Gravel: Father Jean Gravel

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Jean Gravel

Priest, Archdiocese of Ottawa, Ontario.  Ordained 02 February 1950.  July 2013 – lawsuit launched alleging sex abuse at the hands of Father Jean Gravel – the abuse started when the boy was about 8-years-of-age and continued for 7 years.

The plaintiff/victim has asked for a trial by jury.

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17 September 2013:  Archdiocese Comments on Legal Action Concerning the Late Jean Gravel (text file)

17 September 2013: Ottawa Archdiocese Press release re ex-priest Jean Gravel (pdf)

16 September 2013:  Beckett Personal Injury Lawyers Press Statement re lawsuit related to sex abuse by Father Jean Gravel

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Media coverage and BLOGS

07 September 2016:  Man’s dramatic deathbed story of sexual abuse leads to $2-million lawsuit against Ottawa archdiocese

17 September 2013: Victim of sexual abuse files lawsuit against Archdiocese of Ottawa in hopes of gaining closure

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Unless otherwise indicated the following information is drawn from Canadian Catholic Church Directories (CCCD) which I have in hand, media (M) and legal documents (L)

During his years as a priest Father Jean Gravel served in Sainte Jeanne dÀrc, St. Remi Roman Catholic Church in Ottawa, Ontario, and in Saint Mathieu and Notre-Dame-de-Bonsecours in Hull, Quebec (until 1963 Hull, Quebec was part of the Archdiocese of Ottawa)

September 2016:  another lawsuit launched, this by widow of man who was alleged to be one of the victims from 1967 charges which resulted in “guilty” plea by Gravel

July 2013:  Lawsuit launched  (M)

2010: victim  told officials at the Archdiocese of Ottawa that he had been abused by Father Jean Gravel.  Received counselling funded by the archdiocese (L).  According to  Archdiocese of Ottawa Press Release the ‘pastoral care’ John received was given “…on the basis of pastoral care and not on the basis of legal liability…”

02 August 1980:  committed suicide (L)

1973-74, 1971-72:  Not listed (CCCD)

1970:  ‘defrocked’ (laicized).  According to Archdiocese of Ottawa Press Releasethe late Joseph -Aurèle Plourde, successfully petitioned the Vatican to have Gravel dismissed from the clerical state (“laicized”) in 1970″

1968-69:  “en repos”  (on leave) (CCCD)

1967:  Guilty plea to charges of gross indecency involving two teenage boys and resisting arrest (M)

Late 60’s:  According to Archdiocese of Ottawa Press Release there were “criminal charges” and a trial leading to his conviction

1967:  Pastor, St. Remi Roman Catholic Church, Ottawa, Ontario 2821 DeMaurier St, Ottawa, ON (CCCD)

1959:  assisting at Saint Bernadette-Soubirous, Hull, Quebec (Pastor Father Adeodat Chaloux, with Father Laurnet Savage) (CCCD) (Hull was at this time part of the Archdiocese of Ottawa, Ontario)

according to Archdiocese of Ottawa Press Release:  “he exhibited behavioural problems which required diocesan authorities of the time to intervene, seeking his correction and rehabilitation.”

1950:  ORDAINED

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Victim of sexual abuse files lawsuit against Archdiocese of Ottawa in hopes of gaining closure

CFRA raido (Ottawa)

17 September 2013

By: Alison Sandor (@CFRA_Alison)

A man who suffered years of sexual abuse at the hands of a priest in the Ottawa and Gatineau areas is hoping a lawsuit he filed against the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Ottawa will not only help him heal, but will compel other victims to come forward.

A third party review conducted by the Ontario Criminal Injuries Compensation Board verified that the man was sexually abused for a seven-year period by Father Jean Gravel, who served with the Archdiocese until 1967. Gravel took his own life in 1980.

Gravel worked at a number of churches in Ottawa and in the Outaouais, including Église de Notre-Dame-de-Bonsecours in Montebello and the Saint Remi parish on Dumaurier Avenue.

The victim, who chose to be referred to by the name John said the Archdiocese was very compassionate and helpful when he came forward to them three years ago.

“The leadership at the Roman Catholic Church here in Ottawa have been extremely helpful to me,” said John, which is not his real name. “They went beyond the call of duty to show compassion and extend their care to facilitate some form of reconciliation with the trauma sexual abuse can cause.”

However, there’s only so much information the Archdiocese could divulge and the civil suit will require them to release more information about Father Gravel, so John can piece together more about the man he feared for so long.

“John now takes the final step of having the entire truth known,” said lawyer Rob Talach, with Beckett Personal Injury Lawyers. “He has decided to use the instrument of litigation as both an outreach to others and a tool to access information. Though sympathetic, the Archdiocese cannot just hand over Gravel’s personnel file. Now they will be required by law to provide it as part of their response to this action.”

Talach said getting their hands on the Father Gravel’s file may explain how much the Archdiocese knew about his actions.

“I don’t have anything that I can put my finger on, but I can tell you in 10 years of doing this type of work, to see a priest defrocked in the past, to have his priesthood end before his life is very unusual,” said Talach. “We know that’s the case with Father Gravel, so the question that then follows is: what did the Archdiocese, or the Church, know when it defrocked him back in the day?”

John said he hoped coming forward would mean others would be compelled to come forward and start their healing process as well.

“Healing is the key mantra here, because a victim will suffer in silence out of a disbelief they’ll be believed, out of a feeling it was their fault until they see their perpetrator’s name or another brave soul come forward, and then that becomes the beacon, I’ll use the colloquial Bat Light, for them to step forward,” said Talach.

The majority of lawsuits like these are settled out of court for a six figure sum, but John said it is not about the money -it’s another step in the healing process, that will also hopefully shine the spotlight on the issue of child sexual abuse within the Roman Catholic Church.

“This is not just about looking back, it is also about prevention for the future,” said Talach in a prepared statement. “By examining what went wrong with this case, we can learn how to prevent or at least reduce its reoccurrence within the Roman Catholic Church. “Even just the conversation about abuse, a subject so shrouded in secrecy, can bring enhanced awareness to Rome with its ability to make sweeping changes. Much needed changes which can be made under the supreme authority of the Vatican.

In an email to CFRA, the Archdiocese said it was still considering “which comment, if any” it would make on the issue.

4 Responses to Gravel: Father Jean Gravel

  1. Baspuits says:

    http://www.sunnewsnetwork.ca/sunnews/canada/archives/2013/09/20130917-184405.html

    OTTAWA — A dead and defrocked Catholic priest accused of raping an altar boy decades ago preyed on him as a family member, not a man of the cloth, the archdiocese of Ottawa said Tuesday.
    But the lawyer for the victim, “John,” says the brutal abuse happened in the context of their faith and is angry that the diocese revealed his client is a relative of Jean Gravel’s.

    “They did it in a vindictive way to punish him for coming forward, I believe,” Robert Talach said.

    “I’m really disappointed in the archdiocese.”

    Monsignor Kevin Beach was reacting to reports about a lawsuit filed against the archdiocese over abuse the man says he suffered from age eight to 15 in the 1950s and 1960s.

    His painful story is a reminder most child sex abuse is committed by family members or close friends, Beach said in a statement.

    “By the facts known to us, it appears that the late Jean Gravel had access to John, not by virtue of his role as a priest or pastor but by reason of his being a member of the Gravel family,” he said.

    Beach said they listened with a “sympathetic ear” and tried to help him heal.

    They’ll seek a “just solution” now that he’s chosen to sue rather than settle.

    John agrees they were compassionate but his lawsuit seeks $2 million, if only because he has to name a sum before the evidence is known.

    What he really wants is the truth, Talach said.

    “The lawsuit will make sure they have to tell him everything about Gravel,” he said.

    “He wants to know what happened and what they knew. This is a very disturbed priest. It’s unbelievable he wasn’t caught before.

    “He wants to reach out to other victims.”

    John alleges that the parish priest at Sainte Jeanne d’Arc and Saint-Remi churches subjected him to escalating abuse including oral sex and penetration on the property of the church that failed to protect him.

    All the while, Gravel made him feel that “his soul was in jeopardy” and heard his confessions.

    The archdiocese calls Gravel’s case “scandalous” and said he had “behavioural problems” that required officials to intervene for his “correction and rehabilitation.”

    That’s code for sexual impropriety, Talach charges.

    Gravel was convicted of criminal charges in the late 1960s — sex-related, according to John — and was dismissed from the clergy at the archbishop’s request in 1970. He committed suicide in 1980.

    John says he’s struggled with depression, feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness, flashbacks and nightmares for which he’ll need counseling for life.

  2. Sylvia says:

    Look at that. Even back in 1967 a Canadian clerical molester gets no more that a “Tut. Tut. Bad boy.”

    How long have the judicial kid gloves for molesters been on in Canada?

    That aside, I commend the victim’s widow for filing suit. I pray for the repose of her dear husband’s soul.

  3. RG says:

    Hi SYLVIA MY NAME HIS RG I’VE VISITING YOUR SITE A FEW TIM NOW AND I JUST CAME ABOUT JOHN PARTICULAR STORY AND IT HAS LOT OF SIMILARITY WITH MY OWN ABUSE BY MGR BENOIT FORTIER IN NORTH=BAY AREA I WAS WONDERING IF JOHN WENT THROUGH IT AND WHAT CAME ABOUT THE SUIT AGAINST HIS MOLESTER DID HE FOUND SOME CLOSER AND PEACE OF MIND IN THAT PROCESS I’M JUST NOT SURE FOR MYSELF THAT IM WILLING AND ABLE TO DO THAT WITH MY PERSONAL CASE BUT WOULD APPRECIATE ANY KIND OF RESPONSE FROM JOHN HOW HE FEEL ABOUT IT OR FROM YOU OR ANYBODY FROM YOUR WEB SIT THX……….RG

  4. Sylvia says:

    I’m sorry RG, don’t know the answers to your question.

    If anyone has contact with “John” would you please direct him to RG’s comments?

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