Date: Monday May. 28, 2012 5:19 PM ET
James Boudreau, a retired priest, is seen outside the courthouse in Guelph, Ont. on Jan. 25, 2012.
James Boudreau, a retired Guelph priest, has been sentenced to 15 months behind bars in connection with two historic sexual assaults.
The sentence includes 15 months for one count and six months for a second count, to be served concurrently.
Boudreau’s lawyer Roger Yachetti says “I thought the sentence was on the heavy side for sure.”
The 69-year-old pleaded guilty in January 2012, but the assaults themselves date back to the mid-1980s, when the two victims were teenagers.
A publication ban prevents the identification of the men, who are now adults. The allegations initially surfaced in 2010.
One of the men has told the court how Boudreau became a close family friend by the time he was 12 and that they celebrated their shared birthday together.
He also said that just before he turned 18, Boudreau took advantage of him sexually, and that he went from an outgoing honours student to a confused man with low self esteem.
In a victim impact statement read at a hearing in April he said “It was like being struck by a powerful wrecking ball. I crumbled to the ground in a dozens of fragments.”
A friend of one of the victims says the decision comes as a relief and that “He can go on with his life and not have this hanging over his head.”
Boudreau was a pastor at Saint John the Baptist Church in Guelph from 1978 to 1985 and worked at six other Ontario churches in the years afterwards, including one in Kitchener.
During the sentencing hearing, Boudreau apologized for his actions saying “I have great remorse for the events in the past. I am truly sorry.”
Justice Gary Hearn talked about how difficult it was to come up with a sentence for a man who yielded great respect and trust among church-goers, but ultimately said the assaults were a colossal breach of that trust.
When he was first charged Boudreau was told by the Catholic Diocese of Hamilton he would get his full pension if he resigned quietly and admitted the truth, which is what he did.