“Quebec Catholic dioceses tap ex-judge to investigate alleged cases of sexual abuse” with audio clip

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Anne-Marie Trahan will comb through the records from 5 dioceses, including Montreal

Christian Lépine, archbishop of Montreal, asked retired Superior Court justice Anne-Marie Trahan to conduct the audit to determine the number and nature of cases of alleged sexual abuse in five Catholic dioceses in Quebec. (Charles Contant/CBC)

A retired judge will examine 70 years of archives to determine the number and nature of cases of alleged sexual abuse committed against minors in five Catholic dioceses in Quebec, including Montreal.

The goal is to collect statistics on the number of allegations that involve both clergy members and staff at the Joliette, Montreal, Saint-Jean-Longueuil, Saint-Jérôme and Valleyfield dioceses, according to a news release issued by the Archdiocese of Montreal.

Archbishop Christian Lépine said Wednesday that he hopes the process will help restore trust in the church.

“It doesn’t answer all the questions, but it’s to take measure of the situation — how many victims, how many priests were involved,” Lépine said. “Then each diocese will see how to move ahead.”

Starting in September, former Superior Court justice Anne-Marie Trahan will comb through archives from the 1950s onward.

Lépine asked Trahan to conduct the audit, and was inspired by similar initiatives elsewhere in the world, according to the release.

The archdiocese says Trahan will be given all the necessary means to carry out a thorough investigation.

In a statement today, the Archdiocese of Quebec said it will also conduct an audit of its archives. The Quebec archdiocese includes the dioceses of Chicoutimi, Sainte-Anne-de-la-Pocatière and Trois-Rivières.

The statement said the details of the audit are still to be determined.

Auxiliary bishop Thomas Dowd says if the archdiocese is going to start fresh, it has to examine its past. (Charles Contant/CBC)

Thomas Dowd, one of the Montreal archdiocese’s auxiliary bishops, was involved in the planning of the review.

He said the process is about bringing to light cases that may have been kept secret in order to ensure justice is served and to “learn from it so that frankly, we know what to do, and do better, in future cases.”

“We want to be able to react accurately if any new complaints come forward, but it’s also important to clean out that closet. So if we’re going to start fresh, we’ve got to take a look at our past,” he told CBC Montreal’s Daybreak.

Dowd said the case of Brian Boucher, a Montreal priest sentenced to eight years in prison for sexual assaulton Monday, compounded Lépine’s desire to get to the truth.

The audit is expected to last between 18 and 24 months. The final report will be made public.

The Archdiocese of Montreal is launching a major review… on the topic of abusive priests. The external review will look back at the records of all priests who served between 1950 and 2019 in the Montreal area, looking for allegations of sexual abuse against minors. Former Judge Anne-Marie Trahan will be heading the audit. We speak to Thomas Dowd — he is a Roman Catholic Bishop — and an Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Montreal. 8:42

8 Responses to “Quebec Catholic dioceses tap ex-judge to investigate alleged cases of sexual abuse” with audio clip

  1. Sylvia says:

    I hope and pray this is as good as it sounds. If the findings of the investigation – names of the credibly accused and convicted and all – are made public, then it is truly a step in the right direction.

    • bc says:

      Anne-Marie Trahan is a board member of the Dominican Order’s Fondation du Collège universitaire dominicain. Her job is to fundraise for the Dominicans. Although there is no conflict of interest in her auditing diocesan entities, in Canada the mere appearance of a conflict of interest is legally speaking in Canada a conflict of interest proper. And so it is what Mme. Trahan won’t be finding that matters. She was retained because she won’t find cases of clerical abuse and their cover-up in Québec religious orders. She won’t find any cases involving the Dominican order; no cases involving any religious order in fact; because her clients don’t have jurisdiction over religious orders who were involved in most cases of clerical abuse in Québec since France’s Expulsion des Congrégations of 1903. But for France’s prohibition of most schools run by religious orders, the Oblates would have never relocated to educate native children in the Arctic; there would not have been a Mount Cashel, no Collège Notre-Dame scandal. After Mme. Trahan`s report will be released, the plan is to set-up another cheap in-house settlement program because these dioceses can’t get coverage for clerical abuse from civil liability insurers and when they can there is no certainty that civil liability insurers won’t be litigating against them for breach of contract. Make no mistake about it: Anne Marie Trahan is legally bound to advocate for the interests of her clients. She is not impartial. She has no mandate to be impartial. She has duties to serve her clients and only her clients. Victims of clerical abuse should absolutely never talk to any Diocesan lawyer; and that’s all that Mme. Trahan is legally speaking, without representation. Because that is advanced clerical abuse by other means. That’s not calling the lamb to come closer to the wolf: it’s trucking the lambs to the slaughterhouse.

  2. PJJ says:

    I’m flabbergasted that a bishop would actually take this stance and take this action. Agreed Sylvia, this could be a step in the right direction…FINALLY!!!

  3. bc says:

    CBC’s As It Happen’s aired tonight an interview with Carlo Tarini a spokesperson for a group of victims of clerical abuse in Québec regarding this self-investigation of Dioceses in the Montreal area.

    You may listen to it here:

  4. bc says:

    Mme. Trahan is also the Chancellor of the order of Malta in Canada since 2017, and she`s also a personal friend of Mgr Raymond Poisson, Bishop of Saint-Jérôme (which she`ll be investigating. https://www.tvanouvelles.ca/2019/03/29/une-catholique-convaincue-enquete-sur-les-pretres-1

    Trahan, Chancellor Order of Malta:

  5. Sylvia says:

    Thanks bc. It’s posted now:

    08 August 2019:  Judge’s death delays Quebec abuse audit

    • bc says:

      Sorry Sylvia, I thought I had posted it last July… when I was checking on what you had posted recently on the audit I noticed it wasn`t posted.

      Among her many professional achievements Mme. Trahan was a director of the General Insurance OmbudService see here https://www.giocanada.org/. It is an insurance industry consortium providing dispute resolution services. GIO can`t intervene in mandated ADR cases and ongoing litigation.
      Mme. Trahan`s team would have been encouraging new victims to de-escalate; effectively risk-managing an avalanche of civil actions on behalf of her business associates in the insurance industry… and her close associates within the Church; lowering it`s exposure in so-called historical abuse cases with it`s No-Names particular brand of cover-up.

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