Desilets: Father Paul Desilets csv

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priest with the order of Viatorian priests (csv).  Ordained 05 January 1963. Taught at Classical College in Cornwall Ontario from at least 1967 until 1968 when the college closed its doors. Assigned to serve in the Archdiocese of Boston, Mass.    Around 1984 returned to Canada.  By at least 1985 it was known that Desilets was a molester, despite this he served at the popular Notre Dames de Lourdes shrine in Rigauld, Quebec – saying Mass, hearing confessions and providing spiritual direction to one and all.  In 2002 was indicted by a Worcetser County grand jury on 27 counts of indecent assault and battery against 18 victims.  Known as “Father hands.” May 2005 GUILTY plea to 32 counts  of sex abuse involving 18 former altar boys – abuse transpired beteeen 1978 and 1984.  Sentenced to  12 to 18 months in state prison. By October 2006 was on probation and allowed to return to Canada.

Died summer 2010, probably August 2010.   I am transferring the information on Desilets over from theinquiry.ca, but, in the event that something is missed,  click here for futher info available on theinquiry.ca website

(Pictures:  Father Desilets csv at the Cornwall Classical College, and Father Desilets October 2006)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ordained: 05 January 1963 (possibly in Springfield, Mass.)

1967-1968: teaching at Classical College in Cornwall, a school operated by the Clerics of St. Viateur (Viatorians) Cornwall  

                              1967 – responsible for the “Jeunesses en Marche”in the Diocese of Alexandria-Cornwall  

1968: the Cornwall Classical College closed its doors. 

around 1969: Father Paul Desilets surfaced in the Boston Archdiocese

1973-1974: listed in directory at Marlborough, Mass.,USA (Archdiocese of Boston)

1974-1984: priest a Our Lady of Assumption, Bellingham, Mass., USA (Archdiocese of Boston)

1980-1984: allegedly sent away for psychological counselling several times.

around 1984: returned to Canada. Served as priest at the popular Notre Dame de Lourdes shrine in Rigaud, Quebec, a small community which neighbours the Diocese of Alexandria-Cornwall. Desilet’s order, the Clerics of St. Viateur (or St. Viator: Viatorians), run the shrine, a school and other facilities in Rigaud. Desilets served as a priest at the shrine for years, hearing confessions, saying Masses and providing spiritual direction.  His superiors, aware of sexual abuse allegations against him, said that it was felt the Shrine would be a good place for Desilets because he would interacting with adults and not around children. Children, however, are known to accompany their parents to the shrine.

1985:  Desilets was known to be a molester, witness the following excerpts of letters attained by CBC’s Laura Lynch for “The Boys of Assumption Parish

 (1)  October 15, 1985 

  To: Reverend Pierre Goulet, Les Clercs de Saint-Viateur de Montreal  

  Dear Father Goulet, 

 …I have been approached by several altar boys who have the same story to  tell. It seems that Father Paul has the habit of “touching” them in an  indecent manner. I bring this to your attention so that you can be aware of  the problem and take whatever steps you feel are required to help Father Paul and prevent this from happening to other young people…     

  In prayer, 

Rev. Richard Matte

(2)   November 11, 1985  

  To: Reverend Richard Matte, Assumption Rectory 

  Dear Father,  

  …It came as a surprise to us since we never heard of any complaint about   Father Paul during the many years he served in your Parish. On the contrary we heard only words of satisfaction. 

  Nevertheless we thank you for informing us in such an important matter. Presently Father Paul is not involved with youngsters, but he deals only with adult people… 

   We pray that all the good Father Paul has done in your Parish of the Assumption will compensate for the few indelicate gestures he might have done…  

  Truly yours in Christ, 

  Reverend Roger Brousseau, 

  Les Clercs de Saint-Viateur de Montreal 

Early 90s:   In the early 1990s the Boston Archdiocese advised the Viatorians in Montreal that claims of abuse had surfaced again.  The Order responded in part:

   January 20, 1993  

  To: Most Reverend Alfred C. Hughes, Archdiocese of Boston    …You inform me that further allegations have arisen…  Will further allegations lead to legal procedures?…    As for Father Desilets, he is still posted in our shrine dedicated to the Virgin Mary and deals only with adults…    …If there are new allegations, we need to have more information so that Father Desilets can explain his point of view, and, if necessary, defend himself, and of course get the legal, pastoral and psychological assistance he would need… 

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12 April 2002: Father Paul Desilets a Canadian Viatorian priest, indicted in the Boston clerical sexual abuse scandal

17 April 2002: Father Paul Desilets, identified as a former teacher at the Cornwall Classical College, a college operated by the Viatorians 

“The Boys of Assumption Parish,” a CBC Radio account of the sexual abuse allegations against Father Desilets wherein Canadian lawyer for Viatorians says Father Paul Desilets is entitled to “the presumption of innocece” and excerpts from mid 80s correspendence advising Viatorians of sexual abuse allegations

Priest who reported altar boys’ sexual abuse allegations against Desilets in 1985 was a molester himself

Father Paul Desilets says two former altar boys’ sexual abuse allegations are exaggerated.

May 2005: “Father Hands” pleads guilty to 32 counts of sexual abuse involving 18 former altar boys 

20 October 2006: Lawyer argues priest is infirm: Probation change sought

Father Paul Desilet’s release and return to Canada imminent - does not want to engage in sex-offender therapy.

21 October 2006: Decision on priest delayed: Exemption from sex offender counseling is sought

24 October 2006: Retired priest who abused boys is allowed to return to Canada: Rev. Desilets, 82, finishes sentence

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The following is the French homily given at Desilet’s funeral on 20 August 2010 by Father Claude Roy csv, Provincial Superior (If anyone can translate to English with an accuracy which exceeds that of google translation it would be greatly appreciated.)

 Homélie de Claude Roy, c.s.v., aux funérailles de Paul Desilets, c.s.v.

Frères et soeurs,

Dans une lettre datée du 10 mars 2004, notre confrère demandait que l’homélie de ses funérailles soit en bonne partie consacrée, je cite, « au coeur de la foi, la résurrection, en laquelle je crois fermement. » Pour communier à la foi de notre confrère, rappelons-nous donc ces paroles extraordinaires de Jésus dans l’évangile : Moi, je suis la résurrection et la vie. Celui qui croit en moi, même s’il meurt, vivra ; et tout homme qui vit et qui croit en moi ne mourra jamais. Crois-tu cela ?

Paul Desilets a parié sa vie, toute sa vie, sur la foi en Jésus ressuscité. Il a cru tout que la résurrection n’est pas d’abord liée à un avenir lointain, car dès aujourd’hui celui qui croit passe de la mort à la vie, et qui plus est, à une vie qui n’a pas de fin. Car la vie éternelle, n’est-ce pas, c’est de connaitre dès maintenant Dieu Père et son Fils Jésus Christ. La mort, quant à elle, n’est plus une véritable mort, grâce à Jésus, crucifié et ressuscité. Par Jésus, le péché et la mort sont vaincus.

Notre confrère Paul a cru fermement qu’en Dieu l’amour a remporté la victoire. Sans doute, au moment où il a rendu le dernier soupir, il a pu vivre une rencontre éblouissante avec son Dieu et découvrir la formidable tendresse qui habite le coeur divin.

Le P. Desilets aimait beaucoup une méditation sur la mort du jésuite Auguste Valensin. Je vous en cite un extrait : Les sentiments que je voudrais avoir à ma mort : penser que je vais découvrir la tendresse. Il est impossible que Dieu me déçoive. J’irai à Lui, et je lui dirai : je ne me prévaux de rien, sinon d’avoir cru en votre bonté. C’est bien là, en effet, ma force, toute ma force, ma seule force.

Aujourd’hui, notre confrère a découvert un Dieu Père, à l’indulgence et à l’amour infinis qui dépassent l’entendement humain. Saint Jean, dans sa première lettre, écrit ces phrases inoubliables : Mes enfants, nous devons aimer, non pas avec des paroles et des discours, mais par des actes et en vérité. En agissant ainsi, nous reconnaîtrons que nous appartenons à la vérité, et devant Dieu nous aurons le coeur en paix ; Notre coeur aurait beau nous accuser, Dieu est plus grand que notre coeur, et il connaît toutes choses.

Dieu a pu discerner, dans la vie et l’être de Paul, ce qui appartient à l’ordre de l’amour. La miséricorde de Dieu pose sur la personne humaine un regard plus large que n’importe quelle condamnation venant du coeur de l’Homme. Elle sait que l’être humain est plus grand que son péché. Maintenant Paul est saisi par l’infinie connaissance de Dieu, qui l’emporte sur tout. Car la gloire de Dieu c’est de faire miséricorde.

Cher confrères, la vie et la mort de Paul Desilets nous renvoient au mystère de l’Amour miséricordieux. À l’instar de notre confrère, puissions-nous entrer chaque jour dans ce mystère qui renouvelle notre être. Nous rejoindrons ainsi le coeur de la foi, si cher à notre frère Paul, Jésus mort et ressuscité. En partageant le Corps et le Sang du Christ, exprimons notre confiance en Dieu. Il saura nous ancrer dans la foi en son amour et dans l’espérance de sa venue.

Claude Roy, c.s.v.

Supérieur provincial

30 août 2010

  Rev. Richard O. Matte

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