Priest accused of new sex offence as new complainant comes forward

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Moncton Times & Transcript

22 January 2015

GINABETH ROBERTS Times & Transcript

Rev. Yvon Arsenault

Another person has accused a suspended Roman Catholic priest of sex offences.

Yvon Arsenault, 71, of Aldouane, now faces 17 sex-related charges, as a new charge, from a new complainant, was laid in front of Judge Leslie Jackson in Moncton provincial court Thursday morning. He earlier faced more than 17 charges, but four were withdrawn, also on Thursday.

Arsenault is accused of committing the offences in communities such as Collette, Rosaireville and Shediac from the early 1970s to the mid-1980s. The complainants were young boys at the time of the alleged incidents.

The new charge alleges Arsenault indecently assault the male on or between Jan. 1, 1971 and Dec. 31 1972, at or near Shediac.

Arsenault did not appear in court, but was represented by his defence lawyer Gilles Lemieux, while Annie St. Jacques represented the Crown.

Lemieux told the court he met with his client earlier this week and was ready to make his election and plea on the charges. His client elected to be tried by judge and jury in

Moncton’s Court of Queen’s Bench, and will enter a plea from there.

The defence and Crown were looking to set a date in the Court of Queen’s Bench, possibly on motions day in February, for Arsenault to answer to these charges.

Both the defence and the Crown waived the right to a preliminary inquiry.

The charges against the retired priest date back several decades and the alleged incidents took place in different communities.

Two charges were laid on Jan. 2, 2015, concerning one male, in which Arsenault is accused of indecent assault and gross indecency against a boy in Shediac on Dec. 18, 1971.

Eight charges laid in September 2014 involve four males.

Arsenault is accused of committing indecent assault and gross indecency against a boy in Collette and Rosaireville – south of Miramichi – between Jan. 1, 1976 and Dec. 31, 1978.

He’s accused of committing indecent assault and gross indecency against another boy in those two communities and Shediac between Jan. 1, 1971 and Dec. 31, 1974.

He’s accused of committing indecent assault and gross indecency against another boy in Shediac between Jan. 1, 1972 and Dec. 31, 1972.

He’s accused of committing gross indecency and sexual assault against another boy in Collette between June 1, 1980 and June 31, 1984.

Six charges were laid in August 2014, relating to incidents concerning one male. Arsenault is accused of thrice indecently assaulting and thrice committing an act of gross indecency between Nov. 1, 1973 and Dec. 31, 1974.

Arsenault had been a priest in several different New Brunswick communities, but he was most recently a Moncton-based priest at Saint Augustine’s Church and St. Michael’s Church. He was removed from the ministry July 4, 2012, and retired that same month.

The Archdiocese of Moncton sent out a news release on Jan. 2, 2013, announcing that Arsenault was one of two priests suspended indefinitely from all ministry following allegations of sexual abuse of minors.

Former Supreme Court of Canada justice Michel Bastarache brought the allegations to the attention of the archdiocese.

The allegations were made to him during the archdiocese’s independent reconciliation and compensation process for victims of sexual abuse.

In a news release, the RCMP said they started the investigation in December 2012 as the result of a complaint.

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