Class action request filed as 30 alleged victims of sexual abuse come forward

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CTV Montreal: Sexual abuse case

Published Thursday, March 29, 2018 8:23PM EDT

CTV News    Montreal

A class action lawsuit against a missionary in Northern Quebec has been submitted to Montreal Superior Court.  [Video can be accessed via this external link to article on CTV page]

A request for a class action lawsuit against a missionary was submitted to Montreal superior court Thursday.

The request comes after more than 30 children were allegedly abused by two prominent priests in a northern Quebec community for decades.

One of the alleged victims is Marie Christine Joveneau, who says she was sexually abused by her uncle Alexis Joveneau, a Catholic missionary, for nine months when she was 21.

She says it happened when she returned to the remote northern community of Unamen Shipu to teach.

Joveneau says the reason she kept quiet for so long is because of the influence her uncle had on the community.

Now, though, she says therapy is not enough, after she saw one of the many articles written about her uncle – where other victims claim they were also abused by him back in the 50s, 60s and 70s.

She decided she, too, would speak up.

In the last week or so, 30 victims have come forward claiming they were also abused.

While Alexis Joveneau died in 1993, his victims — both boys and girls — say now is the time to speak up.

“The important thing is to speak, to be recognized as victims. It’s the only way to have any kind of serenity because I think, the injuries you have… you never forget them. You never forget that kind sexual abuse, it’s not possible. But there is a way to serenity, and it’s to speak,” she said.

Another prominent priest from the same era, Omer Provencher, is facing the same allegations.

The class action cannot move forward unless it is approved by the courts, which could take months.

Meantime, the victims’ lawyer believes there are even more victims and is encouraging them to come forward.

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