Moncton Times & Transcript
26 October 2016
A former priest from Shediac pleaded guilty on Tuesday in Moncton Court of Queen’s Bench to nine charges relating to the sexual abuse of male minors.
Yvon Arsenault pleaded guilty to all nine charges of child molestation he faced, a crime that has since been renamed and redefined but was known as such between 1971 and 1980 when the offences were committed.
Arsenault had faced 19 charges for reported incidents in Shediac and in the Miramichi area, but 10 charges were dropped by the Crown prior to the guilty plea being entered. Of the nine charges to which he pleaded guilty, just two related to actions that took place outside of the Moncton area, in Collette, near Miramichi.
During his time as an active priest, Arsenault served in Moncton, Shediac, Bouctouche, Scoudouc, Dorchester, Baie-Sainte-Anne and several other places. The Moncton Archdiocese suspended him indefinitely in January 2013 when allegations of abuse were raised.
Arsenault, represented by defence lawyer Gilles Lemieux, had been scheduled to stand trial over several weeks, starting this past Monday. Instead, he changed his plea to guilty on Tuesday.
Citing the need to allow the nine victims time to write impact statements, Judge Zoel Dionne set sentencing for Feb. 24. Each of Arsenault’s victims has the right to read their statement during the sentencing.
The Crown, represented by lawyer Annie St.Jacques, agreed to allow Arsenault to return home until February, noting “humanitarian reasons.”
“Mr. Arsenault is taking care of an elderly person with special needs,” St. Jacques said, adding that he would understandably need some time to arrange care options.
The Crown and defence are expected to return to court with a joint submission for Arsenault’s sentence.