Former Dalhousie priest’s trial underway

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Justice: Accuser says he was groped as a teen
Telegraph-Journal (Saint John, New Brunswick)
Published Tuesday January 25th, 2011


Trevor McNally
Canadaeast News Service

CAMPBELLTON – The trial of a former Dalhousie priest got underway Monday in Campbellton Provincial Court.

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Trevor McNally/Tribune
Former priest Charles Picot leaves Campbellton Provincial Court with two female supporters on Monday.

Charles Picot had pleaded not guilty to an indecent assault dating to 1978 when he was a priest at St. Jean-Baptiste Roman Catholic Church in Dalhousie and had originally elected to be tried in Court of Queen’s Bench.

However, on Oct. 15 he re-elected to be tried in provincial court by judge alone. On Monday, he sat in court with two female supporters as the alleged victim testified. While a publication ban on identifying the victim had been in place, Crown Prosecutor François Doucet asked Judge Ronald LeBlanc to lift the ban, as the victim did not want one. Judge LeBlanc accordingly lifted the ban.

John Derek Lapointe, 47, testified that he had been in the Boy Scouts in the fall of 1978 when Picot had indecently assaulted him. Lapointe said that the two had struck up a friendship and wasn’t concerned when Picot asked him to come visit him in the rectory next to the church.

Lapointe, who was 13 at the time, said that the two were listening to an album that Picot had just bought when he asked Lapointe to come sit with him. When Lapointe sat on Picot’s lap, which he described as like sitting on Santa’s knee, Picot put his arms around him and slid his hand down the front of Lapointe’s pants and touched him, according to the testimony.

Under cross-examination by defence counsel Gilles Lemieux, Lapointe admitted many details of his life are sketchy, as were some of the incident itself, such as how he was invited to the rectory to begin with, what was said prior to sitting on Picot’s lap and what was said after the alleged incident took place.

After a brief recess and a few more minutes of cross-examination, the Crown rested its case. The defence lawyer then asked that court go into recess until this morning because a development had taken place during Lapointe’s testimony that he felt he needed to research.

Judge LeBlanc agreed to the request. The trial resumes today.

Picot was found guilty in 1993 of two counts of sexual assault and one count of indecent assault in another case. He was sentenced to seven months in jail. Besides being employed in Dalhousie, he also served at parishes in Bathurst and Campbellton.

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