Deschamps: Father Marcel Deschamps

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Priest, Diocese of Hull (the Gatineau-Hull, now Archdiocese of Gatineau).  Ordained 06 June 1964.  Investigation commenced 1989.  Charges laid 1990.  Charges initially related to sex abuse of four boys, one eight-years-old when the abuse  began.. March 15 1991 GUILTY plea to charges related to sex abuse of three boys over the past decade.  The defence claimed that Deschamps was not a paedophile and only had a sexual attraction to boys when he was drinking.  April 1992 sentenced to nine months in prison and two years probation

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Bishops/Archbishops of Hull/Gatineau/Gatineau from time of Deschamps’ ordination: Paul-Émile Charbonneau (21 May 1963 – 12 April 1973) ; Adolphe E. Proulx (13 February 1974 – 22 July 1987) ; Roger Ébacher (30 Mar 1988 – –

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 Unless otherwise indicicated the following information is drawn from Canadian Catholic Church Directories (CCCD) of that date, and media (M)

2011, 2010, 2002, 2000, 1997, 1996, 1995, 1994, 1993, 1991: house on rue Binet, Gatineau, Quebec. 

1997:  was known to be working in an administrative capacity for the diocese

2007:  Listed as a contributor to Historic Milestones in the Archdiocese of Gatineau on the diocesan website   

February 1990charges laid 

1985-86: Pastor at  Sainte Rene Goupil RC Church, Gatineau, Quebec

1978:  Appointed Pastor of John XXIII RC Church in Gatineau for one year 

1967, 1968-69, 1973-74, 1971-72Sainte Rene Goupil RC Church, Gatineau, Quebec (Pastor, Father Felicien Marc. Raymond)

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A Trust Betrayed; Mother leaves church over priest’s assault on sons

The Ottawa Citizen

01 April 1992

Her two sons were molested by a Gatineau priest — a man she’d considered a trusted family friend. The betrayal shattered the woman’s life-long commitment to the church.

”I still believe in God, but I can’t go back to the Catholic Church. I have been deeply traumatized,” said the woman, whose name cannot be published to protect the identity of her sons.

Tuesday, Rev. Marcel Deschamps, former pastor of St-Rene Goupil, was sentenced to nine months in prison for molesting three young boys during the early 1980s.

Deschamps was also sentenced to two years probation by Quebec Court Judge Gerard Charron, who said that the priest has already received part of his punishment by being named as a child molester in the news media.

Outside the court, the mother of two of the victims, who are now 17 and 21, said she is satisfied with the sentence.

”It was the least he should get,” she said.

Most of the assaults were committed at Deschamps’ cottage in Kazabazua where the woman, Deschamps’ friend and parishioner, would sometimes spend weekends with the priest and her sons.

”You can’t imagine that you have a friend and that he gets up during the night to molest your kids,” she said. The assaults started when the boys were 8 and 11.

”I think he should be barred from being a priest,” she said. ”He did these things from a position of power.”

The 52-year-old priest lost his job as pastor when he was charged in 1990, but he is still a priest. The mother said the church should defrock Deschamps and deny him that title.

Marcel Wolfe, vicar-general for the Archdiocese of Hull, said that although Deschamps still carries the title, he has no duties as a priest and has not worked for the church in any way since he was charged. He has found a job outside the church and may do so again once he has been released, Wolfe added.

If Deschamps wanted to be assigned to another parish after his release, there would be a ”long and rigorous” process to determine whether he is fit, said Wolfe. Deschamps has created a ”credibility problem” for both himself and the church, Wolfe said.

But Deschamps must also be treated with compassion, the vicar-general said. ”There is no need for an attitude of vengeance. We have to treat him.”

At a sentence hearing in November, court was told that Deschamps is an alcoholic who has no pedophilic tendencies when he is sober but is attracted to young boys when he is drunk. He has been under the care of a psychiatrist since being charged and is responding well to treatment, court head.

Deschamps will be eligible for parole in two to three months.

The mother had no idea her sons had been molested by Deschamps until three years ago when the youngest fell into a deep depression and started saying he was the son of the devil.

It was while he was at the Pierre Janet psychiatric hospital that the boy told doctors that he had been molested by Deschamps. That led to the revelation that the boy’s older brother had also been molested on several occasions.

The youngest boy has psychological problems that were aggravated by the assaults, court heard. He attempted suicide three times when he was 13 and 14, his mother said.

The eldest boy was hospitalized at Pierre Janet briefly in his mid teens and treated as an out-patient for about three years, she said.

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Alcohol sparks priest’s problems, lawyer tells court

The Ottawa Citizen

21 November 1991

Sean Upton

A Gatineau priest is an alcoholic who gets the urge to molest young boys only after he drinks, a Hull court heard Wednesday.

Marcel Deschamps, 53, showed no signs of pedophilia when sober but his attitude changed completely while under the influence of alcohol, said psychiatrist Dr. Hendrik Butter.

Deschamps, former pastor of St. Rene Goupil Catholic Church, has pleaded guilty to three counts of sexual assault for fondling three boys between 1984 and 1989. The victims, between the ages of 10 and 16, are the children of friends of Deschamps.

Quebec Court Judge Gerard Charron said he will sentence Deschamps Mar. 31.

The assaults were incidents of fondling over the boys’ clothes and most occurred at the priest’s cottage in Kazabazua, about 70 kilometres north of Hull, during overnight visits. One incident took place in Hull on Dec. 26, 1989, when Deschamps was visiting a friend. He climbed into bed with a boy who lived in the house and fondled him.

If they could be strung together, all the incidents would amount to about 10 minutes out of the priest’s 25-year career, said Jean-Claude Sarrazin, Deschamps’s lawyer. He said the media has blown the incidents completely out of proportion.

”We take 10 minutes of his life and make it the crime of the century,” said Sarrazin. ”Let’s not spit on the clergy again for a physical problem one member has.”

Throughout Wednesday’s sentence hearing, Deschamps sat near the back of the courtroom, slouched slightly with one hand cupping his chin as he listened to his lawyer.

”Members of the clergy are our models,” said Sarrazin. ”We ask them to listen to the problems of others and ignore their own.

”We don’t ask them if they have a problem with loneliness, we don’t ask them if they need support. We expect them to be superhuman.”

Court heard that it is alcohol that triggers Deschamps’s urge to molest young boys.

Butter, the psychiatrist, testified that he put Deschamps through a battery of psycho-sexual tests and the priest tested negative for pedophilia.

Butter said he repeated the tests after giving Deschamps enough alcohol to get him drunk and the test results were dramatically different. Deschamps would register a sexual response when shown pictures of naked boys, he said.

Butter said that Deschamps, who sought psychological help on his own after he was charged, has faithfully continued with psychiatric treatment and has remained in a treatment program for alcoholism.

Sarrazin said his client should be given a suspended sentence and three years probation or a community service order.

Crown prosecutor Martin Lamontagne said that Deschamps deserves a year in jail for the crimes.

Lamontagne pointed to a pre-sentencing report that says Deschamps seems to show little remorse for his crimes, a statement that was contradicted by Butter, who said Deschamps appears remorseful.

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Priest’s sex case; Sentencing delayed

The Ottawa Citizen

01 October 1991

A Gatineau priest who pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting three boys in the past decade will be sentenced Nov. 20, his lawyer said Monday.

Marcel Deschamps, 53, was to be sentenced Monday, but a witness for the defence was unavailable, said Jean-Claude Sarrazin.

Deschamps was the parish priest at St. Rene Goupil Catholic Church in Gatineau for 10 years.

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Priest quilty of sex assaults; Gatineau clergyman, 52, admits to abuse of three young boys

The Ottawa Citizen

15 March 1991

George Kalogerakis 

A Catholic priest pleaded guilty in Hull court Thursday to sexually assaulting three boys over the last decade.

Marcel Deschamps, 52, was the parish priest at St. Rene Goupil Church in Gatineau when he was arrested in February 1990.

His arrest caused an uproar among parishioners, many of whom stood by him and described him as a good and compassionate priest.

Deschamps was originally charged with sexually abusing four boys, who were between 10 and 16 when the alleged attacks began. Thursday, the Crown dropped the charges relating to one boy because of lack of evidence.

The charges say the attacks against the three boys began in 1980 and took place over long periods of time in Gatineau, Hull and at Deschamps’s chalet in Kazabazua.

Quebec Court Judge Gerard Charron ordered Deschamps to undergo a psychiatric evaluation for a pre-sentencing report. He also asked for a report on how the victims were affected by the abuse.

Deschamps’s entered the guilty plea one week before he was to be tried. Crown attorney Lise Legault said Deschamps will be sentenced in a few weeks.

Few details were immediately available about the charges because Deschamps’s lawyer waived the right to a preliminary hearing and police refused to say if the victims were connected with the church.

Following his arrest, the Gatineau-Hull diocese suspended Deschamps from his position at the Raymond Street church which he had held since 1981.

Three weeks before the Quebec Police Force charged Deschamps, the diocese began an internal investigation of Deschamps following allegations from congregation members.

It was the first time a priest within the diocese was charged with sex-related offences.

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Priest makes brief appearance

The Ottawa Citizen

08 February 1990

A Roman Catholic priest charged with sexually assaulting four boys appeared briefly in Quebec Court Wednesday.

Marcel Deschamps, 51, of St-Rene Goupil Church in Gatineau did not enter a plea. He is to appear April 3 to set a date for a preliminary hearing.

He is charged with assaulting three boys over periods of up to five years. The boys were between 10 and 16 years old when the alleged assaults began in 1980. Deschamps is also charged with assaulting a 10-year-old boy in December 1989.

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Parishioners angry sex charges levelled against ‘good’ priest

The Ottawa Citizen

05 February 1990

Francine Dube

Parishioners at St-Rene Goupil Church in Gatineau are outraged at the charges of sexual assault levelled against their priest, Marcel Deschamps.

Deschamps, 51, was charged by the Quebec Police Force on Thursday with assaulting three boys over periods of up to five years.

Court documents say the boys were between 10 and 16 when the attacks began in 1980.

Sunday, most of the 200 parishioners who attended morning masses refused to answer questions about the priest who led their congregation for nine years.

They criticized the media for publicizing the charges and said they support Deschamps. Church officials refused to let a reporter speak to the interim priest, and asked the reporter to leave church grounds.

“Even if he is not guilty, his reputation has been tarnished,” said an angry Ronald Mongeon.

“I think it’s malicious. I don’t think it’s all true,” said Marcel Bedard, 52. “He’s a good priest. He used to come to my house to give communion to my mother-in-law and my father-in-law at home.

“If it’s true, he deserves what he gets. If it’s false, we’ll help him.”

Parishioners for 20 years, Joseph and Germaine Desjardins said they were “very surprised” at the accusations, and added they thought Deschamps was a good priest.

Chantal Seguin and Bruno Paquin said the charges levelled against Deschamps won’t stop them from attending mass.

“If he’s guilty, he will be punished by God,” said Seguin.

Seguin said Deschamps looked after his parish well, and went out of his way to talk to parishioners.

At mass, the congregation was urged to show solidarity in face of the crisis. They were told Deschamps is “living a nightmare.”

“Do not judge others, God alone will judge,” they were told.

The bishop of Gatineau-Hull, Roger Ebacher, suspended Deschamps immediately after the priest’s arrest. Ebacher heads a national church committee that is studying the problem of sexual abuse by priests.

Deschamps was released after appearing before a Quebec Justice of the Peace on condition he not communicate with the boys or be alone with anyone younger than 18. He is to appear in Quebec Court Feb. 7 to enter a plea.

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Gatineau priest charged with sexual assault of boys

The Ottawa Citizen

02 February 1990

George Kalogerakis

A Roman Catholic priest in Gatineau was charged Thursday with sexually assaulting four boys during the past decade.

The Quebec Police Force charged Marcel Deschamps, 51-year-old parish priest for St-Rene Goupil Church, with assaulting three boys over periods of up to five years.

Court documents accuse Deschamps of assaulting the boys in Gatineau, Hull and at Deschamps’s cottage in Kazabazua. The documents say the boys were between 10 and 16 when the attacks began. They say the first attack was in 1980.

Police also charged Deschamps with sexually assaulting a 10-year-old boy in December 1989.

The bishop of Gatineau-Hull, Roger Ebacher, suspended Deschamps immediately after the priest’s arrest Thursday. Ebacher heads a national church committee that is studying the problem of sexual abuse by priests.

Ebacher said he feels the pain the victims, his priest and the congregation are going through as a result of the charges.

“My support is with all the people who are touched by this,” he told a news conference.

Parishioners at the Raymond Street church, where Deschamps has been the priest since 1981, said the charges came as a surprise.

Jaime Escayola said he had never heard complaints of any kind about the priest.

“This is a tragedy for everybody,” said Escayola.”I have four children who spent time with him and they said nothing bad about him.

“He is a good priest. I think he did his work better than most of us do our jobs.”

“He is a proper man and for me this is a tragedy,” said Leo Potvin.

Gilles St. Amour said he would be happy to see Deschamps return to the parish.

Deschamps appeared Thursday afternoon before Justice of the Peace Christine Rivet. She ordered Deschamps released until his trial, but told him to not to communicate with the boys or be alone with anyone younger than 18 years old. Deschamps is to appear in Quebec Court Feb. 7 to enter a plea.

Ebacher said the diocese began began an internal investigation of Deschamps three weeks ago, following allegations from congregation members. It was put on hold after the diocese learned police were also investigating.

QPF Const. Richard Bourdon said the police investigation began in December following complaints by one of the boys.

Ebacher was named to head the national committee in the fall because his diocese was one of the first to bring in sexual abuse guidelines. The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops set up the committee following well-publicized allegations of sex abuse by priests in Newfoundland and the rest of Canada.

After a study in 1986, the diocese adopted guidelines on investigating allegations against priests and trying to prevent sexual abuse by priests.

A diocesan administrator, Marcel Wolfe, said that once an allegation is made, a priest is named to make an internal investigation to see if there is enough evidence to go to police.

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Quebec priest faces charges of sex abuse

Toronto Star

02 February 1990

OTTAWA (CP) – A Roman Catholic priest in Gatineau, Que., has been charged with sexually assaulting four boys over the past decade.

The Quebec provincial police yesterday charged Marcel Deschamps, the 51-year-old parish priest for St. Rene Goupil Church, with assaulting three boys over periods of up to five years.

Court documents accuse Deschamps of assaulting the boys in the Quebec communities of Gatineau, Hull and Kazabazua, where Deschamps has a cottage.

The documents say the boys were between 10 and 16 when the attacks began in 1980.

Police also charged Deschamps with sexually assaulting a 10-year- old boy in December, 1989.

The bishop of Gatineau-Hull, Roger Ebacher, suspended Deschamps immediately after the priest’s arrest.

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