Saskatoon City Councillor named as a defendant
Allegations of abuse at independent schools rocked Saskatchewan in 2022. Last month, the Carillon covered a class-action lawsuit against Saskatoon-based Legacy Christian Academy (LCA) and Mile Two Church which alleged physical, sexual, and emotional abuse. An amended statement of claim was filed on December 12, and the lawyer told the CBC that the class action suit now has nearly 100 former students who have applied to be a part of it.
The lawsuit was amended to include four new defendants and detail the allegations against these new defendants. Two of the new defendants were a former director and a former children’s director at Mile Two Church. One of the defendants, Randy Donauer, is currently sitting on Saskatoon City Council serving his third term. The lawsuit alleges that Donauer paddled one of the plaintiffs at a summer camp over gossiping and telling jokes. The same plaintiff alleges that the abuse he received was due to adults learning that he is homosexual.
When the plaintiff was 15, he recalls that school staff gave him the option of going to conversion therapy or being expelled. In the statement of claim, Donauer is accused of being “instrumental in the development and implementation of the policies and procedures.” Of note, Donauer’s voting record involved twice voting against city council propositions to disavow conversion therapy, and a homophobic lobbying group known as Campaign Life Coalition has openly supported him.
The final new defendant named in the amended statement of claim is the Government of Saskatchewan, alleging the Ministry of Education committed gross negligence. The claim alleges that the Ministry of Education was aware of the fact that Legacy Christian Academy was using uncertified teaching staff. Despite this breaking the ministry’s requirements for independent schools, no intervention occurred. It is also alleged that the ministry did not do any inspections of the school, despite the ministry’s statements that they perform three per year. These allegations directly accuse the ministry of lying to the public. I contacted the Ministry of Education about these allegations specifically and was told that they could not comment on an ongoing court case.
NDP education critic Matt Love commented on the allegations of gross negligence. “In June 2016, the Saskatchewan Higher Education Quality Assurance Board urged him to explicitly tie accreditation to the upholding of human rights in light of abuse allegations at Briercrest College,” Love said in an emailed statement. “He ignored the request, as did the four Sask. Party Advance Education Ministers that came after him. This lawsuit is just further proof of the Sask. Party’s record of sweeping allegations of abuse in publicly-funded schools under the rug.”
According to the 2020-2021 tax return for Mile Two Church Inc., the organization that runs both the church and school, they received a little over $900,000 from the provincial government and almost $200,000 from the federal government. Together, government payments account for just over 45 per cent of Mile Two Church Inc.’s funding. Most of their remaining funding came from donations that were tax-receipted.
As reported previously by the Carillon, the Ministry of Education appointed administrators to LCA in response to the allegations. Two other schools which have administrative staff who are included in the lawsuit have also had appointed administrators, and teachers who were named in the lawsuit are no longer in the classroom. The ministry also stated that unannounced supervisory visits will be increased, and created a requirement for all allegations of criminal activity at a qualified independent school to be reported to the Ministry of Education. The plaintiffs in the class action lawsuit believe this is not enough, stating in the amended statement of claim: “the basis of facts and circumstances […] of this Amended Statement of Claim which clearly make it inappropriate that the School continue to operate.”