Former residents learn abuse complaints won't be heard
Published Monday, November 12, 2012 6:22PM AST
Last Updated Monday, November 12, 2012 6:23PM AST
As calls continue for a public inquiry into allegations of abuse at the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children, some former residents are learning their complaints filed with the RCMP won’t go ahead because many of the alleged abusers are no longer living.
“It’s not really fair for us to have no justice,” says former resident Richard Chase, who filed a complaint against the home earlier this year.
Last week the province ruled out a public inquiry, for now, and the RCMP have told Chase his complaint won’t be going ahead.
“One of the investigating officers phoned me back and he said to me, he said ‘Mr. Chase, your perpetrators are dead, so there’s nothing really we can do for you.’”
Chase lived at the home in Dartmouth for a few years in the early 1960s, when he was around six years old.
“After being beaten for probably five to six years, you know, you kind of think that’s natural. But when I got in my foster home, everything changed.”
His older sister, Olive Chase, lived at the home for almost a year when she was 15 years old.
“To take you from someone who really loves you, and put you in a place like that, that wasn’t a home,” she says. “That was a prison.”
The RCMP have been investigating nearly 40 complaints of physical, mental, and sexual abuse at the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children and say their investigation is wrapping up.
The lawyer representing former residents of the home says Chase isn’t the only one who has been told his case won’t be heard.
“We know of at least seven people who have been told the same thing,” says Mike Dull.
Dull says some of the former residents aren’t involved in the proposed civil suit, so for them, a public inquiry is all that is left.
“These people are getting up there in age and they don’t have much time left,” says Dull. “They’ve waited decades and decades for this, and they’re understandably disappointed at the position of the government.”
Richard and Olive Chase are involved in the proposed class action lawsuit, along with roughly 100 other former residents.
“The pain will never, ever leave me,” says Olive Chase. “It will always be with me until the day I die.”
They are still holding out hope for a public inquiry.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Jacqueline Foster