Yvon Arsenault pleaded guilty in October to offences involving minors in Shediac area dating back to the 1970s
Posted: Feb 24, 2017 10:40 AM ATLast Updated: Feb 24, 2017 12:07 PM AT
Former priest Yvon Arsenault will be sentenced this afternoon after changing his plea to guilty in October on nine counts of molestation involving minors, dating back to the 1970s.
The Moncton courtroom heard emotional statements from some of his victims during the morning.
“I can’t change the past, but I want to tell the victims and their families I profoundly regret all the pain I could have caused,” Arsenault said from the prisoner’s box.
The Crown and defence made a joint recommendation for a four-year prison sentence.
Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Zoël Dionne ordered a recess and will impose sentence at 2 p.m.
Arsenault, 74, has remained free for “humanitarian reasons,” pending sentencing, Crown prosecutor Annie St. Jacques has said.
Eleven other counts against Arsenault were withdrawn following his guilty plea.
Arsenault, who was sporting a green dress shirt and grey dress pants, appeared to be in good spirits during the sentencing hearing.
“I can’t change the past but I want to tell victims and their families I profoundly regret all the pain I could have caused.”
“Before I give the sentence you have the change to say what you want to the court,” says judge.
Says court sees no use, in 2017, in imposing conditions like staying away from schools, parks, people under 16
“We’re talking about incidents of a historic nature, which, according to all appearances, did not happen in a recent period,” says judge.
Judge says imp. for victims to know if feel their case worse than other, they shouldn’t feel like it’s less so just b/c concurrent sentence
Justice Dionne asks how lawyers see sentence running. Crown’s Annie St Jacques says 4 year global sentence, served concurrently
“There are no magical solutions Mr. judge. But you can take into consideration the last 30 years of his life, where there are no accusations
“If you talk to him about this today, it’s painful for him,” says lawyer, as people in court start mumbling in apparent disapproval.
Says Arsenault consulted several psychologists and psychiatrists to deal with this over the years.
After the 70s he made sure such incidents were never repeated, Lemieux tells court of Arsenault.
“He did everything to give back to society. If he could go back in time to correct what he did he would.”
He pleaded guilty and avoided having to go through lengthy court proceedings he says
He says priest reoriented his practice after sex crimes, so that he no longer worked with youths, in order to try to make things right
Lemieux tells judge being a priest back then big responsibility, not an easy job, treated like Gods on earth.