A reminder that te Father Yvon Arsenault sentencing hearing is tomorrow morning:
24 February 2017: 09:30 am, sentencing hearing, Moncton Courthouse Moncton NB (45 Assumption Blvd)
Father Arsenault, a priest with the Archdiocese of Moncton New Brunswick, was quietly removed from his parish August 2012. It wasn’t until December 2012 that Catholics learned that there were sex abuse allegations against Arsenault. As many of you know, this one has been difficult to follow. Here is my understanding of what has transpired since Father Arsenual suddenly ceased “ministering” to the flock at Saint Michael Roman Catholic Church, Moncton (Queen of All Saints Parish =- Saints Augustine and Michael in Moncton, and Saint Lawrence OToole in Irishtown, New Brunswick ).
In December 2013, Father Arsenault was charged with three counts of indecent assault and four counts of gross indecency. There were four complainants.
Eventually there were charges laid in the Miramichi area of New Brunwsick and eventually, between Moncton and the Miramichi, there were numerous charges with, I believe, nine complainants. Along the way some charges were withdrawn.
In October 2016 Father Arsenaut entered a GUILTY plea to 9 of 29 charges – the Miramichi charges ended up merged with those of Moncton and became part of whatever deal was struck.
Tomorrow those victims who wish to do so will give their victim impact statements. The Crown and Defence will each argue.propose what sentence each thinks appropriate. There may well be psychiatric reports presented by both sides, and probably a case made by defence to mitigate whatever sentence might be his due because, for example, presumably Arsenault is not considered a threat and because he spared his victims the horror of a trail by pleading guilty and so on. There may be character witnesses for Father Arsenault who will testify in person, and/or letters by former parishioners supportive of the priest.
Whatever happens, the good news here is that all of you victims saw it through. You found the strength first to go to police, and then to persevere. Well done. My thoughts and prayers are with you all.
I encourage those who can do so to attend the hearing tomorrow, both to support the victims and to see and hear what transpires.
As always, please keep the victims in you prayers.
Enough for now,