Bishop says he believes abuse allegations

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Apologizes to congregation and promises to heal rift

CBC News

Posted: Mar 11, 2012 2:08 PM AT

Last Updated: Mar 11, 2012 4:19 PM AT

The archbishop of Moncton has told parishioners at Ste Therese d’Avila, in the small village of Cap Pelé, that he believes the men who have come forward alleging that a deceased priest abused them.

Archbishop André Richard spoke during Sunday mass. He went on to praise the men for speaking out about the abuse, which they say happened when Father Camille Léger was a priest in the village, from 1957 to 1980.

The archbishop of Moncton believes the sex abuse allegations against Father Camille Léger.

The archbishop of Moncton believes the sex abuse allegations against Father Camille Léger. (CBC)

Léger died in 1990 and was never charged – his accusers came forward after his death.

Archbishop Richard went further, apologizing for what happened to the men, personally and on behalf of the church.

He asked for forgiveness from all the victims and promised to work with the community to heal the rift that has occurred.

Archbishop André Richard apologized to parishioners Sunday.

Archbishop André Richard apologized to parishioners Sunday. (CBC)

The allegations have arisen now because the village’s arena, Père-Camille-Léger Aréna, is named after Léger. Several people in Cap-Pelé allege that he abused children in the community.

Until last week, he was widely considered a pillar of the community, who was involved with youth through hockey and the Boy Scouts.

Archbishop André Richard, a native New Brunswicker, has been archbishop of Moncton since 2002.

Community divided

The issue of changing the name of Aréna Père-Camille-Léger to Aréna de Cap-Pelé left the community divided last week.

Coun. Norbet Gaudet, who says he was one of Léger’s victims, is one of the people calling for the name change.

Gaudet claims he was 13 years old when Léger started abusing him.

Gaudet claims he’s met dozens of men over the years who say they were also assaulted by the former priest of the Ste Therese d’Avila Roman Catholic parish.

The reaction of area residents on Thursday was mixed.

A plebiscite on whether to change the arena’s name will be held during the May 14 municipal election. It must receive a vote of 60% or more to pass.

4 Responses to Bishop says he believes abuse allegations

  1. Sylvia says:

    Well. ….I must say I am pleasantly and utterly shocked!

    The Archbishop of Moncton went to St. Theresa of Avila RC Church in Cap-Pelé New Brunswick today and said that he believes the victims who have spoken out about the abuse they suffered at the hands of Father Camille Leger! And he apologized!

    I think this is probably a first? A bishop publicly telling victims that he believes them, and, to my knowledge, a statement which is in no way shape or form part of the terms of settlement of a lawsuit.

    An emotional day for the victims!

    Ever the skeptic I suppose, I can not help but wonder if there is perhaps a stack of allegations on file identifying Father Camille Leger as a molester? Whatever the reason, this is highly unusual, but I am happy for the victims.

    Perhaps now the council will decide to change the sign without the plebiscite?

  2. Baspuits says:

    An emotional day for the victims, I’ll say! Remember this is the same bishop I met in 1991 who said to me “To my knowlegde you are the first victims to accused father Lévi Noel” and that I was not the bishop when you were abused in 1964. A Ponce Pilot answer!
    This bishop is retiring in June, as he turns 75 and hope the pope find him a job as he did for Bernard Law and the one from Quebec. It will take the next bishop, on arrival to do the same as the Archbishop of Dublin, to give all file of the church to the police, anything less would be criminal!

    • Baspuits says:

      This Andre Richard has met victims in 1989, 1991 and 1995, he managed to keep everything under rap, even said to one, when he complained that he was abused 1951-2-3-4-5! All he got from the good bishop is “Watch your mouth, father XXXXXX died in 1970 and we are a big familly, so you better watch your mouth”! This same victim called him back last fall in Moncton and recounted his story, all he got was “I’m old and can’t remember, you! I’m sorry and hanged up! This guy is colder than an icebox, one of the good old boy! Sippery then an ill, BEWARE!
      I’ve XXXXXX the father’s name in respect for the victim, who has yet to come foward and don’t want to take anything away from him, in order for him to start the healing process!

  3. Sylvia says:

    I believe you Baspuits. That’s the way things tend to happen. So why in this instance does the archbishop show up at at Mass to announce that he believes these victims? It really is bizarre. Highly unusual. I am happy and relieved for the victims, but it’s hard not to wonder what prompted such an atypical response?

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