to hurt anyone by sharing his positive experience, but feels his side needs to be heard.
Former resident Tony Smith says he understands where Jackson is coming from, but it doesn’t change his feelings, after alleging years of beatings and abuse.
“It’s unfortunate that we all didn’t have the same experience,” says Smith.
“It’s fortunate that he had that experience - I wish we all had that experience - but the documentation clearly shows that the government knew, that the Colored Home knew of the systemic abuse that was going on.”
So far, calls for a public inquiry by former residents and Opposition leaders have gone unanswered by the provincial government.
Today, another organization joined those calls and showed its support for the alleged victims.
“First of all, I wanted to let the individuals who’ve come forward, I wanted to acknowledge the strength and courage it takes to do that,” says Irene Smith, the head of the Avalon Sexual Assault Centre in Halifax.
She says a public inquiry would be in the public’s best interest.
“I was so disappointed when I heard that the government refused their repeated requests for a public inquiry,” she says. “I really felt it was important for the residents to understand that Avalon Centre totally supports that request.”
Despite his positive experiences at the home, Jackson agrees.
“I would say it would be helpful so people can go on with their lives, to clear the air.”
A criminal investigation is underway as police investigate nearly 40 complaints from across the country.
Police say their investigation is wrapping up but it’s too early to say whether charges will be laid.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Jacqueline Foster