Michael McNutt, former Halifax teacher, receives a 15-year prison term for historic sexual abuse
Michael McNutt was a teacher with the Halifax Regional School Board, as well as, a volunteer sports coach and a youth worker with St. Joseph’s Church. For decades McNutt used his position as a teacher, coach, and youth worker, to access vulnerable children and youths to exploit them for his own sexual gratification. On August 11, 2020, The Nova Scotia Supreme Court imposed a 15-year prison term on Michael McNutt For many victims this helped bring some closure to the abuse they suffered.
Civil Lawsuits against Michael McNutt, the Halifax Regional School Board and Sports Associations
Civil lawsuits have been filed against Halifax Regional School Board and a number of local sports organizations in regards to the abuse by McNutt. These lawsuits in general claim that theses organizations and the Halifax Regional School Board failed to protect the victims and failed to take steps to remove McNutt when they became aware, or ought to have been aware, that he was a sexual predator.
According to the Agreed Statement of Facts in the criminal proceeding the below is a list of some of the sports teams Michael McNutt was involved in:
- Sir Robert Borden Hockey Team
- Pee Wee and Bantam football – Fort Needham Minor Football Association
- Dartmouth Minor Baseball
- Dartmouth Minor Baseball, Bantam A
- Dartmouth Minor Baseball Team
- Halifax Capitals Bantam C Hockey
- Halifax Hockey
- Summer Hockey League
- Brunswick Invitational Hockey Tournament
- Dartmouth Baseball Team
- Halifax Capitals Hockey
The purpose of these lawsuits is for victims to see monetary compensation for pain and suffering, lost income, valuable services, and the cost of care (e.g. psychological counselling).
No Time Limit on Bringing Sexual Assault Claims in Nova Scotia
In 2015, Nova Scotia adopted the Limitation of Actions Act, SNS 2014, c 35 which removed any time limitation on when a lawsuit must be filed in regard to sexual abuse. This means that historical victims of sexual abuse that are now ready to come forward can initiate lawsuits despite the fact the abuse happened years or even decades previously.
Chronology of Charges and Investigation of Michael McNutt
- As result of several complaints by parents against McNutt, he was given the opportunity to resign his position as a teacher from Sir Robert Junior High School in 1983.
- By 1985 McNutt was allowed to return to teaching as a substitute teacher.
- In 1994, a complaint was made to the police regarding a sexual offence by McNutt.
- In 1994, McNutt was convicted of a sexual offence, but subsequently received a pardon.
- In 2013, Michael McNutt pleaded guilty to committing an indecent act that had occurred 30 years prior and was sentenced to probation.
- In October 2016, police started investigating after several individuals came forward claiming Michael McNutt abused them when they were children. As part of Operation Apollo, Michael McNutt and Joseph Poirier were arrested on the basis of sexual abuse of children and youths.
- On January 24, 2019, Michael McNutt was charged with 27 counts related to sexual abuse of children. The police at the time suspected there were more victims and suspected they would be laying more charges.
- On June 10, 2020, Michael McNutt plead guilty to 35 historical sex offences involving 34 victims.
- On August 7, 2019, McNutt was charged with “64 new counts involving 20 alleged victims”.
- On August 11, 2020, The Nova Scotia Supreme Court imposed a 15-year prison term on Michael McNutt.
Legal Help for Sexual Abuse and Sexual Assault
The lawyers at Wagners understand that being sexually molested or assaulted is a challenging and painful experience to endure. You deserve to be protected, heard, and advocated for. We know that discussing a sexual assault experience is challenging, but we promise to listen to you, help you understand all viable legal options, ensure your assailant is held liable, and fight for your right to get fair compensation for the damages you suffered.
File criminal charges: If you take this option, you will not get monetary compensation. Investigations will be done, and the accused will be arrested if sufficient evidence is found. If the defendant is found guilty, he or she could face punishment like imprisonment.
Civil lawsuit: The law allows you to file a claim in a civil court against your assailant or the institution that hired him or her. Unlike criminal charges, a claim (civil action) can result in a settlement to help you (the victim) recover from the assault or abuse you endured.
Class action lawsuit: This type of lawsuit is filed by a group of people who were sexually assaulted or abused by the same accused party. The victims can collectively file a claim (class-action lawsuit) against their assailant or the institution liable for the abuse or assault.
With the help of a highly experienced sexual assault lawyer, you will gain an in-depth understanding of your legal options and take the right action depending on the circumstances of your lawsuit.
Compensation in Sexual Assault Cases
At Wagners, we firmly believe that no amount of monetary compensation can take away the pain linked to sexual assault. But there are many benefits of resolving sexual assault lawsuits successfully. The plaintiffs can get the financial help they need to get the right medical assistance and start rebuilding their lives. Besides, bringing your abuser to justice can restore your dignity and probably encourage other survivors of sexual assault to seek justice as well.
If you win a sexual abuse claim, you may be entitled to compensation for:
- Lost income in case you cannot get back to work
- Psychological and emotional distress
- Mental health therapy and necessary counseling expenses
- Medical-related costs
- Other financial losses like loss of job prospects and failure to finish education
The amount of compensation you deserve for your sexual abuse claim will depend on many factors. Some of these factors include:
- How the abuse affected your ability to support yourself and make sufficient income
- The type of medical treatment you need or you have sought due to the abuse
- The personal or unique circumstances of your lawsuit
We know that sexual abuse is a terrible experience and many victims usually have a heavy burden that they are likely to carry for a long time. For this reason, we offer reliable legal assistance that you need, to get the monetary burden off your shoulders and start rebuilding your life. Our main goal is to build a strong strategy and successfully fight for your rights.