May 16, 2016 03:23 PM
QUEBEC – A former Redemptorist priest was given a four-year prison term Monday for sexually abusing young boys 40 years ago.
Jean-Claude Bergeron, 76, was found guilty last December on various sex-related charges involving seven students at the Saint-Alphonse seminary in Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupre, near Quebec City.
The abuse occurred between 1976 and 1980 and the boys were about 12 years old.
The Crown was seeking a prison term of between 42 months and four years, while the defence wanted a sentence to be served in the community.
Crown prosecutor Carmen Rioux said she was satisfied with the sentence and that she hopes it will help victims to move on.
Rioux said Quebec court Judge Jean-Pierre Dumais noted that Bergeron expressed regret, albeit belatedly, had no criminal record before the abuse began and has had no legal problems since it ended.
But, on the other hand, Dumais highlighted the age of the victims and that Bergeron was in a position of authority.
Rioux also said the judge specifically mentioned the number of victims, the extended period of abuse and the fact some of the boys were marked for life by the assaults.
“He said the most aggravating factor was the abuse of authority,” Rioux said in an interview.
One of the victims, Stephane Trottier, told Cogeco Nouvelles the six-year legal saga was worth going through.
“Because today, he went in the front door and went out the back door, as he should have,” said Trottier. “I felt a great sense of relief.”