HALIFAX – A Halifax lawyer says the men who came forward to report abuse by a former professor at the University of King’s College have created a “watershed moment” for other survivors.
Liam O’Reilly said in an interview that an apology Wednesday from King’s president William Lahey for the Halifax school’s failure to keep students safe from Wayne Hankey’s sexual assaults will help other victims feel safer to speak out.
Lahey made his apology following the release of a report from a Toronto-based law firm that said the school failed to address allegations of Hankey’s abuse and instead protected him.
The report compiled stories from interviews with more than 80 people who interacted with Hankey, who taught at the school between 1974 and 2015 and was charged with sexual assault in 2021. He died in February 2022 at the age of 77 before the case came to trial.
O’Reilly filed a civil lawsuit last March naming several defendants, including King’s board of governors, on behalf of a man who says Hankey sexually assaulted him in the late 1970s when he was 14.
O’Reilly says Lahey’s apology expressed the sentiments that those abused by Hankey wanted to hear.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 16, 2023.
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