Retired Supreme Court Justice Michel Bastarache led a similar report in Bathurst
Posted: Jun 4, 2012 9:59 AM AT
Last Updated: Jun 4, 2012 10:58 AM AT
Michel Bastarache, a retired Supreme Court of Canada justice, will be the contact person for anyone who was abused by a former New Brunswick priest. (Jacques Boissinot/Canadian Press)
Archbishop André Richard said in a letter the church will continue to offer counselling to Léger’s victims who come forward.
But now the church has obtained the services of Bastarache, who will set up and manage a conciliation process for people with complaints about Léger.
Richard said Bastarache’s sense of justice and understanding of people in the community and the province will allow him to help those who have been wronged.
Richard said it will be a confidential process that will give victims access to a quick settlement of their claims.
Several people in the small, southeastern New Brunswick village have come forward recently to talk about being abused by Léger.
The priest died in 1990 and was never convicted of any crimes.
Archbishop André Richard apologized to any victims of Léger in March. (CBC)
The debate started when the village council announced it would hold a referendum on whether to remove the former priest’s name from the local hockey arena.
There was an immediate groundswell of support around the idea of removing Léger’s name from the arena. The Cap-Pelé council had the sign removed and cancelled the plebiscite.
In March, Richard apologized to anyone who was abused by Léger. But he did not mention how the church had already compensated at least one individual for abuse.
Normand Brun, who now lives in Vancouver, said he was abused by Léger.
He said the abuse started when he was nine years old and it went on for four years.
Brun took his complaint to the Catholic church in 1997 and received financial compensation. He is unable to discuss how much money he received due to legal reasons.
Bathurst report in 2010
This is the second time Bastarache has handled a church-related sex abuse file in New Brunswick.
The Diocese of Bathurst hired Bastarache in 2010 to speak to anyone in the church who was abused by any clergy in the Acadian peninsula.
The northern diocese sought Bastarache’s help after two former priests were charged with sex-related offences.
In November 2010, the Catholic diocese said it would offer an apology and financial compensation to the 35 individuals who came forward during the conciliation process led by Bastarache.
Shortly after Bastarache’s report was finished, a New Brunswick judge granted a request from the Roman Catholic diocese of Bathurst to seal any details surrounding financial awards given out by the church.