Moncton priest faces new sexual abuse allegations

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Posted: Jul 15, 2013 2:57 PM AT

Last Updated: Jul 15, 2013 3:13 PM AT

Father Yvon Arsenault said in a court document that he will defend himself against allegations that he sexually abused people in his parish.

Father Yvon Arsenault said in a court document that he will defend himself against allegations that he sexually abused people in his parish. (CBC)

A New Brunswick priest is facing new allegations of sexual abuse dating back almost 40 years, according to court documents.

A 54-year-old man from Grand Barachois alleges that he was sexually abused by Father Yvon Arsenault almost 40 years ago.

The man’s lawsuit also names the Archdiocese of Moncton and three former Moncton archbishops.

He said the archdiocese took no steps to stop the abuse. Instead, he said the church worked to cover-up the behaviour.

The plaintiff also alleges the archbishops involved knew about other allegations of sexual assault involving Arsenault.

He said the reputation of the diocese was more important to them than the safety of children.

The allegations are contained in court documents. None of the allegations have been proven in court.

Arsenault has filed a statement of defence saying he will fight the allegations in court.

The Diocese of Moncton has been forced to deal with a series of sexual abuse controversies in the past year.

The archdiocese informed parishioners during mass in January that Arsenault, who was removed in July 2012, and Father Irois Després, who retired in 1992, have been removed “from any ministry whatsoever following allegations of serious sexual abuse on minors.”

Retired Supreme Court of Canada justice Michel Bastarache — who was hired by the archdiocese in June 2012 to handle a compensation process for the victims of another priest in Cap-Pelé — brought the latest allegations to the archdiocese’s attention, according to a Dec. 30 statement posted on its website.

Bastarache was hired to help deal with the additional sex abuse compensation process. It is estimated the diocese will pay out $5 million to victims of sexual abuse.

As of May, 80 people had been compensated.

In May, the diocese announced it was cutting the number of staff to 14 from 19.

As well, the diocese’s office in Dieppe, which was once the home of the bishop, is being sold because it can no longer afford to pay the annual $50,000 in operating costs.

5 Responses to Moncton priest faces new sexual abuse allegations

  1. Concerned says:

    Is it really happening that the diocese will pay out the bill for the crap they did?! In my opinion it’s not suppose to be right. Parishioners give money to church not to pay for these alleged crap. It’s just look like fooling the parishioners! People go to church to worship and give offering to God to propagate more about His words. So the offering should just not to be use to cover up the faults of some priest. If the alleged were not really guilty, they could even refuse the bill out for them. Face it with faith and by trusting God to justify them. But in this case they’re just simply saying that they’re guilty and needs to bill out tons of money to cover up their faults. And it simply not right. It’s more of a turned off to people. There are much more important and valuable things supposedly the bishop can do with the money he would send out for them. Some churches needs restoration and some are about to shout down because there’s not enough money to stabilize it. But here it comes to these situation that church or simply the bishop would support it. Lots of young people that probably would go and take priesthood if a good support would come up to them. Why not the church give support to them and give them some good screening and training for becoming a noble priest. They need money, yes. And Bishop or church could give support to this. Also lots of people are in poverty. May be some part of that $5 million could go to them too. Well we forgive them for wht they did. But we just have to be reasonable enough how to deal with it. Thank you and God bless.

    • Jean-Louis says:

      It’s nice that you “forgive them for what they did”, Concerned.

      Were you sexually molested by one of your priests? Was your trust in priests and the church altered at a young age because someone who was SUPPOSED to guide you, care for you, and represent God in your life, ended up betraying you by putting his hands on your most private areas???

      If not… then it might not be quite so easy to “forgive”… And your view on “reasonable” may be quite different than mine.

      Loooooong process has to happen before any sort of forgiving happens.

      And, you’re right to refer to what “they did” as “crap”… yes, it’s pretty nasty stuff… some worse than others.

      Hopefully, either civil or criminal court (or both!) will bring light instead of helping to “cover up the faults of some priest”, as you mentioned.


  2. Concerned says:

    By doing this, what is the future of the church? Even the parishioners or the believers? They’re covering faults. Where is justice? Aren’t church supposedly have to propagate the truth? As church we should not tolerate or cover these things up. Let justice prevail and let everybody learn from it. And the person involve will learn, repent, forgive and move on with Gods mercy.

  3. JG says:

    “Concerned” seems a little more concerned about the “money” and the “institution” than he is about the victim… I could be wrong but I believe I have heard the same arguments on another site, on “Facebook”…I think “Concerned” is really torn between the reality of the abuse and his need to be a part of the church…The deal breaker is the “money” which may cripple the church “operations”…
    What I hear in his arguments is him telling the victims to “get over it”!…Let things be, forgive and forget.
    “Concerned” is really “confused”…as we understandably all are in the face of the church response…


  4. MikeMc says:

    Concerned says: Why not the church give support to them and give them some good screening and training for becoming a noble priest.

    Seems to me that screening and good training… didn’t ….and won’t even today…. help matters in the Church. The Church itself has to come clean and admit ….from the Pope on down….that it is out of touch AND has major problems.

    The priesthood has proven itself sad, wounded and often demented. Just knowing there are still young men going into the priesthood today?…that scares me. I look at our Anglican priests here in Nfld who are family men and women…..Now that makes sense if one wishes to dedicate himself/herself to a priestly role within the church as shepherd.

    The average age of Catholic priests here is 60+ (I believe) . They are not long for this Church.

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