Five $3-million lawsuits filed against priest, Roman Catholic diocese

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Former auxiliary bishop named in two of them

Sudbury Star

18 January 2010

Posted By Carol Mulligan

Five separate lawsuits for $3 million each, the maximum under the law, have been filed in Ontario Superior Court of Justice against a Roman Catholic priest convicted of 11 of 16 sexual assault charges in criminal court.

Bernard Cloutier, 68, was sentenced last year to five years in prison for his crimes, but is appealing that decision. 

The five lawsuits were also filed against the Roman Catholic Episcopal Corporation of the Diocese of Sault Ste. Marie. Two of the lawsuits name the auxiliary bishop of the time, Gerard S.E. Dionne, as well.

London-based lawyer Rob Talach of Ledroit Beckett Litigation Lawyers announced the commencement of legal proceedings by five of Cloutier’s former altar boys between 1971 and 1983, while Cloutier was serving as a priest at several parishes in the diocese.

Attention was on Cloutier in the criminal proceedings, Talach told reporters at the Radisson Hotel on Monday morning.

The civil suits “are intended to broaden the scope of inquiry.”

Talach and his law firm represent several other men from the northeast in civil suits against the diocese for alleged, historic cases of sexual abuse by a number of priests who served parishes in Sudbury, North Bay, Espanola and other communities.

In the case of two of the five men in the newest lawsuits, there is essentially a smoking gun that the diocese covered up the abuse at the time, charged the lawyer.

“This is one of those rare situations where actual evidence of institutional cover-up and interference with secular authorities exists,” said Talach.

In criminal court there was testimony that Dionne, as a representative of the diocese, interrupted and interfered in a police interview of two of Cloutier’s victims.

That interference could be described by some an obstruction of justice, said Talach.

Read more about the story in Tuesday’s Sudbury Star.

Two of the victims filing the lawsuit are urging other people who may have been sexually abused by Cloutier to contact them at

Article ID# 2266282

Comments on this Article.

Yep…that’s just what they used to do. Move them from one parish to another after someone complained. Ridiculous. Why are women no allowed in the priesthood? There were women priests in the Catholic Church at one time eons ago. Guess they just like the pedophiles up there on the altar in their pretty robes. Awful garbage. Organized religions are the largest terrorist groups in the world….in my humble opinion anyway.

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Post #1 By jafo, 3 months ago | 0 Votes | Vote:

Sad but whenever I see a Catholic Priest now I can’t help but wonder if he is a pedophile or not.

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Post #2 By common sense man, 3 months ago | 0 Votes | Vote:

Today things would have been different, but I got thrown out of high school because of a priest who I can only assume was some degree of pedophile. I went to the most prestigious high school in the region, which happened to be Jesuit run, and in my sop****re year I was taking the requisite class in “Morals” and one of our assignments given by the teacher, a priest, was to document, in no small detail, our sexual thoughts, feelings, and experiences thus far. Well, because it was such a prestigious school full of rich kids on the fast track and members of the “Young Republicans” club, they all complied without objection because that was what you had to do to get the grade. What I turned in was a paper detailing why my sex life was no one’s business but my own and why an authority figure asking such a thing from anyone, much less young men under his care, was, in fact, immoral in itself and why that made a mockery of the point of the class. I did it without being profane in any way, though I did have some attitude in it. (Turns out that I had a talent for it and ended up with a philosophy scholarship to university a couple years later.) The next day my parents and I were summoned to the principle’s office (also a priest) and I was asked to leave. By the next year I heard that the priest in question had been transferred elsewhere.

Today, I would assume that things would be different. Not only would my parents and I have the inclination to prosecute and sue over the “assignment”, I doubt that the priest would have been backed by the administration and I also doubt that I would have been asked to leave. Nevertheless, I think that much of what was wrong with the church in my day (I’m 41) still persists. Those guys should be kept under a microscope when they have interactions with the young.

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Post #3 By farrelli, 3 months ago | 0 Votes | Vote:

Unfortunately there is still a few out there… What is most alarming is that the Diocese allowed these abuse to happen. Not to many abuse where not reported to someone of authority only to be shut down. And yes, as many have mentioned already, the priest would be transferred… I know from experience how it’s done. I am not one of the abuse parties in this civil action… but I am a survivor or sexual abuse by a priest.

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Post #4 By gab26, 3 months ago | 0 Votes | Vote:

we as canadian taxpayers paid out 10 million to the moselem arrar because he was so called tortured in syria and said he would never be the same and we foolishly paid out. These people were molested and sexually assaulted by this priest And PROVEN in a canadian court.I think this is a pretty small amount for the suffering these individuals went thru….. this catholic bishop who moved him from parish to parish to cover up these gahstly crimes
…. throw everything at these low life pedophiles

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Post #5 By keno, 3 months ago | 0 Votes | Vote:

don’t deal with a problem and it comes back to bite

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Post #6 By mmday, 3 months ago | 0 Votes | Vote:

and they wonder why the Catholic church is in decline.

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Post #7 By stevie stevenson, 3 months ago | 0 Votes | Vote:

how does the Diocese afford the legal bills and settlements? this could cost millions in legal fees and judgment.

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Post #8 By stevie stevenson, 3 months ago | 0 Votes | Vote:

I really feel for the current priests that I know who end up being tarnished by this yet, had nothing to do with it (see common sense man). I know a few of them, and they are good men doing good work yet they can’t escape the stigma.

I agree the guilty ones are monsters, but they are not all like that.

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Post #9 By Veritas, 3 months ago | 1 Votes | Vote:

don’t paint them all with the same brush … but those that are guilty they should throw the book at them and then they can go to prison and become the victom of such acts

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Post #10 By keno, 3 months ago | 0 Votes | Vote:

sudburystarsucks…should read the person that wrote this article sucks. I have never witnessed such a low life, pathetic way to get a point across. It’s under-minding and your parents did a terrible job at raising a slime ball like you..They have to be as pathetic as you to spawn such a crude, immoral bug. Maybe you should let all these guys tap into your bank account so they can pay their bills and feed theirs kids you abviously have alot to go around…..I am just so appauled and dissapointed this person…

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Post #11 By danieb, 3 months ago | 0 Votes | Vote:

sudburystarsucks….your a rat goof crack-head ,its fall down losers like you that give this town a bad name,i guess all the inbreeding in your family screwed up your head,go snort some more oxycontin with the rest of your rainbow lovin ****sexual buddies.

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Post #12 By blackest666, 3 months ago | 0 Votes | Vote:

I smell lawsuit looming if anyone of these guys get hurt (or their families)
SS…this is beyond low. I know your a union newspaper but Jesus…get some class.

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Post #13 By jafo, 3 months ago | 0

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