Sexual Abuse Claims Against Scouts Canada

Sexual Abuse Claims Against Scouts Canada

Since the 1950s, Scouts Canada has maintained a ‘confidential list’ of scout members who were known pedophiles and have been banned from the organization. In October 2011, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) uncovered 340 instances of sexual abuse committed by active scout leaders. During their investigation, CBC identified 80 cases involving scout leaders, both current and former, that had engaged in sexual misconduct. In 2011, Scouts Canada issued an apology to the scouts who had endured sexual abuse by their leaders. [1][2][3][4]

In 2012, Scouts Canada acknowledged its past failure in not reporting all allegations of sexual abuse by its members to the police. An audit conducted by KPMG examined Scouts Canada’s records and revealed at least 390 instances of alleged sexual misconduct dating back to the 1940s.  In 328 instances, the authorities appear to have been aware of the conduct before it came to Scouts Canada’s attention. Shockingly, the audit revealed that in 65 cases of sexual misconduct Scouts Canada did not immediately alert the authorities. Additionally in 64 instances, it remained unclear whether the incidents had been reported to the police or the police were already aware. Disturbingly, the audit also uncovered 14 cases where scout members involved in sexual misconduct had been expelled from the organization but were still allowed to participate in scouting activities. [5][6][7][8][9][10]


Civil Lawsuits Against Scouts Canada in the Maritimes

The 2011 CBC investigation found at least five instances of sexual misconduct by scout leaders in Atlantic Canada.[11] Survivors have sued Scouts Canada for the abuse they have suffered at the hands of scout leaders, many of these lawsuits have resulted in out of court settlements.[12]

Regardless of when it occurred, if you have been the victim of sexual abuse by a Scout leader or member in the Maritimes, contact  Liam O’Reilly and the team at  Wagners to understand your legal rights.

Nova Scotia Boy Scout Leaders Charged or Sued for Sexually Abusing Boy Scouts


  • Donald George Schweyer

In 2008, a survivor sued the Boy Scouts of Canada alleging they were culpable for the sexual abuse they suffered at the hands of their scout leader, Donald George Schweyer.  In 2007, Schweyer was criminally charged for abusing five boys. [13]


  • Gerald Arthur Conrad

In the 1980s, Conrad was convicted for sexually assaulting a child.[14] In January 2010, Conrad pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a child.[15] In 2021, Conrad was charged criminally for sexually abusing a minor in Ontario between 2001 and 2004.[16]  In April 2022, Conrad plead guilty to, while being a scout leader, sexually abusing a scout who was 12 or 13 years old in the Halifax, Nova Scotia area.  In 2023, Conrad was sentenced to six years in prison for sexually assaulting two scouts in the 1970s in the Halifax, Nova Scotia area.[17]


  • Patrick MacDougall

Patrick MacDougall worked at the Shelburne School for Boys and then later at the Sydney Children’s Training Centre and as well was a boy scout leader.  In January 1991, a former resident of the Shelburne School for boys made a complaint to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) that he had been sexually abused by MacDougall in the mid to late 1960s.[18]  The RCMP based on the Shelburne index cards and admission logs that During MacDougall’s employment from September 1959 to June 1975 there were 2,693 residents. Of that number, possibly 877 were under MacDougall’s care, either in his role as counsellor or through Boy Scouts.[19]  In 1993, MacDougall was convicted or sexually abusing several boys in the 1960s and 1970s.[20]


  • Paul Arsenault

A survivor sued Scouts Canada alleging they were culpable for the sexual abuse he had suffered at the hands of their scout leader, Paul Arsenault. The survivor has alleged the abuse took place in 1974 or 1975 and much of the abuse occurred at St. Paul’s Church in Halifax, Nova Scotia. [21]


New Brunswick Boy Scout Leaders Charged or Sued for Sexually Abusing Boy Scouts


  • David Wolfe

In 2012, David Wolfe was charged criminally for, while acting as an assistant scout leader, sexually assaulting a 13-year old boy in the mid 1960s in the Moncton, New Brunswick area.[22] By 2013, three survivors had come forwards and David Wolfe pleaded guilty to assaulting all three in the 1960s.[23] In 2013, another survivor came forward, and David Wolfe was charged for sexually abusing a minor between 1964 and 1967 in the Port Elgin, New Brunswick area.[24]  In 2014, David Wolfe pleaded guilty to the fourth charge of sexual abuse.[25]  In 2013, David Wolfe was sentenced for two years in prison in relation to the four charges of sexual assault.[26]


  • Karl Toft


Karl Toft was a boy scout leader and worked at the New Brunswick Training School at Kingsclear, New Brunswick. At the age of 16, Toft was an assistant boy scout leader and started to sexually abuse younger scouts.[27] In the mid 1960s, assistant scout leaders found naked pictures of scouts in Toft’s trailer. Toft was allowed to resign on the understanding his actions would not be reported.[28]  In 1992, Toft plead guilty to 34 charges in relation to sexual abuse. However, Toft admitted that he abused 200 boys over a 35-year period.[29]


No Time Limit on Bringing Institutional Abuse or Sexual Abuse Claims in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island

In Nova Scotia, as per the Limitation of Actions Act, SNS 2014, c 35,  and in Prince Edward Island, as per the Statute of Limitations, RSPEI 1988, c S-7,  there is no time limitation on when a lawsuit must be filed in regard to sexual abuse or physical abuse claims based on emotional, physical, or financial dependency (such as being a resident at an orphanage or other institution). This means that historical victims of sexual abuse or abuse while under the care of an institution who are now ready to come forward can initiate lawsuits, even though the abuse happened years or even decades previous.[30] [31]


No Time Limit on Bringing Sexual Abuse Claims in New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador

In New Brunswick, as per the Limitation of Actions Act, SNB 2009, c L-8.5, and in Newfoundland and Labrador, as per the Limitations Act, SNL 1995, c L-16.1, there is no time limitation on when a lawsuit must be filed in regard to sexual abuse claims. This means that historical victims of sexual abuse who are now ready to come forward can initiate lawsuits, even though the abuse happened years or even decades previous.[32][33]


Your Legal Options After Sexual or Institutional Abuse

At Wagners, we’ve met survivors of sexual or institutional abuse who find it extremely difficult to share their experiences, even with a lawyer. We have a team that is professional and compassionate so you can rely on their experience to explain your legal options and provide the assistance you need to fight for your fair compensation. Abuse survivors can trust us to use the information they share to ensure the person or institution responsible are brought to justice. We take the time to evaluate the specifics of your case and advise on the best legal option to help you receive the monetary compensation you need to recover from the abuse you endured.

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: In this case, we pursue the case on behalf of the survivor in civil court. If found at fault, the assailant will be required to pay monetary compensation, which would assist the survivor to recover from the abuse.

Class action lawsuit: It is also possible to file a class action lawsuit against an assailant who assaulted several people. The group of survivors can come together to collectively file a class action suit against the person or institution that was responsible for the assault or abuse.


At Wagners, we firmly believe that no amount of compensation can eliminate the pain and suffering that your assailant caused, but there is so much good that comes from a successfully resolved  institutional or sexual abuse claim. As a survivor, the monetary compensation you receive can assist you to recover from the abuse and cater to the medical costs involved. Holding the assailant accountable also restores your dignity and encourages other victims of sexual and institutional abuse to come out and seek justice as well.

The amount of compensation you deserve for your sexual or institutional 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 or institutional 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. Our main goal is to build a strong strategy and successfully fight for your rights.




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