Aug 25/98: 'Sexual terrorist' fingers res school principal, DIA



Victoria Times-Colonist
August 25, 1998
Roger Stonebanks

[S.I.S.I.S. note: The following mainstream news article may contain biased or distorted information and may be missing pertinent facts and/or context. It is provided for reference only.]

Nanaimo - One victim of a man labelled a sexual terrorist sighed with relief after listening to him testify Monday in BC Supreme Court. "I feel good today. This is part of the healing process," said Marlon Watts. Arthur Henry Plint, now 80, was a dormitory supervisor at Alberni Indian Residential School for 10 years in two periods between 1948 and 1968. In between he was a postman in Vancouver. Plint was sentenced to 11 years in prison in 1995 for sexual assaults on boys at the school. Justice Douglas Hogarth called him a sexual terrorist.

On Monday Plint was called from Mountain Institution in the Fraser Valley by Vancouver lawyer Peter Grant. He represents some of the nearly 30 former students who are suing the federal government and the United Church for compensation for assaults at the now closed boarding school in Port Alberni. Before court convened, Watts told more than 50 natives on the steps of the Nanaimo courthouse to "show our dignity, love, and unity and true heritage" inside court by refraining from all comment. The packed courtroom was silent except for a few murmurs of disagreement when he said he couldn't remember abusing boys. Plint, frail and walking with a cane but clear-voiced and responsive to questions, said he saw former school principal John Andrews on television after the sexual assault charges were laid. Andrews was saying it was the first time he had heard about it. "I yelled out '...liar' to the TV," said Plint.

He said Andrews fired him in 1968 but gave no reason then and he heard none later. He also said Andrews told him not to stay in Port Alberni but he didn't know why. Plint moved immediately to Victoria where he worked as an orderly in the Chinese hospital. Earlier in the trial, Andrews testified that he did not know about sexual assaults at the time and Plint was fired for breaking a rule by having boys in his room. Andrews is expected to be a witness again. Plint, who frequently drummed his fingers on the witness box, said Andrews "got a call from Indian Affairs saying they had heard about me" and sexual assaults in the school. Plint said he neither confirmed or denied it.

The second time was after a public school teacher wrote a letter about a residential boy who had scratches and Plint had checked the boy to see if he had worms. "He wouldn't go to the nurse, he told his mother I had looked for worms, she phoned the school," said Plint. Plint said he thought he was working for the United Church of Canada and he was hired by the principal the first time by A.E. Caldwell and the second time by Andrews. The principals, he said, worked for the United Church and the federal government. In contrast to testimony from former students and his own guilty pleadings in criminal court, Plint said his sexual offences were limited to boys masturbating him. He conceded, however, that he cannot remember details and has tried to forget them.

Meanwhile, outside court, Watts said: "I'm not going to let him harm me no more. All I knew was hate and anger and distrust of everyone. I've been clean and sober 14 years but the nightmares still come."

Harry Wilson, who testified that Plint abused him, said: "I don't like listening to him. It hurt. He hurt me a lot."

The trial will adjourn later this week to Oct. 19.

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