Cap-Pelé removes ex-priest’s name from arena

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Deputy mayor says he hopes ‘the healing process can begin’

CBC News

Posted: Mar 13, 2012 7:47 AM AT

Last Updated: Mar 13, 2012 8:09 AM AT

Cap-Pelé council voted on Monday night to remove former priest Camille Léger’s name from the local arena, less than a week after stories of sexual abuse became public.

Village residents learned last week they would be asked in a plebiscite on May 14 if they wanted to change the name of the local arena. That prompted several people to come forward with allegations that Léger abused them when he was a priest in the area between 1957 and 1980.

Archbishop André Richard attended two masses over the weekend in the small southeastern fishing village and apologized for the actions of Léger. Léger died 22 years ago.

Cap-Pelé Deputy Mayor Hector Doiron said Richard’s comments caused the local council to act swiftly in changing the arena’s name.

“Just the fact that the public statement of Monsignor Richard made it such that now there was a public declaration of culpability of Father Léger. Council felt that by having such a statement being made it gave us grounds to review our decisions and make the appropriate action quickly to turn the page more or less and make sure the victims do not suffer any longer,” Doiron said on Tuesday.

“It is probably … the least that we could do at this time for [the victims].”

The name has been changed to Aréna de Cap-Pelé.

Doiron said the council will also look at providing counselling for the victims.

More than 50 people attended the special council meeting that started at 7 p.m. on Monday. The meeting lasted less than 30 minutes.

Once the session ended, Doiron said they council moved quickly to take the name off the building. The village brought in local firefighters and the sign was taken down on Tuesday night.

Photos of Léger have also been removed from the arena.

“The healing process can now begin,” Doiron said.

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