'A powerful thing': Sex abuse survivors tell their stories in Windsor-based film
Director Matt Gallagher talks about his documentary "Prey" in Windsor on Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2019. (Melanie Borrelli / CTV Windsor)
WINDSOR -- A Windsor director has returned to his hometown to share his film about a sexual abuse survivor’s court battle with the Catholic Church.
“Prey” by Matt Gallagher screened Wednesday night at the Windsor International Film Festival and has a second screening Thursday at 3:45 p.m.
“Windsor is ground zero for this documentary,” says Gallagher, who grew up in the city.
Gallagher says he was presented with the idea several years ago, but decided it was now the right time do it.
“This was a film that I didn’t want to make. This was a film that was percolating for about 10-15 years,” says Gallagher.
The documentary chronicles victim Rod MacLeod's civil suit against the church in the case. He was at Thursday night’s screening.
“It's a very difficult subject,” says Gallagher. “It’s a difficult subject to watch , a difficult film to make, but I think at the end of the day just to see the survivors get a chance to tell their story is a powerful thing.”
It also features another Windsorite and victim Patrick McMahon.
Basilian priest and former Windsor Catholic school teacher William Hodgson Marshall was convicted of abusing 17 young people over his 38-year career.
“For so long these stories have been quietly settled,” says Gallagher. “To finally have this particular story in the public in front of a Windsor film festival audience is something powerful.”
Marshall died in 2014, but the Basilian Fathers of Toronto were ordered to pay the sum of $2.5-million to MacLeod.
Marshall served as a priest and teacher in Rochester, Toronto, Windsor, Sudbury, and Sault Ste. Marie.