Man in his 30s says he was sexually abused by Montreal Catholic priest
A second witness has testified he was sexually abused beginning when he was 11 by Montreal Catholic priest Brian Boucher.
The allegations date back to the mid-1990s, a decade before the complainant in this trial alleges he was similarly abused by Boucher.
The witness, now in his 30s, said he came to know Boucher when he was an altar boy at St. John Brébeuf Parish in Montreal’s Lasalle borough.
He testified Boucher was the junior of two priests at the parish at that time and had become a friend of his family.
The witness said he had an absent father, and his grandfather thought Boucher would be a positive influence on his grandson.
“I was sexually abused,” the witness testified. “He started small. I see now he was grooming me.”
The witness testified the abuse started when he was 11.
He said Boucher would often drive him home from church and that he would sometimes spend time in the rectory, where he would do his homework on Boucher’s computer.
He said they would sometimes come across banner ads on websites for pornography, and Boucher would question him about whether he liked such images.
“It seemed like he was saying, ‘It’s OK to experience this around me,'” the witness testified.
He said during rides home, Boucher would always put his hand on his lap, over time moving it closer to his genitals.
He testified that eventually during these rides home, Boucher would say that he was tired and needed to check into a motel to have a nap.
He said Boucher would take a shower and then ask him to take a shower. The witness said when he came out of the shower, Boucher would often be watching pornography on the television.
He said Boucher would try to touch his genitals and force him to give and receive oral sex. He said Boucher would also lie naked on top of him, straddle him and rub his genitals against his pubic region.
Confession after alleged abuse
The witness testified this happened almost weekly over a period of two years, until he was 13.
He said he sometimes tried to resist or say no, but sometimes he just gave in.
“I felt like the sooner this was over with, the sooner I can go home. I blocked it out. I don’t know where I am, and this guy is my ride home,” he testified.
He said after these incidents, Boucher would often say to him, “We shouldn’t have done that. We have to go confess.”
He said Boucher would then drive him to different churches, and they would each go into the confessional. He said he doesn’t know what Boucher said in confession, but he never said anything himself.
He said after what happened with Boucher, he no longer trusted any priest.
The witness testified the abuse stopped when he was 13. He said he grew more confident after getting his first girlfriend, becoming “brave enough and strong enough” to stay away from Boucher.
He testified he never told his family about the abuse at the time, hoping to spare them any bad feelings.
“I was ashamed,” he told the court. “How the hell was I supposed to let that pain hit my family?”
He testified he told his sister about the abuse when he was in his 20s.
He said he went to police after Bishop Thomas Dowd, the Archdiocese of Montreal’s auxiliary bishop, got in touch with his sister a couple of years ago to ask if anything had ever happened with Boucher.
He said Dowd encouraged him to file a police complaint, going with him to the police station when made his statement.
Alleged abuse still haunts witness
He said he still feels the effects of the alleged abuse to this day.
“It’s the little things that still affect me today. Even if someone I care for puts their hand on my leg, it still affects me,” he said.
He choked up when he testified of finally telling his mother about the alleged abuse.
“At my age, I told my mom. Seeing her break down … it was devastating,” he said.
“I’ve come so far. I had to do this because there’s other people,” he testified. “I’m sure I’m not the only one.”
He added he had no direct knowledge of any other allegations against Boucher.
Boucher facing other allegations in separate trial
Tuesday’s witness is not a complainant in this case, and his testimony could be ruled inadmissible.
Crown prosecutor Annabelle Sheppard told reporters outside the courtroom this witness is one of two complainants in a separate case against Boucher. That trial is set for January.
The witness was called as a “similar-fact witness,” to try to establish a pattern of behaviour by Boucher.
In court, Sheppard told the judge that she wanted to introduce a similar-fact witness, based on statements in affidavits from Boucher about how he intends to defend himself in the case.
She said Boucher alleges the complainant who testified Monday fabricated the sexual assault allegations, allegedly as revenge because Boucher had told his mother about a sexual relationship he had with a girl at the time of the allegations.
Boucher is expected to testify in his own defence later this week.
Sheppard said the testimony of the similar-fact witness was necessary to bolster the alleged victim’s credibility.
Quebec court Judge Patricia Compagnone said she would hear arguments Wednesday about the admissibility of today’s testimony, and make a ruling on that Thursday.
Man testifies Montreal priest took him to confession after sexual abuse
Brian Boucher, 57, has been stripped of his parish responsibilities while he faces multiple counts of sexual assault brought by three victims.
Updated: November 20, 2018
A man in his 30s testified Tuesday that Father Brian Boucher, a Catholic priest who has worked at a number of different churches in the Montreal region over 30 years, sexually assaulted him on a regular basis over a three-year period beginning when he was just 10 years old.
Boucher, 57, faces multiple counts of sexual assault brought by three victims who were minors at the time of the alleged assaults, which span almost two decades. Boucher is free on bail but was relieved of church duties in 2015. He has worked in churches in Montreal, LaSalle, Dorval, Town of Mount Royal and Senneville and served as chaplain at McGill University.
On Monday, a man in his 20s testified that Boucher began abusing him when he was 12 and Boucher was a parish priest at Our Lady of the Annunciation Church in Town of Mount Royal. He said the abuse began when he confided in Boucher that he had danced with a girl at a party and had lustful thoughts. He said the priest punished him by ordering him to undress and submit to sexual touching in the rectory of the church. The man alleges the abuse continued for three years, was frequent and escalated to anal penetration.
Brian Boucher SPVM
The two other victims are scheduled to testify in January about their own sexual assault complaints against Boucher. Crown prosecutor Annabelle Sheppard called upon one of those victims to provide what she called “similar-fact evidence” in a voir dire hearing on Tuesday.
The man told the court Boucher had abused him for three years in the mid-1990s, when Boucher was a priest at St-John-Brébeuf Church in LaSalle.
The witness said his family members had asked Boucher to take the boy, whose father was in prison, under his wing, and the priest became a mentor.
“Everybody thought it was good for me to be going to church, to be an altar boy, and to have someone to help guide me through life,” the man testified.
But the inappropriate touching began in the priest’s car, the man said.
“He would pick me up at LaSalle Catholic School, which was a block and a half from the church. He would drive me back to my house and he would have his hand on my thigh or on my belt buckle. He would always try to grab my crotch.”
The abuse escalated quickly and the man said the priest began taking him to motels. The priest would take a shower and ask the boy to take a shower. He alleged the priest would put porn on the television, and ask him questions related to sexuality. Sometimes in the motel, the priest would lecture him on temptation, and on how important it was to be married before having sex, the man testified.
He said the priest would touch his genitals, request that he reciprocate, and would sometimes lubricate himself and rub his genitals against the boy’s pubic area. He said the priest did not have anal sex with him.
The abuse occurred, in some form, every time he was with Boucher, the man testified, which he estimated was about twice a week over that three-year period. The priest would sometimes take the boy to confession after these sessions.
“We would be driving to confession after doing something terrible, he would have his hand on my lap. I was supposed to confess to something that was still going on, right now. And right after confession, I knew the exact same thing would be going on again,” he said, adding he did not confess to the sexual activities.
“As if I’m going to confess to this sh–. The last person I am going to trust is a priest at this point,” he said.
He testified he was too ashamed to tell anyone about the abuse until he was in his early 20s, when he told his sister.
“I told my mom for the first time just recently and seeing her break down is shattering for me now,” he said, his voice breaking with emotion.
He made a police report in 2016 after Bishop Thomas Dowd, auxiliary bishop of Montreal, contacted his sister and told her Brian Boucher was being investigated. It was Dowd who encouraged the man to report the alleged assault to the police, he said.
The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Montreal has said publicly that it collaborated with police in the investigation, which began in the summer of 2015. Boucher was arrested in January of 2017 and charged with sexual assault, sexual touching, sexual interference and breaking and entering.
Sheppard said the evidence presented Tuesday demonstrates a pattern in Boucher’s behaviour. She wants the judge to consider this evidence in part to counter an expected defence argument that the first victim fabricated the evidence.
Criminal Court Judge Patricia Campagnone will hear arguments on Wednesday as to whether the voir-dire evidence is admissible.