Consultations available on Salt Spring Island
Megan Ellis & Company operates a satellite office centrally located on Salt Spring Island.
To make an appointment at our Salt Spring office please call 604-683-7144.
Megan Ellis QC elected Fellow of the International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers
On April 15, 2014 Megan Ellis QC was elected a Fellow of the International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (IAML). IAML is a worldwide association of practising lawyers who are recognised by their peers as the most experienced and skilled family law specialists in their respective countries. IAML was formed in 1986 to improve the practice of law and administration of justice in the area of divorce and family law throughout the world.
Megan Ellis QC on Advisory Committee of new family law web resource
As of Tuesday, April 16, 2013, JP Boyd’s popular family law website, www.bcfamilylawresource.com, is now officially available as a Clicklaw Wikibook at http://wiki.clicklaw.bc.ca. This website will be continually updated and revised by a roster of experienced family law lawyers from around the province. Paper copies of sections of the website can be obtained on request from local libraries.
Archdiocese of Vancouver Named in Sexual Abuse Suit
On December 13, 2012 Megan Ellis & Company filed a lawsuit against a Catholic priest and the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Vancouver, seeking damages for sexual exploitation of a young female parishioner by the priest who counseled her and gave her confession.
The plaintiff, Kathleen Taylor, met the priest, Father Damian Cooper, at a Catholic camp when she was 15 years old. She alleges that a sexually abusive relationship began the following year during counselling appointments at Holy Rosary Cathedral. The Notice of Civil Claim describes abuse which continued in secret for years, a period of time during which Fr. Cooper served at Holy Rosary Cathedral and other parishes in Vancouver, Aldergrove and Squamish.
Taylor claims that after she disclosed the abuse to the Church in 1994, she was told by Archbishop Exner that Cooper would be sent to a treatment center in the USA. Fr. Cooper later served as a priest at St. Brigid’s Parish in Rockville Center, Long Island.
In 2002, the Catholic clergy abuse scandal in Boston revealed a common practice of shuffling abusive clergy to parishes where their histories as sexual abusers would not be known. Shortly afterwards, the Rockville Center diocese faced a Grand Jury investigation for sheltering abusers, and Fr. Cooper left Rockville Centre abruptly.
Taylor next became aware of Fr. Cooper’s whereabouts in 2005 when he was listed as a spiritual director at the Fraser Valley Pregnancy Centre. This news was the turning point for Taylor: “After seeing how Fr. Cooper had been shuffled around, and realizing that the Archdiocese was putting more vulnerable teenage girls at risk even while touting its new abuse policies, I began to think seriously about coming forward to share my story with the public.”
Taylor believes that the public image the Church chooses to present can distort the reality of clergy abuse. “Just this week, I saw Fr. Cooper’s name in a list of past vocation directors on the Archdiocese’s website, where he was lauded as one of the “great men” of the Archdiocese. I couldn’t believe they were portraying him in that way, considering what they know about his history.”
Taylor says she hopes that her painful decision to come forward will encourage other survivors of clergy abuse to do the same. She says that, “Catholics deserve to know the reality of this organization which expects to be entrusted with their obedience, their money, and their children’s education. But the truth will remain hidden unless survivors speak up.”
New Salt Spring Island Office
Megan Ellis & Company is pleased to announce the opening of a new office at 150 Woodland Drive on Salt Spring Island. We look forward to serving the residents of this beautiful island.
New Limitation Act to come into force June 1, 2013
The government of British Columbia announced today that the new Limitation Act would come into force on June 1, 2013. The text of the new legislation can be found at:
Megan Ellis QC served as a member of the Limitation Act Advisory Group, a group of senior BC lawyers consulted by the Ministry of the Attorney General on the development of the new legislation.
While the new Act reduces the time within which an injured party must bring many claims, these restrictions do not apply to claims based on sexual misconduct against children or young people under the age of 19, or claims based on sexual assault of adults. These claims can be brought at any time.
An important new change is that there will also be no limitation period for bringing a claim based on assault or battery which took place when the victim was under 19 or was over 19 but in a relationship of financial, emotional, physical or other dependence with a person involved in the assault or battery.