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December 1964: Voice of the North (December ’64 edition of Beauval Indian Residential School school paper. At that time Father Norbert Dufault omi was Principal and Paul Leroux was “Boy’s supervisor.” Both are now convicted molesters.)
The following information is drawn from the 19999 Oblate Directory (OD99), Canadian Catholic Church Directories (CCCD), media (M) and OMI Lacombe publication vol 8 No 5 (O)
21 June 2013: celebrating 60 years as a priest
2012, 2011, 2010: 151 Despins St., Winnipeg, Manitoba (CCCD) address for Résidence Despins, a centre for independent living
January 2004: GUILTY plea to sex assault of eight native girls during the 1950s and ’60s while serving in Dillon, Sask. (M)
2002, 2000,1999, 1998, 1997, 1995, 1994, 1993: P.O. Box 35 A. R.R. #2, Lorette, Manitoba. Ph: 204-878-3647 or P.O. Box 47, GRP 40 (CCCD)
This is the address for maison de croissance or Homes for Growth. The latter was a PRH retreat and spiritual community set up by Sister Jeanne Wilfort, a Holy Cross nun supported by the Holy Cross and Oblate Fathers. In addition to establishing a number of these Homes for Growth Sister Wilfert was allegedly busily sexually abusing nuns and other females (Father Eric Dejaeger omi was holed up in a House for Growth in Milner Ridge Manitoba between court appearances in the late 80s. He was actually ordered by the court to stay there until his next appearance)
1988-1990: Misericoride Hospital, Edmonton, Alberta (OD99)
1985-87: St. Peter, Winnipeg, Manitoba (OD99)
1985-86: address for St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church, Winnipeg Manitoba (Pastor Father M. Koryluk) (CCCD)
1982-84: Elie, Manitoba (OD99)
1978-82: The Pas
1977-78: Vonda, Saskatchewan (OD99)
1975-77: Holy Spirit, Saskatoon, Sask. (OD99)
1971-75: The Pas (OD99)
1965-70: Patuanak, Sask The Pas
1968-69, 1967: RCM Patuanak, Saskatchewan, with missions in Dipper Lake, Primeau Lake and Pine River (CCCD)
early 1963-1964: Beauval Indian Residential School (OD99)
late 50’s: Dillon, Saskatchewan (M) (Dillon is a Dene community about 360 km north of Batleford, Saskatchewan)
1961-63? : Principal at Beauval Indian Residential School, Beauval, Saskatchewan (O)
Father Dufault was molesting at the residential school in Beauval, Saskatchewan (M)
1956-63: Dillon, Sask. The Pas
1954-61: Dillon, Saskatchewan (O)
Father Norbert Dufault was molesting in Dillon (M)
1959: Dillon, Saskatchewan (CCCD)
1954: sent to Laloche, Saskatchewan to learn the Dene language
1948-1954: Scholasticate in Lebret, Saskatchewan (O)
21 June 1953: ORDAINED
Fall 1947: entered Oblate Novitiate
11 May 1924: Born at St. Lupician, Manitoba (O)
omi Lacombe Canada
February 04 2011 Volume 8, Number 05
NORBERT DUFAULT, OMI
By Nestor Gregoire, OMI
Norbert carries himself very straight and is reluctant to acknowledge his health difficulties. He sat down, placed the cup of coffee in front of me and we began.
Norbert was born at St. Lupician, Manitoba, ( part of the Notre Dame de Loudres Parish), May 11, 1924. He entered the Oblate Novitiate in the fall of 1947; scholasticate in Lebret (1948-1954) and was ordained a priest, June 21, 1953.
His first assignment was to learn the Dene Language. He was sent to Laloche, Saskatchewan, in 1954. It was here that he became fluent in the Dene tongue and ministered in this language for seventeen years. From 1954-61 he ministered in Dillon, Saskatchewan. He was then appointed principal of the Beauval Residential School in Beauval, Saskatchewan, for two years. Moving in the same district, he spent the next six years in Patuanek, Saskatchewan.
There was always a lot of manual work that had to be done in the missions. Norbert relates the experience of trying to bring the young men in Dillon to help make a skating rink. All the water had to be hauled in a large tank on a sled from the lake. It took a lot of cooperation but the skating rink did get built although the horse used to pull the sled became exhausted and died pulling the sled up the hill.
To make contact with the smaller communities Norbert would walk the thirty miles with a packsack, visiting along the way. At Buffalo Narrows he would pick up the necessary groceries and walk back to Dillon. When he was stationed in Patuanek he would stay one week at Diepper Lake, then at Primerose Lake and paddle the forty miles to Cree Lake. During the early years of his ministry he would also use the services of a man who owned a dog team and later on use the ski-do’s when they were introduced to the North.
In the summer Norbert always used his boat but when travelling to Ile a la Crosse, which was sixty miles distant, he was always cautious about a storm coming up and the heavy winds that could blow up suddenly.
From here he was transferred to the parish of The Pas for five years, Saskatoon for two years and then back to the Pas for seven years. He moved South to the parishes of Ely / St. Eustache and St. Francois Xavier. Then he was moved into the city of Winnipeg with the Philippine people and served as hospital chaplain at Seven Oaks.
There is a strong love and concern for people, especially senior citizens. He mentioned how much he enjoyed visiting them and celebrating Mass in the Care Home. Even when some are not agreeable Norbert spoke with wisdom: “You accept them. That is the way they are.”
Norbert speaks in very positive terms about his move to the Despins community. “I did not mind moving. I was glad to come here. We are nine communities together and learn a lot from one another. All have a vocation. Here you can talk to everyone and there is an exchange of views. I think it was the best thing to come here. This is the first community of this type in Canada.” From his suite he can look out over the city park. “I enjoy my view of the park, the birds, squirrels and the crows. I like nature.”
As a young man Norbert played all the sports when he lived on the farm. Now, as a spirited and committed hockey fan he cheers his Canadiens. Remembering their defeat over Pittsburg, he lifts his eyes: “They did a miracle.”
In good health at eighty-six he is confident that he can still manage and look after himself. When asked about the best part of being an Oblate Norbert stroked his chin and responded, “It was getting to know the other Oblates in Keewatin. The nearest Oblate was not too close but we did it. Last year we joined the Oblates of the other Provinces…..we should have joined earlier.”
Time to stress abuse victims not to blame
The Saskatoon Star Phoenix
13 January 2004
Just more than five-and-a-half-feet tall, thin and his body withered by age and illness, he is an unlikely poster boy for the evil that has caused the federal government to apologize and offer up $2 billion in compensation.
Yet when this Manitoba Oblate missionary, who was sentenced last week to two years in prison for sexually assaulting children under his care, was plunked down on the shores of Peter Pond Lake almost half a century ago, it sent out ripples that continue to wash across this country.
We have become accustomed to the stories of abuse stemming from Canada’s residential school system. It’s important to note Dufault’s crimes didn’t begin when he took over the school in Beauval but go back at least to when he took over as parish priest in the tiny community of Dillon.
It is also important to note that, given the nature and extended period of his crimes and position of authority, it is likely that his victims numbered in the dozens, far more than the eight he faced in court.
Should one do a forensic audit on the harm done by Dufault’s crimes, tracing back to the original victims and their parents, siblings, extended families, spouses, children and grandchildren — not to mention the communities where he lived and even to the faith that he professed — the true horror of his selfish actions becomes apparent.
He wasn’t just a pervert in their midst, he was for parent and child alike, their confessor and their spiritual adviser. Children who dared speak of his deeds were punished by families and isolated in their community.
And the problem didn’t end with his leaving town to take over the residential school in Beauval. One of the victims told Bruce Slusar, her lawyer, that after a road was finally built into the isolated community of Dillon in the 1980s, she contacted the RCMP to complain about what happened when she was a child, only to be told Manitoba was outside their jurisdiction.
As recently as Monday, one of his victims told The SP that the pain of going through with the court case would have been lessened if she had the support of her community.
But it isn’t just the village of Dillon which must support these victims. Dufault was one priest in a system of cultural genocide and assimilation. As difficult as it is to estimate the legion of his victims, we don’t know how many of these monsters our society set loose on the children of Canada’s original citizens.
They have left in their wake countless victims unable to form familial relations, suffering from depression and turning to substance abuse.
The government has set aside $350 million to help the victims heal and another $1.7 billion to compensate for damages stemming from the residential schools alone. That, however, doesn’t even begin to address the painful reality of what these persons did on our behalf.
It’s sad to note that, almost 50 years after Dufault first began abusing the children of Dillon, Native children on the streets of Saskatoon are still being assaulted on an almost daily basis. We seem as impotent to stop the abuse now as we were unwilling for decades to seriously take action against the monsters of the north.
Last year Coun. Owen Fortosky exclaimed his frustration over how the problem seems to be the subject of studies and reports but no solutions.
“We still have kids getting into cars with the scumbags of the Earth and we’re not doing anything … I’m not sure when to express these things anymore because nothing gets done,” he said.
Slusar notes that, in the United States elderly priests convicted of multiple instances of sexual assault on children were often sentenced to decades in prison, compared with Dufault’s two years.
There is little point in trying to deal with the legacy of the abuse, such as the dysfunctional families and victims caught up in substance abuse, without getting to the root of the problem.
A good start would be for society to echo the words of Justice Don Krueger, when he told the women in his courtroom on Friday: “You have nothing to be ashamed of. You were just children.”
It is only when the victims realize the tables have turned — those who had the power to destroy their childhood are now the powerless and the rest of us are now ready to listen and take action, not only against their historic abusers but those still pursuing their children — will we all begin to heal.
Steven Gibb, Gerry Klein, Les MacPherson, Sarath Peiris and Lawrence Thoner collaborate in writing SP editorials
Oblate faces two years for sexual assaults
The Edmonton Journal
11 January 2004
BATTLEFORD, SASK. – A 79-year-old Manitoba Oblate priest was sentenced to two years in prison Friday after pleading guilty to sexual assault on eight native girls during the 1950s and ’60s.
Father Norbert Dufault sat in the prisoners’ dock of the Battleford courtroom with his shoulders slumped during sentencing. Some of Dufault’s victims sat on the wooden benches behind him, shyly applauding.
Dufault, who suffers from heart and lung diseases as well as prostate cancer, had nothing to say to the court or the victims. The eight charges to which he pleaded guilty stem from the time when he served as parish priest in the remote Dene community of Dillon, about 360 kilometres north of Battleford, on the shores of Peter Pond Lake.
Through victim impact statements read in court, some of the eight women named in the charges said the damage from the assaults has haunted them all their lives.
Priest jailed for sex assaults: Warning: Some readers may find graphic content offensive
The Saskatoon Star Phoenix
10 January 2004
BATTLEFORD — A 79-year-old Manitoba Oblate priest was sentenced to two years in prison Friday after pleading guilty to sexual assault on eight Native girls during the 1950s and ’60s.
Father Norbert Dufault sat in the prisoners’ dock of the historic Battlefords courtroom with his shoulders slumped as Justice Don Krueger read his sentence. Some of Dufault’s victims sat on the wooden benches behind him, shyly applauding.
The eight charges Dufault pleaded guilty to related to the time he served as parish priest in the remote Dene community of Dillon, about 360 kilometres north of Battleford, on the shores of Peter Pond Lake.
Dufault was in his early 30s when he took over the parish, serving not only as priest but also as the community’s provider of rudimentary medical services, according to an agreed statement of facts presented to court.
It was in these positions that he took advantage of the children of the community, the documents said.
And for some of the eight victims identified in the charges (their names are protected by a court order), the damage from the assaults has haunted them all their lives, they said in their victim impact statements.
“It is hard for me to trust or get close to anyone,” one woman wrote. “Even my kids were mostly raised by my parents.”
Another wrote that “facing this man in a courtroom in January is the toughest thing that I can think of doing.”
The presence of the accused “is a testament to their courage,” their lawyer Bruce Slusar told the court.
But unlike the meek children the priest was able to fondle and assault, the women in Battleford Friday courageously faced the man they said ruined their lives.
One victim, who Slusar said hadn’t seen Dufault since the ’60s, broke down when she entered the courtroom. Others cried at times but, throughout most of the two-hour proceedings in the oak- panelled courtroom, the victims and their supporters sat quietly watching the proceedings.
“It is seldom a court sends someone who is almost 80 years of age to two years in prison,” Krueger said.
Dufault’s offences were so clearly premeditated, persisted over such a long period of time and on victims so young, however, the sentence is appropriate, he said.
“Norbert Dufault, I say you have betrayed, not only the victims, but also the order you believe in and the Christian faith we all practice,” the judge said.
There was a common theme to the offences, said William Campbell, the Crown prosecutor handling the case.
While Dufault was parish priest in Dillon, he lived in the church rectory and would, at times, place the girls on a table, hike up their dresses, remove their panties, place a pillow on their stomachs and fondle their vaginal areas. Some of the children were as young as six.
At times, he would penetrate them digitally. On other occasions, he would rub his penis against them, but there was never intercourse, according to the agreed upon facts.
In many cases, the assaults were done while Dufault wore his black cassock and, on at least one occasion, it was done in the confessional.
Sometimes the children were assaulted after being told by the priest to come to the rectory following religious classes.
Dufault not only betrayed his responsibility as an adult looking after children but also his role as spiritual leader in the community, Slusar told the judge.
The assaults and damage continued even after the priest left Dillon, court was told. Dufault left his position as parish priest in 1963 to take on the role as manager of the residential school in Beauval — the very place many of the victims had to go to get an education. Beauval is 300 kilometres north of Battleford.
One victim wrote that, while she was at the residential school, she found out Dufault had concocted an excuse to keep her sister after class. The victim confronted the principal, warning him that if he assaulted her younger sibling she would make his offences public.
The sister was saved but the victim was subsequently expelled and her education curtailed, she wrote.
In many cases, the victims wrote the assaults caused them to become isolated from their families, become despondent (some wrote of suicide attempts, drug and alcohol abuse and the loss of their children) and have a limited education.
In one case, a woman wrote that her son — who had wanted to become a priest until she vehemently objected — had become resentful of her pressing charges.
“They were robbed of their childhood, of their dignity and their worth as human beings,” Slusar said.
They also resented knowing Dufault went on to continue his career.
“I know from reading the statements that it would have been extremely difficult for you to testify,” Krueger said. The courts often insist it is the duty of people to come forward when they have been criminally injured “but, while it works well in theory, it is rarely to the advantage of the victims,” he added.
Besides sentencing Dufault, Krueger also reminded Slusar and the victims that the federal government has announced a $1.7-billion plan to settle claims stemming from the abuse that took place in the residential school system. Settlements, based on court-ordered payouts, would range from $5,000 to $195,000, to reflect the severity of abuse.
Keith Kilback, Dufault’s lawyer, told the court that Dufault has been trying to make amends. When his superior told him in 1990 about the allegations being made, the priest immediately owned up to his past. The Oblates then took him out of service and put him in a separate residence in Lorette, Man., where he has been for the past 13 years, Kilback said.
In the late 1990s, the priest also agreed to return to Dillon where he allowed his accusers to face him at a town hall meeting.
“He is quite aware of the pain these actions caused,” Kilback said.
But the intervening years have been difficult for the priest as well, he added.
“He apologized (to the victims and community) and voluntarily faced his accusers,” Kilback told the court. “Tragically, that is all he is able to offer at this point.”
On Friday, however, suffering from heart and lung diseases and prostate cancer, Dufault had nothing to say to the court or the victims.
Krueger expressed the hope, however, that the women would be able to overcome the injury.
“This is very traumatic for you,” he said. “You were very young and (the assaults) came from someone in the religious community.”
Not only were the women victimized, so were their families and all of society, he said.
“You have nothing to be ashamed of. You were young children.”