“EXCLUSIVE – An alleged victim of former priest Yvon Arsenault lodges complaint to the police” & “‘They tried to make me believe that this was normal'” (with original French text)

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 [This is an unofficial translation of the French articles which appeared online 01 February and in the print edition of Acadie Nouvelle 02 February 2013.  Scroll down for the original French text

Acadie Nouvelle (New Brunswick)

01 February 2013

Mathieu Roy-Comeau


Friday, February 1, 2013

1er février 2012. Contribution. Jean-Louis Pitre.

DIEPPE – The alleged victim of a priest suspended from duty in July in the Archdiocese of Moncton lodged a complaint to the RCMP.

Archbishop Valéry Vienneau caused a shock wave among the parishioners during the last weekend in December by announcing that he had withdrawn priests Yvon Arsenault and Irois Després from any department suspected of sexual assault.

One of the alleged victims of Yvon Arsenault told L’Acadie Nouvelle he recently complained to the RCMP for sexual abuse to which he would have been subjected during his adolescence.

Jean-Louis Pitre, 49 years old, lives in the Ottawa region, in Ontario. He grew up in the community of Collette, a few kilometers north of the village of Rogersville.

Yvon Arsenault was the parish priest of Our Lady of Fatima, Collette, from 1976 to 1982. It is during this time that Mr. Pitre says the assaults began. The actions of the priest would have continued until 1984 while Jean-Louis Pitre was a student at the Université de Moncton. Yvon Arsenault officiated in the parish of Notre-Dame-de-Grâce de Moncton from 1983 to 1989. He would be 70 years old today.

After remaining silent for nearly 25 years, Jean-Louis Pitre decided last September to confide in the lawyer and former judge of the Supreme Court, Michel Bastarache, in the wake of a similar case involving the deceased father Camille Leger from Cap-Pelé.

In June, Mr. Bastarache was commissioned by the Archdiocese of Moncton to lead a reconciliation process with the victims of Father Camille Léger. The Church has recently expanded the process of reconciliation and restitution to alleged victims of Irois Després and Yvon Arsenault.

Despite the emotional difficulties he had to overcome, Jean-Louis Pitre does not regret having agreed to participate in the conciliation conducted by Michel Bastarache.

“I am very satisfied with the way I was welcomed and respected by Mr. Bastarache and his team. I was treated with the utmost respect. Until the end, I had the right to refuse the (monetary) offer that was made. I had the right to consult my lawyer before accepting this offer. I was never forced,” says Mr. Pitre.

Participants in the conciliation are not allowed to disclose the amounts received from the Archdiocese of Moncton. Michel Bastarache has already stated that the compensation could vary between $ 15,000 and $ 300,000.

By accepting money from the Catholic Church, the alleged victims also agree not to pursue further action against the Archdiocese of Moncton for civil damages.

Nothing in the conciliation process, however, prevents these people to complain to the police so that their alleged abuser may undergo a criminal trial. This is what Jean-Louis Pitre chose to do “to see justice for what happened to me.”

“Even when I found out how much Mr. Bastarache offered, I did not really feel that sense of closure.”

“The agressors were never asked any questions,” he says.

Upon verification, no charges had been laid in Provincial Court against Yvon Arsenault as of 1 February. The spokesman for the RCMP was not able to tell the newspaper whether an investigation has been launched or not.

“We never share this information while no charge are laid, so as to do no harm to our investigations when there are ultimate charges,” said Cpl. Chantal Farrah.

Mr. Pitre knows no charges have yet been laid.

“I know that nothing has been proven before the court, it is clear. All I know, for me, is my own story,” he insists.

Jean-Louis Pitre was assured that the Archdiocese of Moncton would be cooperating with the police if there were an investigation and charges.


“They tried to make me believe that this was normal”

Mathieu Roy-Comeau


Friday, February 1, 2013

DIEPPE – Jean-Louis Pitre said he was sexually abused at the hands of priest Yvon Arsenault for half a dozen years as a teenager in the community of Collette, and during his first years at secondary Moncton.

Events that mark the life of those who are victims.”When it happens, one doesn’t realize on the spot how serious it is. At the time, I did not realize the impact it would have on me,” says the 49-year-old man.

“They tried to make me believe that it was “normal” or it was not that bad. In the 1970s and 1980s, we accorded lots of power to the priests and the Church. I was in a situation where I was trying to normalize what was happening,” recalls the alleged victim.

As an adult, the assaults he experienced as a youth continued to haunt Jean-Louis Pitre. They made him reject the Church and priests.

“I started to become very anxious whenever I entered the church, even if I tried to forget what happened, to hide away in a corner of my brain.”

During his life, he developed an anxiety disorder and suffers from depression.

On hearing about the victims of Father Camille Leger from Cap-Pelé and seeing suspicions grow about Irois Després and Yvon Arsenault, he decided to talk.

The Archbishop of Moncton, Valéry Vienneau, withdrew these two priests from all ministerial duties in July.

Mr. Pitre first confided to Michel Bastarache, the lawyer appointed by the Archdioces of Moncton to hold a reconciliation and restitution process.

“Going through this process, I was able to reflect on what happened. I was also able to get professional aid to help me through it without shame. I accepted that I needed help, “says he.

“It helped me deal with my experiences and accept that it was not my fault. It was not the fault of the young boy that I was. ”

Jean-Louis Pitre has also been in contact with other alleged victims of priests in Southeast NB.

“It doas a lot of good. I talked to people who have also suffered, more or less by themselves – people outside my parish. I was able to understand that what happened was not only in Collette (near Rogersville),”says Mr. Pitre.

“I saw that there were many others. Someone told me that the people come forward are just the tip of the iceberg.”


Jean Louis Acadie Nouvelle cover 2013-02-02

EXCLUSIF – Une présumée victime de l’ancien curé Yvon Arsenault porte plainte à la police

Acadie Nouvelle (New Brunswick)

Écrit par : Mathieu Roy-Comeaumathieu.roy-comeau@acadienouvelle.comle vendredi, 1 février, 2013

EXCLUSIF – Une présumée victime de l’ancien curé Yvon Arsenault porte plainte à la police

Écrit par : Mathieu Roy-Comeaumathieu.roy-comeau@acadienouvelle.comle vendredi, 1 février, 2013

DIEPPE – La présumée victime d’un prêtre suspendu de ses fonctions en juillet par l’archidiocèse de Moncton porte plainte à la GRC.

L’archevêque Mgr Valéry Vienneau a provoqué une onde de choc parmi les paroissiens lors du dernier week-end de décembre en annonçant qu’il avait retiré de tout ministère les curés Yvon Arsenault et Irois Després, soupçonnés d’agressions sexuelles.

Une des présumées victimes d’Yvon Arsenault a confié à l’Acadie Nouvelle qu’elle a récemment porté plainte à la GRC pour les sévices sexuels que l’ecclésiastique lui aurait fait subir durant son adolescence.

Jean-Louis Pitre, âgé de 49 ans, vit dans la région d’Ottawa, en Ontario. Il a grandi dans la communauté de Collette, située à quelques kilomètres au nord du village de Rogersville.

Yvon Arsenault a été le curé de la paroisse Notre-Dame-de-Fatima, de Collette, de 1976 à 1982. C’est à ce moment qu’auraient commencé les agressions dont M. Pitre affirme avoir été victime. Les agissements du curé se seraient poursuivis jusqu’en 1984 alors que Jean-Louis Pitre étudiait à l’Université de Moncton. Yvon Arsenault a officié dans la paroisse Notre-Dame-de-Grâce de Moncton de 1983 à 1989. Il serait âgé de 70 ans aujourd’hui.

Après être demeuré silencieux durant près de 25 ans, Jean-Louis Pitre a décidé en septembre dernier de se confier à l’avocat et ancien juge de la Cour suprême, Michel Bastarache, dans le sillage d’une affaire semblable impliquant le défunt père Camille Léger de Cap-Pelé.

En juin, Me Bastarache a été chargé par l’archidiocèse de Moncton de mener un processus de conciliation auprès des victimes du père Camille Léger. L’Église a récemment élargi le processus de conciliation et de dédommagement aux présumées victimes d’Irois Després et d’Yvon Arsenault.

Malgré les difficultés émotionnelles qu’il a dû surmonter, Jean-Louis Pitre ne regrette pas d’avoir accepté de participer à la conciliation menée par Michel Bastarache.

«Je suis très satisfait de la façon dont j’ai été accueilli et respecté par M. Bastarache et son équipe. J’ai été traité avec le plus grand respect. Jusqu’à la fin, j’avais le droit de refuser l’offre (monétaire) que l’on m’a faite. J’avais le droit de consulter mon avocat avant d’accepter cette offre. Je n’ai jamais été forcé», raconte M. Pitre.

Les participants à la conciliation ne sont pas autorisés à dévoiler les montants reçus de la part de l’archidiocèse de Moncton. Michel Bastarache a déjà affirmé que ces dédommagements pouvaient varier entre 15 000 $ et 300 000 $.

En acceptant l’argent de l’Église catholique, les présumées victimes renoncent également à poursuivre l’archidiocèse de Moncton au civil pour obtenir des dommages et intérêts.

Rien dans le processus de conciliation n’empêche toutefois ces gens de porter plainte aux autorités policières afin que leur présumé agresseur subisse un procès criminel. C’est ce qu’a choisi de faire Jean-Louis Pitre «pour que justice soit rendue pour ce qui m’est arrivé».

«Même lorsque j’ai su ce que m’offrait M. Bastarache, je n’avais pas vraiment le sentiment que l’affaire était close.»

«Il n’y a pas de questions qui ont été posées aux agresseurs», souligne-t-il.

Après vérification, aucune accusation n’avait été portée en Cour provinciale contre Yvon Arsenault en date du 1er février. La porte-parole de la GRC n’était pas en mesure d’indiquer au journal si une enquête a été ouverte ou non.

«Nous ne communiquons jamais cette information tant qu’il n’y a pas eu d’accusation pour ne pas nuire à nos enquêtes lorsqu’il y en a», a déclaré la caporale Chantal Farrah.

M. Pitre sait bien qu’aucune accusation n’a encore été portée.

«Je sais qu’il n’y a rien de prouvé devant la cour, c’est clair. Tout ce que je sais, moi, c’est mon histoire», insiste-t-il.

On a assuré à Jean-Louis Pitre que l’archidiocèse de Moncton allait collaborer avec les policiers s’il devait y avoir une enquête et des accusations.

6 Responses to “EXCLUSIVE – An alleged victim of former priest Yvon Arsenault lodges complaint to the police” & “‘They tried to make me believe that this was normal'” (with original French text)

    • jj says:

      Thanks PJ… I really didn’t mean to become anyone’s hero… My ultimate goal was to prove to myself that the “alleged offender”, the Church, and anyone else, were now powerless over me… that silence and even anonymity would not be used against me, but as a weapon against abuse and cover-ups… and that, hopefully, those who lived in silence alone would (hopefully) find their way to talk about their experiences, share with their families and/or friends, professional help, authorities, law enforcement – anyone who can empower them, and find solace and freedom from the darkness.

      This is why I went public. And, of course, this story is evolving… there will be more to come…


  1. PJ says:

    Regardless, you had the courage to step forward and lay charges! I admire that. Hopefully others will follow your lead to convict this pervert collar and even those who helped cover it up.

  2. JG says:

    “THREE” thumbs-up for you! You already know my thoughts on your courage and determination so I’ll just salute you and wish you the best and a quick “success” with the latest battle. Regardless of the outcome, if you help only one “unknown” person with all your efforts you will have done much to be proud of.
    I know you have done much more already.
    Three thumbs-up and three cheers!

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