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N.B. woman sues minister and church for damages after box-cutter assault

November 08, 2017 - 11:15 AM

SAINT JOHN, N.B. - A New Brunswick woman who claims that her former Anglican minister and lover tried to kill her is suing him and the church for damages.

Cynthia Mae Moore claims she had an extramarital affair with Rev. William Morton, and that on Nov. 24, 2015, he threatened to "skin her alive" and scraped her breasts with a box cutter.

A statement of claim, filed with the Court of Queen's Bench in Saint John, says Morton returned hours later and tried to kill her.

"He succeeded in cutting her breasts and abdomen with a box cutter. On Dec. 8, 2015, (he) attacked (Moore) again and attempted to kill her with a knife to her throat," the statement of claim reads.

Moore filed a lawsuit with the Court of Queen's Bench against Morton, the Anglican Church of Canada, the Anglican Diocese of Fredericton, and the Corporation of the Anglican Parish of St. Stephen.

Morton pleaded guilty to two charges of assault with a weapon and was given a 15-month conditional sentence last November, which could be served in the community.

Moore had worked part-time in the church office, and volunteered as a greeter, reader and head server in the church.

Both she and Morton were married to others; the minister had counselled her on her marriage problems before their three-year affair began in 2012.

Moore's statement of claim says she now suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and suicidal ideation, and is seeking payment for damages from the defendants.

"She trusted (him) as her spiritual leader and counsellor and (he) abused this trust," says the court document.

"(He) was in a fiduciary relationship with her and that he breached this duty when he took advantage of her vulnerability and commenced a sexual affair, which ended in the horrific assaults on her person."

It goes on to claim that the church was negligent as it failed to provide proper supervision of Morton, and knew or should have known of his alcohol abuse.

"(She) had a great respect for the clergy and the church and ... she struggles with feelings of betrayal by the Defendant Church."

The document says Moore has been unable to work and earn an income as a result of the psychological injury she suffered.

The defendants have notified the court that they intend to defend themselves to the allegations, but have yet to file a statement of defence.

— By Kevin Bissett in Fredericton.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2017
The Canadian Press

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