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Only one of Mount Cashel John Does has PTSD: doctor


Updated story: Three of four John Does involved in the Mount Cashel civil trial in Newfoundland Supreme Court don’t suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), says an American psychiatrist testifying for the Catholic Church.

Dr. Robert Toborowsky said the fourth John Doe does have PTSD “that can be traced — along with the associated angst — reasonably to various experiences he had prior to, during and after the years he spent in Mount Cashel.”

Those experiences include losing his mother — the man’s father, a Second World War double-amputee, couldn’t take care of his sons — as well as later life events such as the death of a beloved grandchild, financial struggles, various medical problems — including cancer — and the litigation itself, Toborowsky said.

There were other mental diagnoses that Toborowsky ruled out in his opinions on the John Does’ cases. And in the case of a man who says his marriage and career were ruined, Toborowsky concluded there was an alcoholism disorder and recurrent depression, but didn’t link those problems directly to Mount Cashel.

Toborowsky spoke often during his two days of testimony about the weight of someone losing a parent at an early age.

But Toborowsky could not convince two men sitting in the courtroom Thursday he was right about the crux of his conclusions.

They were two of the John Does.

One of the men, a retired teacher, had success in life, but suffered continuous self-doubt and even had a flashback to Mount Cashel in his 2010 meeting with Toborowsky. He also told Toborowsky of fantasies of killing some of the Christian Brothers who abused him at Mount Cashel, but said he would not act on it.

The man said outside court that Toborowsky couldn’t draw proper conclusions from one meeting, and it isn’t accurate to blame the men’s troubles on causes other than Mount Cashel.

“Where is the real me? That was taken from me in Mount Cashel.

“I don’t know who this person would be,” he said, calling himself by name (which a publication ban prevents from disclosing.) “Who would he be?

“I would have liked to have met the real me — to see who I was. That will never be. My childhood was taken. That’s gone. You don’t hear much about that in (the courtroom).”

The other man said losing a parent is dramatic, especially for his family, which also sent girls to the Belvedere orphanage.

But he said the anger he struggled with in the military and that he eventually learned to manage is something he has to watch. That stems directly from abuse he suffered at Mount Cashel, the man said.

“It’s still here,” he said, pointing to his chest.

The John Does are the test cases representing about 60 claimants — all former orphanage residents — in a lawsuit against the Roman Catholic Episcopal Corp. of St. John’s.

The claimants say the church should be held liable for the physical and sexual abuse they suffered during the 1940s to 1960s at the hands of certain members of the lay order Christian Brothers, who ran the orphanage.

However, the church — the sole defendant in the case after the Christian Brothers went bankrupt — contends it wasn’t directly involved in the Mount Cashel operations.

Toborowsky was originally hired by the Christian Brothers, who were a respondent in the lawsuit when the case was launched in 1999.

Church lawyer Chris Blom finished questioning Toborowsky Thursday, but former orphanage residents’ lawyer Will Hiscock will have to finish his cross-examination either by teleconference or by the doctor returning from Philadelphia, Pa., at a later date.

Hiscock led the doctor through a series of symptoms such as anger, depression, substance abuse and others that could be attributed to child sex abuse.

He also suggested that the criteria of PTSD Toborowsky applied to the men’s cases has more to do with symptoms of military combat than the symptoms presented by child sex abuse survivors.

The former orphanage boys also have psychological experts of their own who will testify.

Follow live tweets from the courtroom at bsweettweets.

 

 

 

 

Previous story:

Three of four John Does involved in the Mount Cashel civil trial in Newfoundland Supreme Court did not suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, says an American psychiatrist testifying for the Catholic Church.

Dr. Robert Toborowsky has not yet testified on the fourth John Doe, among the former orphanage residents who are test cases in a lawsuit against the Roman Catholic Episcopal Corp. of St. John’s. His testimony continues this afternoon.

The men represent about 60 claimants who say the church should be held liable for the physical and sexual abuse they suffered during the 1940s to ‘60s at the hands of certain members of the lay order Christian Brothers, who ran the orphanage.

However, the church — the sole defendant in the case after the Brothers went bankrupt — says it wasn’t directly involved in the Mount Cashel operations.

Toborowsky was originally hired by the Christian Brothers, who back in 1999 when the case was launched, was a respondent in the lawsuit.

Toborowsky acknowledged various problems the men had — from one who suffered a flashback during his 2010 meeting with him, and another who suffered alcoholism, marriage and career failures and recurrent depression. But the doctor did not directly link all their troubles to Mount Cashel, suggesting they might have developed the issues regardless of having been sexually abused.

He remarked on the significance of all four John Does losing a parent at an early age.

The man who suffered that flashback — who despite a successful career and marriage has been plagued by self doubt — sat in the courtroom audience this morning.

Outside court he said psychiatrists and psychologists have a role to play in life, but noted their opinions can be fluffy .

He also said the cases can’t be summed up from one meeting and he felt the doctor was cherry picking causes such as loss of a parent.

The man, now a senior, said he’d like to meet the man he might have been if he had not had his childhood stolen in Mount Cashel.

And having lived his life, that’s what he pinpoints as the source of his anguish.

Full story in digital later today and print Friday.

Follow live tweets from the courtroom @bsweettweets.

bsweet@thetelegram.com

Dr. Robert Toborowsky said the fourth John Doe does have PTSD “that can be traced — along with the associated angst — reasonably to various experiences he had prior to, during and after the years he spent in Mount Cashel.”

Those experiences include losing his mother — the man’s father, a Second World War double-amputee, couldn’t take care of his sons — as well as later life events such as the death of a beloved grandchild, financial struggles, various medical problems — including cancer — and the litigation itself, Toborowsky said.

There were other mental diagnoses that Toborowsky ruled out in his opinions on the John Does’ cases. And in the case of a man who says his marriage and career were ruined, Toborowsky concluded there was an alcoholism disorder and recurrent depression, but didn’t link those problems directly to Mount Cashel.

Toborowsky spoke often during his two days of testimony about the weight of someone losing a parent at an early age.

But Toborowsky could not convince two men sitting in the courtroom Thursday he was right about the crux of his conclusions.

They were two of the John Does.

One of the men, a retired teacher, had success in life, but suffered continuous self-doubt and even had a flashback to Mount Cashel in his 2010 meeting with Toborowsky. He also told Toborowsky of fantasies of killing some of the Christian Brothers who abused him at Mount Cashel, but said he would not act on it.

The man said outside court that Toborowsky couldn’t draw proper conclusions from one meeting, and it isn’t accurate to blame the men’s troubles on causes other than Mount Cashel.

“Where is the real me? That was taken from me in Mount Cashel.

“I don’t know who this person would be,” he said, calling himself by name (which a publication ban prevents from disclosing.) “Who would he be?

“I would have liked to have met the real me — to see who I was. That will never be. My childhood was taken. That’s gone. You don’t hear much about that in (the courtroom).”

The other man said losing a parent is dramatic, especially for his family, which also sent girls to the Belvedere orphanage.

But he said the anger he struggled with in the military and that he eventually learned to manage is something he has to watch. That stems directly from abuse he suffered at Mount Cashel, the man said.

“It’s still here,” he said, pointing to his chest.

The John Does are the test cases representing about 60 claimants — all former orphanage residents — in a lawsuit against the Roman Catholic Episcopal Corp. of St. John’s.

The claimants say the church should be held liable for the physical and sexual abuse they suffered during the 1940s to 1960s at the hands of certain members of the lay order Christian Brothers, who ran the orphanage.

However, the church — the sole defendant in the case after the Christian Brothers went bankrupt — contends it wasn’t directly involved in the Mount Cashel operations.

Toborowsky was originally hired by the Christian Brothers, who were a respondent in the lawsuit when the case was launched in 1999.

Church lawyer Chris Blom finished questioning Toborowsky Thursday, but former orphanage residents’ lawyer Will Hiscock will have to finish his cross-examination either by teleconference or by the doctor returning from Philadelphia, Pa., at a later date.

Hiscock led the doctor through a series of symptoms such as anger, depression, substance abuse and others that could be attributed to child sex abuse.

He also suggested that the criteria of PTSD Toborowsky applied to the men’s cases has more to do with symptoms of military combat than the symptoms presented by child sex abuse survivors.

The former orphanage boys also have psychological experts of their own who will testify.

Follow live tweets from the courtroom at bsweettweets.

 

 

 

 

Previous story:

Three of four John Does involved in the Mount Cashel civil trial in Newfoundland Supreme Court did not suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, says an American psychiatrist testifying for the Catholic Church.

Dr. Robert Toborowsky has not yet testified on the fourth John Doe, among the former orphanage residents who are test cases in a lawsuit against the Roman Catholic Episcopal Corp. of St. John’s. His testimony continues this afternoon.

The men represent about 60 claimants who say the church should be held liable for the physical and sexual abuse they suffered during the 1940s to ‘60s at the hands of certain members of the lay order Christian Brothers, who ran the orphanage.

However, the church — the sole defendant in the case after the Brothers went bankrupt — says it wasn’t directly involved in the Mount Cashel operations.

Toborowsky was originally hired by the Christian Brothers, who back in 1999 when the case was launched, was a respondent in the lawsuit.

Toborowsky acknowledged various problems the men had — from one who suffered a flashback during his 2010 meeting with him, and another who suffered alcoholism, marriage and career failures and recurrent depression. But the doctor did not directly link all their troubles to Mount Cashel, suggesting they might have developed the issues regardless of having been sexually abused.

He remarked on the significance of all four John Does losing a parent at an early age.

The man who suffered that flashback — who despite a successful career and marriage has been plagued by self doubt — sat in the courtroom audience this morning.

Outside court he said psychiatrists and psychologists have a role to play in life, but noted their opinions can be fluffy .

He also said the cases can’t be summed up from one meeting and he felt the doctor was cherry picking causes such as loss of a parent.

The man, now a senior, said he’d like to meet the man he might have been if he had not had his childhood stolen in Mount Cashel.

And having lived his life, that’s what he pinpoints as the source of his anguish.

Full story in digital later today and print Friday.

Follow live tweets from the courtroom @bsweettweets.

bsweet@thetelegram.com

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