PORT HAWKESBURY – Six survivors of sexual abuse by convicted sexual predator Ernest Fenwick MacIntosh filed a civil lawsuit against him in N.S. Supreme Court in Port Hawkesbury on Dec 23. The claim was personally served on MacIntosh at his Montreal home on Dec. 24.
Lawyers are seeking damages including $300,000 in “general and aggravated damages,” as well as $50,000 in “punitive and exemplary damages” for each victim.
"As a result of his sexual abuse, he has caused the plaintiffs to suffer severe physical and psychological harm that continues to this day," says the statement of claim.
MacIntosh was a prominent Strait-Area businessman and community leader in the 1970s when the assaults are alleged to have occurred. The plaintiffs are all males, now between the ages of 56 and 64.
“For years, MacIntosh used his position of trust, social status and wealth to prey on and sexually abuse vulnerable young boys in their community,” says the statement of claim. Some of the assaults are alleged to have occurred in the Guysborough area.
In 2010 and 2011, MacIntosh was found guilty on a total of 17 counts of sexual assault by the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia. The Nova Scotia Court of Appeal, however, set aside the convictions, finding that the delay in bringing MacIntosh to trial breached his Charter right to be tried within a reasonable time. On April 22, 2013, the Supreme Court of Canada dismissed the Crown’s appeal of this decision.
Later, the six plaintiffs successfully lobbied the Nova Scotia legislature to amend the Limitation of Actions Act to remove the old time limits barring civil claims for sexual abuse.
Having his convictions set aside allowed MacIntosh to travel to Asia. In 2014, he was charged, convicted and imprisoned for sexually assaulting a nine-year-old boy in Nepal.
He was allowed to return to Canada before serving his full seven-year sentence. MacIntosh is now in his mid-70s and reportedly in poor health.
"(The victims) now make use of the improved statute to seek justice by their own efforts," their lawyer, Daniel Naymark, said in a media statement. "MacIntosh now knows that his victims will not stay silent, and that he cannot avoid justice for his crimes forever. We hope that the brave actions of these victims embolden other victims to hold their abusers to account."
None of the allegations have been proven in court. A statement of defense has not yet been filed.