Priest sex abuse claimant sues Moncton diocese
Alleged victim of Cap-Pelé priest Camille Léger also suing three archbishops
Posted: Jun 29, 2012 6:52 PM AT
Last Updated: Jun 29, 2012 10:25 PM AT
A man who alleges he was sexually abused by the late Father Camille Léger in the 1970s is suing the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Moncton as well as three archbishops.
The man, who has asked the court not to release his identity, claims he was molested by the Cap-Pelé priest “on a regular and repeated basis” for five years, between the ages of 11 and 16.
He was an altar boy and member of the Ste-Thérèse-d’Avila parish during the period in question, according to his statement of claim, filed with the Court of Queens Bench in Moncton on Friday.
The man, now middle-aged and living in Saint John, claims he still suffers physical, emotional and mental pain and suicidal thoughts from the abuse he suffered.
He is seeking financial compensation and a court order that the archdiocese turn over to police any information regarding other allegations of sexual misconduct by priests.
The lawsuit names three archbishops as defendants:
- Ernest Léger, who was the archbishop in 1997 when the church received a report of Léger’s inappropriate actions with another child.
- Valéry Vienneau, the current archbishop, who was involved in negotiating a settlement in that case
- André Richard, who, until recently was in charge of the diocese for 10 years and allegedly did little to address Leger’s conduct
Archdiocese officials could not be reached Friday for comment.
But in a written statement, archdiocese spokesman Donald Langis confirmed receipt of the lawsuit.
“The independent mediation process designed by the Honorable Michel Bastarache was designed specifically to deal with claims such as this in an atmosphere of conciliation with fair offers of compensation and without the need to pay lawyers,” Langis said.
“While it is the right of people to use the court system if they wish to do so, the archdiocese does hope that victims will avail themselves of the conciliation process, which is still open to them.”
Earlier this month, the archdiocese announced it had hired Bastarache, a retired Supreme Court of Canada justice, to set up and manage a conciliation process for people who were victims of sexual abuse by Léger.
Compensation between $15,000 to $300,000 will be given out, Bastarache said.
Victims have until the end of the month to contact Bastarache.
The plaintiff’s lawyer, Robert Talach, has argued the process only keeps the abuse shrouded in secrecy.
Léger died in 1990 and was never convicted of any crimes. He was a priest in Cap-Pelé from 1957 to 1980.
Several people in the small, southeastern New Brunswick village have come forward recently to talk about being abused by Léger.
The debate started when the village council announced it would hold a referendum on whether to remove the former priest’s name from the local hockey arena.
There was an immediate groundswell of support around the idea of removing Léger’s name from the arena. The Cap-Pelé council had the sign removed and cancelled the plebiscite.
In March, Archbishop André Richard apologized to anyone who was abused by Léger. But he did not mention how the church had already compensated at least one individual for abuse.
Normand Brun, who now lives in Vancouver, said he was abused by Léger.
He said the abuse started when he was nine years old and it went on for four years.
Brun took his complaint to the Catholic Church in 1997 and received financial compensation. He is unable to discuss how much money he received due to legal reasons.
Bathurst diocese defends sex abuse conciliation in ad
Posted: Aug 24, 2012 5:20 PM AT
Last Updated: Aug 24, 2012 6:35 PM AT
The Catholic Diocese of Bathurst has taken out a half-page newspaper ad, defending itself against criticism over a conciliation process offered to 80 sexual abuse victims.
An Ontario lawyer and some of the victims, abused by clerics between the 1950s and 1980s, have argued there wasn’t enough transparency in the process, but in the newspaper statement, the diocese maintains it did everything right.
It hired retired Supreme Court of Canada justice Michel Bastarache a couple of years ago to oversee the process, which included compensation and apologies.
“Eighty out of 86 victims of sexual abuse by Levi Noel, and other clerics of the Bathurst Diocese, participated in the process and accepted awards made, representing a 93 per cent success rate, one of the highest ever achieved in such a process,” the statement, signed by Most Rev. Valery Vienneau, the bishop-administrator of Bathurst states.
“The Ontario lawyer who now publicly criticizes the process and the diocesan effort represented a number of people who successfully participated in that process and who, with his counsel, accepted awards,” Vienneau states.
Some of the victims are in the process of launching a lawsuit.
Nothing to hide
“They suggest that their lawsuit is about seeing that further details come to light, intimating that they believe the diocese is hiding something or has denied its failures in acknowledging mishandling of Noel and others. This is simply incorrect,” states Vienneau.
“When I initiated the reconciliation process, I had learned the extent of Noel’s abusive actions. I publicly acknowledged the failures of my deceased predecessor bishops to recognize and curb his abuse. It led me to extend the process to others known and unknown in an effort to be fair to all victims.”
Levi Noel, who worked on the Acadian Peninsula for 30 years, was sentenced in 2010 to eight years in prison after pleading guilty to 22 sex-related offences.
The victims were boys between the ages of eight and 16 at the time of the abuse, the court heard.
“We’ve done what we could, we do believe, as far as, you know, having a helping hand for the victims, offering them the counselling and compensation with the process that we do have,” the diocese’s vicar general, Father Wesley Wade told CBC News on Friday.
“Our concern was for the victims. We did what we could. And also to respect our diocese financially. So I think that process has helped us tremendously,” he said.
“It’s a very painful experience of course. And most of these cases were many years ago. But we have to take our responsibility — both for the victims to respect them, compensation, financially-speaking, and counselling,” Wade said.
“But also we’ve got a process, a protocol, to avoid these situations in the future as much as we can,” he said.
Similar process in Moncton
The Archdiocese of Moncton also hired Bastarache earlier this summer to oversee a conciliation process for people who were sexually abused by former priest Camille Léger in Cap-Pelé.
Ontario lawyer Robert Talach urged victims to choose litigation over church-sponsored conciliation, arguing confidential payments only allow the diocese to keep the abuse shrouded in secrecy.
Several people in the small, southeastern New Brunswick village came forward earlier this year to talk about being abused by Léger.
The priest died in 1990 and was never convicted of any crimes.
Archbishop André Richard apologized in March to anyone who was abused by Léger.