Montreal-area city of Westmount reaches agreement with sexual-abuse victims


Published on January 24, 2017

MONTREAL — The Montreal-area city of Westmount says it has reached a settlement with the sex-abuse victims of one of its former employees.

John Garland worked for the city's parks and recreation department between 1953 and 1987.

He was also a peewee hockey coach.

Garland died in 2012.

Westmount has set aside $2.5 million for the victims, with individual payments expected to be up to $100,000.

Lead plaintiff Matthew Bissonnette, who mentioned the abuse to the city in 2015, is urging other victims to step forward.

"I think anyone would do well to come forward," he said. "One, for their own personal development, and also to allow themselves access to the resources to get the help I feel they need."

In a statement, Westmount said Garland "misused his position of power and trust to abuse sexually some of the children and teenagers in his care."

"The city acknowledges that the effects of sexual abuse can last a lifetime and be devastating for victims, their families, and a community," it said. "This is particularly true when the abuse is directed at the most vulnerable among us, our children."

The Canadian Press