Christian school officials accused of trying to ‘exorcise’ gay teen to cast out ‘demons’
A Christian school has been accused of multiple incidents of abuse, including performing an exorcism on a student to cast out “gay demons”.
Eighteen students who attended Canada’s Saskatoon Christian Centre Academy, between 1995 and 2010, have filed criminal abuse complaints alleging frequent paddlings, coercion, traumatising rituals and solitary confinement, according to CBC News.
Corporal punishment by educators was outlawed by the Supreme Court of Canada in 2004.
A 12-month investigation into the school, known as Legacy Christian Academy from 2013, led to Canadian police handing the case to Crown prosecutors in April to consider possible charges.
The investigation saw former student Coy Nolin describe in graphic detail an alleged “exorcism“.
Nolin says he was interrogated for hours by the school’s director after multiple people had told him that the teenager was gay. Nolin claims the director called him “evil” and “an abomination”.
Nolin was suspended following the interrogation, with the teen claiming he was told the school’s director and other officials would visit him at home to “cure” him and rid him of his “gay demons”.
The young teen and his mother agreed to the visit, but they say what happened in their living room was the last thing they expected.
Four school officials are said to have placed their hands on Nolin and before yelling, grunting and “speaking in tongues”.
Carilyn Nolin, the young boy’s mother, felt helpless and began crying in a corner, she told CBC: “I was no longer in control. I was pushed aside.”
When the exorcism was over the director grabbed a large wooden panel and spanked the teenage boy until he was bruised and battered, and couldn’t walk without limping, it is alleged.
“That was one of the worst days of my life. Even now, just thinking about it, I go numb,” Coy said. “This was abuse. This was a hate crime.”
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In a statement to CBC, officials said any homophobia alleged by Coy Nolin and others does not exist at the school today.
“Our position on LGBTQ+ issues is that all students are welcome in our school, and we strive to provide a safe place for every student to grow and learn who God created them to be… we are committed to creating an environment where everyone is valued and treated with dignity, love, and respect. Therefore, we would never discipline students for their sexual orientation or gender identity,” said the statement.
They say the school is a different place compared to even a few years ago, with many new staff and leaders.
However, Nolin and other students who filed the complaint have said this is false, and staff who played a role in the abuse still work at the institution.
Crown prosecutors say it could take up until 2023 for charges to be brought forward against the school.
While the former students wait for justice, they want Saskatchewan’s provincial government to freeze funds and cancel any tax breaks the Legacy Christian Academy receives.