Published Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012 5:27PM EST
Last Updated Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012 6:53PM EST
MONTREAL—With over 200 former students claiming they were abused by priests, the fight against the Congregation of Holy Cross has been ongoing for years. Early in the New Year, two priests will be arrested and charged.
On Saturday, the Montreal police confirmed that a warrant had been issued to arrest Olivain Leblanc, 70, and Georges Sarrazin, 91. The two priests face allegations that they sexually assaulted students at College Notre-Dame between 1966 and 1980.
Leblanc and Sarrazin could face charges of gross indecency, indecent behaviour and sodomy—crimes in the Criminal Code at the time they were committed.
With the warrant issued on Dec. 6, Montreal police worked with the men’s lawyers to organize their arrest.
“These two men have serious health issues. So we had to adapt to the situation in this case,” said Montreal police spokeswoman Anie Lemieux.
The arrest will be decades too late for some. Sebastien Richard says he can’t escape the horror he lived as a child.
“When you’re a victim of sexual aggression in your childhood you lose your dignity as a person,” said Richard.
Wilson Kennedy is a former brother who blew the whistle. He has letters from the congregation’s lawyer that outlines some instances of abuse. According to Kennedy, the letter’s alleged that Leblanc abused one victim from the age of 12.
“Olivain would take him to his room and give him drinks, a 12-year-old, drinks. He would then have sex with him, sexually abuse him,” said Kennedy, who believes the arrests are just the tip of the iceberg.
The former brother believes that there are more cases that are unreported. The alleged victims had little sympathy.
“If we as victims have to face the reality of what we’ve been through, why would it be different for them? Because they’re old?” asked Richard.
Despite the arrests, Richard said he is worried that the men won’t cooperate in court.
“My aggressor chose, under oath, to lie repeatedly and always denied what he did to me. So I just hope that this time the courts will find them guilty as they are,” said Ricahrd.
In October 2011, the congregation agreed to an $18 million settlement and made an apology.
—With files from The Canadian Press.