‘Redemptorist Fathers trial: a testimony of infinite sadness’ & original French text

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[Note from Sylvia:  The following is an unofficial English translation, courtesy of both Google and JG.  Scroll down for the original French text]

LaPresse.ca

LeSoleil

17 September 2013

Isabelle Mathieu Isabelle Mathieu the Sun

Le palais de justice de Québec... (Photothèque Le Soleil, Erick Labbé)

The courthouse in Quebec … ( The Sun Gallery , Erick Labbé )

( Quebec ) The very upsetting testimony of a fourth victim in the trial of the
Redemptorists has cast a harsh light on the extent of sexual abuse in Saint
-Alphonse Seminary in the 1980s, in addition to having been sodomized
repeatedly by the school principal , Father François Plourde, this student
has suffered the onslaught of two other priests.

Francois Plourde court record photo

Father François Plourde … (Photo filed in the court record )

Of an infinite sadness , the testimony of the 44 year old man , who now lives in Montreal , drew tears from some of the audience, including his lawyers .

Behind his compassionate, watchful eye , the judge, Claude Bouchard several times proposed to the crushed witness that he could take a break . He accepted the offer on one occasion, nauseated at the sight of the picture of one of his attackers .

The adolescent boy was enrolled in Saint -Alphonse
Seminary, neighbor of Sainte-Anne- de-
Beaupré Basilica for his “secondary 2”(grade 10) in 1983, because his parents wanted him to get a religious education.

Shortly after his arrival, the director of Saint -Alphonse Seminary, Father  François Plourde, who only recently had come to occupy the position of second in charge of the
Redemptorist Congregation, took a liking to him.

The religious man proposes to the boy that he take part in a play and to interpret the role of a woman. The small, shy boy had no desire or taste for comedy and was hesitant to accept this. His parents convinced him to try this new experience. The following week, Father Plourde called the young man using the school intercom.

Once the teenager arrived in his office, he offered him a dress – ” yellow ” recalls the victim – and asked him to put it on. The young boy slipped the dress on over his own clothes.

Father Plourde stopped him, asking him to first remove his clothes, including his underwear .

Once the young man was naked under the dress, the priest, according to the witness , began to masturbate him. He then pulled him by the arm and led him behind his desk.

Father François Plourde then pulled out a jar of ” Vicks .” “He pushed me over his desk and put the Vicks on my anus before entering me, the victim painfully recounts. I still remember the incredible pain … ”

Upon returning home at the end of the week , the young man begged his parents to remove him from the seminary. His parents said he would get used to it and refused .

Dead in his soul , the student returned to the College Sainte- Anne -de- Beaupré .

Throughout the fall , he suffered the assaults by Father Plourde, about twice a week, after school. Masturbation, oral sex and anal sex always with camphor balm . After each attack , the student said he ran to the shower to get rid of the peculiar smell, lest his friends question him about it .

In order to avoid being exposed , Father Plourde had to plan, in a panic, a theatrical representation to deceive the young man’s parents , who said they wanted to attend.

Before leaving for the Christmas break , the young man confronted Father François Plourde . To his surprise , the religious man broke down in tears, on the carpet , squeezing the young man in his arms. “He told me that he also had a special friend when he was young and that it was very important to have one ,” the victim testified .

A few days later, Father François Plourde, 49, hanged himself at the monastery. His body was found four days later.

First relieved, the teen ended up feeling responsible for the death of Father Plourde .

Distressed, he went to the office of Father Hervé Blanchet, for advice .

Instead of helping him , Father Blanchet pulled him up close and with his hand in the victimʼs pants, started to masturbate him.

After the meeting, Father Blanchet offered him a chocolate bar and some change
before  telling him that henceforth he would take care of him.

Right up the time he left school at the end of S4 , the victim suffered occasional attacks of Father Blanchet . “It was less common because Father Blanchet had relations with many other students ,” said the witness.

The 44 year old man says he was aggressed on only one occasion by Father Raymond –Marie Lavoie, but added he often surprised that priest masturbating other young boys.

The abuse by some priests of the Seminary was so well known that students gave them nicknames, said the witness “Semen Blanco ” for Father Hervé Blanchet, and “bag grabber” for Father Alexis Trépanier .  “Every priest had his favorites and they did not trade them ” even added the  witness.

The former student of the seminary doesnʼt understand why none of the teachers or school employees ever responded to what was happening before their eyes.

The man lived all his high school years in terror that he would be discovered by others and become a scapegoat .

He buried this horrible past in his heart , but his life was still partially destroyed , he told the judge Bouchard.

He married at age 20, ” to prove that I was not gay ,” and has two children, he doesnʼt see today. He managed to rebuild a family with his new wife, but testified that the trial is now starting to undermine the relationship.

He suddenly could no longer be silent in 2009, when he read the news of the arrest of Raymond -Marie Lavoie and that is when he went to the police.

Since the beginning of the trial, other victims have identified other perpetrators such as Fathers Jean -Claude Bergeron and Langevin Xiste .

……….

Procès des pères Rédemptoristes: un témoignage d’une tristesse infinie

lapresse.ca

LeSoliel

Isabelle Mathieu

Publié le 17 septembre 2013 à 13h52 | Mis à jour le 17 septembre 2013 à 13h52

(Québec) Le témoignage bouleversant d’une quatrième victime au procès des Rédemptoristes a jeté une lumière crue sur l’ampleur des abus sexuels au Séminaire Saint-Alphonse dans les années 1980; en plus d’avoir été sodomisé à de multiples reprises par le directeur de l’école, le père François Plourde, cet étudiant a subi les assauts de deux autres prêtres.

Le père François Plourde... (Photo déposée au dossier de la Cour) - image 1.0

Agrandir

Le père François Plourde

Photo déposée au dossier de la Cour

D’une tristesse infinie, le témoignage de l’homme de 44 ans, qui vit aujourd’hui à Montréal, a tiré des larmes à une partie de l’assistance, ses avocats compris.

Le couvant d’un regard attentif, le juge Claude Bouchard a proposé plusieurs fois au témoin, effondré, de prendre une pause. Ce qu’il a accepté à une occasion, pris de nausée à la vue de la photo de l’un de ses agresseurs.

L’adolescent a été  inscrit au Séminaire Saint-Alphonse voisin de la basilique Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré pour son secondaire 2 en 1983, car ses parents souhaitaient pour lui un enseignement plus religieux.

Peu de temps après son arrivée, le directeur du Séminaire Saint-Alphonse, le père François Plourde, qui venait d’occuper les fonctions de numéro 2 de la Congrégation des Rédemptoristes, le prend en affection.

Le religieux propose au garçon de jouer dans une pièce de théâtre et d’y interpréter une femme. Menu, timide et sans goût pour la comédie, l’élève hésite.

Ses parents le convainquent d’essayer cette nouvelle expérience.

La semaine suivante, le père Plourde appelle le jeune homme en utilisant les hauts parleurs de l’école.

Une fois l’adolescent arrivé dans son bureau, il lui offre une robe – «jaune», se souvient la victime – et lui demande de l’enfiler. Le jeune glisse la robe par-dessus ses propres vêtements.

Le père Plourde l’arrête en lui demandant d’enlever d’abord ses habits, sous-vêtements compris.

Une fois le jeune nu sous la robe, le religieux aurait, selon le témoin, commencé à le masturber. Il l’a ensuite tiré par le bras et amené derrière son bureau.

Le père François Plourde aurait ensuite sorti un pot de «Vicks». «Il m’a penché sur le bureau et a mis du Vicks sur mon anus avant de me pénétrer, a péniblement raconté la victime. Je me souviens encore de la douleur incroyable…»

De retour chez lui à la fin de la semaine, le jeune homme supplie ses parents de le retirer du Séminaire. Les parents affirment qu’il va s’habituer et refusent.

La mort dans l’âme, l’étudiant revient au collège de Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré.

Tout l’automne, il subira les agressions du père Plourde, environ deux fois par semaine, après l’école. Masturbation, fellation et toujours sodomie avec le baume camphré. Après chaque agression, l’étudiant affirme qu’il courait à la douche pour se débarrasser de l’odeur particulière, de peur que ses amis le questionnent.

Pour ne pas être démasqué, le père Plourde a dû faire monter en catastrophe une pièce de théâtre pour donner le change face aux parents du jeune homme, qui avaient annoncé qu’ils voulaient y assister.

Avant de partir pour le congé de Noël, le jeune homme confronte le père François Plourde. À sa grande surprise, le religieux s’effondre en larmes, sur le tapis, en serrant le jeune dans ses bras. «Il m’a dit que lui aussi avait un ami spécial quand il était jeune et que c’était très important d’en avoir un», a témoigné la victime.

Quelques jours plus tard, le père François Plourde, 49 ans, se pend au monastère. Son corps sera retrouvé quatre jours plus tard.

D’abord soulagé, l’adolescent finit par se sentir responsable de la mort du père Plourde.

Affligé, il se rend au bureau du père économe, Hervé Blanchet, pour lui demander conseil.

Au lieu de l’aider, le père Blanchet l’aurait tiré vers lui et, la main dans le pantalon, aurait commencé à le masturber.

Après la séance, le père Blanchet offre une tablette de chocolat et des sous au jeune avant de lui annoncer que dorénavant, il allait s’occuper de lui.

Jusqu’à ce qu’il quitte l’école à la fin de secondaire 4, la victime subira les agressions occasionnelles du père Blanchet. «C’était moins fréquent, car le père Blanchet entretenait plusieurs étudiants», a précisé le témoin.

L’homme de 44 ans dit avoir été touché à une occasion par le père Raymond-Marie Lavoie, mais avoir souvent surpris ce religieux à masturber des jeunes.

Les abus de certains prêtres du Séminaire étaient si connus que les élèves avaient donné des surnoms aux religieux, a précisé le témoin; «Sperme Blanco» pour le père Hervé Blanchet et le «pogneux de poche» pour le père Alexis Trépanier. «Chaque prêtre avait ses favoris et ils ne les échangeaient pas», a même ajouté le témoin.

L’ancien étudiant du Séminaire ne comprend pas qu’aucun professeur ou employé de l’école n’ait réagi à ce qui se déroulait sous leurs yeux.

L’homme a vécu toutes ses années de secondaire dans la terreur que ce qu’il vivait soit découvert par les autres et qu’ils deviennent un souffre-douleur.

Il a enfoui cet horrible passé au fond de lui, mais sa vie en a quand même été en partie détruite, a-t-il dit au juge Bouchard.

Il s’est marié à 20 ans, «pour prouver que je n’étais pas gai», et a fait deux enfants, qu’il ne voit plus aujourd’hui. Il a réussi à rebâtir une famille avec sa nouvelle conjointe, mais a témoigné que le procès met présentement à mal cette union.

Il n’a subitement plus été capable de garder le silence en 2009, lorsqu’il a lu la nouvelle de l’arrestation de Raymond-Marie Lavoie et a tout déballé son sac aux policiers.

Depuis le début du procès, d’autres victimes ont identifié comme agresseurs les pères Jean-Claude Bergeron et Xiste Langevin.

4 Responses to ‘Redemptorist Fathers trial: a testimony of infinite sadness’ & original French text

  1. Sylvia says:

    Thank you JG for sending this article along, and for the work you did on fixing up the google translation. I know translating is not an easy task. This is greatly appreciated. Not we can all get a glimpse of the horrors endured by those young boys at St. Alphonse seminary in Ste Anne de Beaupre, Quebec.

    I believe this was a prep-seminary, not a seminary per se, and therefore the boys would have been high school age? Is that correct?

    And, one question regarding the translation as it stands with this sentence: “’Every priest had his favorites and they did not trade them’ even added the witness.”

    Does the French text read that the witness very explicitly said the victims were never traded? I ask only because I know there have been victims who have said they were traded.

  2. JG says:

    Sylvia,
    Right, it would have been pre-seminary, high school studies I suppose.

    Second point about “not trading” their victims…I was also surprised because that is one of the points the Redemptoristes are fighting in Court, I believe, denying there was this trading “like baseball cards”…
    You will read in another article I have just sent that he probably meant they were not “using” the same boys at the same time, but Langevin, Lavoie and Pilote all abused one victim.
    In the above-
    “After the meeting, Father Blanchet offered him a chocolate bar and some change
    before telling him that henceforth he would take care of him”.
    They certainly had the means to keep track of their victims, if only through the intercom! The kids had figured THAT out!! I doubt they will come out to explain their private conversations or arrangements to “trade” boys once they were done with them!! Like the lions, hyenas, vultures…they maybe didn’t have to speak about it in their secret codes, thus keeping their twisted conscience “intact”…no need to “confess” being a “special friend”, to another priest!
    No doubt they were “organized” but proving it will be difficult…not impossible when all the testimonies are brought together by a good prosecutor.

    jg

    • Sylvia says:

      Thanks JG.

      Yes, re “trading,” the Statement of claim reads that the priests “consulted with one another and conspired in an effort to determine which students they would abuse, and divided (the victims) up amongst themselves.”

      I am quite certain that I read somehwere that a victim said they were passed around like a can of beer, or bottle of beer. It reminded me of the testimony of Claude Marleau in Cornwall.

      It’s probaly a combination of both? Perhaps some victims who were “passed around” and others who were ‘assigned’?

      So sick, So terribly evil.

      I have just posted the article you are referring to. Click here

      Thanks JG. This is an important trial. We need to keep tabs on what’s happening in that Quebec courtroom. You are making that possible 🙂

  3. Baspuits says:

    I wonder if this is the same school Levi Noel went for 6 years and left because he didn’t like the comunity life! We should be getting his records from that school shortly and really find out, why move to another school for his last 4 years of study!
    Our lawyer said ”comunity life” meaning walking around with his hand full!
    baspuits

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