Fortier: Monsignor Benoit Fortier

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Société historique de Field Collection

Monsignor Benoit M.  Fortier

Priest Diocese of Sualt St. Marie.  Ordained 07 June 1941.   2003 GUILTY plea to charges of 1987  sex abuse of boy – 12 months house arrest.  2006: found unfit to stand trial – charges related to 1963 sex abuse of young boy stayed.

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Bishops of Sault Ste. Marie Diocese from time of Father Benoit Fortier’s ordination:   Ralph Hubert Dignan  (22 December 1934 – 22 November 1958);  Alexander Carter  (Coadjutor Bishop: 10 Dec 1956 – Bishop 22 November 1958 – 03 May 1985); Marcel André J. Gervais (03 May 1985 –  13 May 1989  when appointed, Coadjutor Archbishop of Ottawa, Ontario) ; Jean-Louis Plouffe (02 December 1989  –  )

Auxiliary bishops:  Adolphe E. Proulx  (2 Jan 1965 – 28 April 1967 [ also served as Chancellor from 1960 – 1965] ); Roger-Alfred Despatie (20 May 1968 – 8 February 1973); Gérard Dionne ( 29 January 1975 – 23 November 1983);  Bernard Francis Pappin (29 January 1975 – 27 Aug 1998);   Jean-Louis Plouffe (12 Dec 1986 – Bishop 02 Dec 1989);  Paul-André Durocher ( 20 January 1997 – 27 April 2002); Robert Harris 26 October 2002 – 8 May 2007); Brian Joseph Dunn (16 July 2008 – 21 Nov 2009).

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The following information is drawn from Canadian Catholic Directories (CCCD) which I have on hand, the 1980 Ontario Catholic directory (OCD) and media (M)

2012: not listed in index (CCCD)

2006:  found unfit to stand trial.  Sex abuse charges stayed (M)

2003:  GUILTY plea to one count sexual assault (additional charges dropped in plea bargain). (M)

2002, 1999:  address for Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church, Sturgeon Falls, Ontario (Pastor Father Denis Savignac) (CCCD)

1995, 1991:  514-1525 rue Paris, Sudbury, Ontario 705-523-4425

1987: sex abuse of boy during skiing and camping vacation in River Vally, northwest of Sturgeon Falls (M) – 12 months house arrest (M)

1985-1986:  Pastor, Notre-Dame de la Merci Roman Catholic Church,  Coniston, Ontario(M)

1980: Pastor, St. Jean Baptiste Roman Catholic church,  Verner, Nippising District (OCD)

-Diocesan consultor (OCD) and several other years

1973-74, 1971-72, 1968-69: Pastor, St. Jean Baptiste Roman Catholic church,  Verner, Nippising District (M)

1967, 1959:  Pastor, St. Eugene, Sudbury, Ontario (M)

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Elderly priest found not fit to stand trial on abuse charge

NorthernLife.ca

Apr 18, 2006

By:

A Catholic priest charged with molesting a Sudbury altar boy more than 30 years ago was found unfit to stand trial following a brief hearing late last week at the Sudbury Courthouse.

Outside the courthouse, Richard Brazeau, 52, a man who says he was sexually molested during a single incident by Father Benoit Fortier, also known as Bernard Fortier, who is now in his 90s, asked other victims of sexual abuse by priests to come forward.

Brazeau said he suffered emotional scars for many years until he finally got counselling three years ago.

Benoit’s lawyer Denis Michel presented a doctor’s letter to the court, and assistant Crown attorney Julie Lefebvre didn’t oppose Michel’s request Fortier be deemed unfit to stand trial.

Justice William Fitzgerald agreed to Lefebvre’s request to stay the charges filed against Benoit in relation to one count of sexually assaulting Brazeau while parish priest at a Sudbury church in 1963.

Fortier has late-stage Alzheimer’s disease and couldn’t understand the charges against him or properly advise counsel, Michel told the court.

Fortier was convicted in 2003 of sexually assaulting a young boy back in 1987 near Sturgeon Falls. At a court hearing in North Bay in June  2003, Fortier pleaded guilty to one count of sexual assault and one count of gross indecency.

Michel submitted a doctor’s report at that hearing explaining Fortier was suffering from the early stages of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

The presiding judge sentenced Fortier to a daily curfew and ordered him to not have any contact with his victim and not be alone with anyone under the age of 16.

Brazeau has been married three times, abused drugs and alcohol and has has a poor relationship with his children.

“It’s only after three years of therapy that I’m starting to have any kind of relationship with my kids again,” said Brazeau. “I know there are others out there who are hurting…I’m hoping they might come forward and seek help.”

Brazeau said he fully expected the court to rule Fortier not competent to stand trial and that doesn’t bother him because he knows Fortier is a very feeble and elderly man, but he wanted to tell his story to try and help other victims.

“I’m trying to help others who were victims…that’s my greatest hope,” he said.

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Priest too sick to stand trial

The Sudbury Star

22 April 2006

Retired Catholic priest Bernoit Fortier will not stand trial on charges he sexually interfered with a young boy almost four decades ago.

The charge against Fortier, who is now 90, was to have been heard in Sudbury.

But when Fortier’s lawyer produced a doctor’s letter saying the priest’s health was so fragile that he could not withstand the rigours of a trial, the Sudbury Crown’s office agreed to stay the charge.

The lawyer explained that Fortier is weak and suffering from either dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

Three years ago, Fortier pleaded guilty in North Bay court to one count of sexual assault in connection with an incident involving a 14-year-old boy.

Additional charges of gross indecency and sexual assault were dropped.

He was given house arrest and put under strict conditions that included a curfew.

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Priest charged in 40-year-old case: Offence alleged to have occurred in the 1960s

The Sudbury Star

14 April 2005

Laura Stradiotto

Greater Sudbury Police have charged a high-level Sudbury priest with indecent assault in an alleged incident which occurred during the 1960s.

Msgr. Benoit Menard Joseph Fortier was stationed at St. Eugene, a French Catholic Church on Eyre Street, when the alleged incident involving a male occurred.

The 89-year-old priest will appear in court May 11.

The male victim came forward earlier this year, and as a result a two-month investigation ensued, said Insp. Dan Markiewich.

Officials from the Diocese of Sault Ste. Marie were not available for comment.

Markiewich urged anyone with information to this alleged incident — or any other incident — to contact police. In some cases when such a charge is publicized, more victims come forward, the inspector said.

When Donald Holmes, a former priest at St. Jean de Brebeuf, was charged with indecent assault in Jan. 2000, the media widely publicized the incident.

A month later, police laid more charges and when Holmes went to trial two years later, a total of 13 women said they were victimized by the priest.

Holmes was convicted of two counts of sexual assault and 14 counts of indecent assault and sentenced May 2002 to two years less a day in prison.

Police issued a public warning when Holmes was released from jail in Dec. 2003, saying he was at high risk to re-offend.

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Sexual abuse of boy lands retired priest house arrest

The Sudbury Star

06 June 2003

Maria Calabrese

NORTH BAY — Before turning the gun on himself, a 14-year-old boy planned to shoot the retired Catholic priest, a close family friend, who sexually abused him at a remote cottage near Sturgeon Falls 15 years ago, a court here was told this week.

What the court did not hear was any remorse from Benoit Fortier, 87, who told court he’s more troubled that his 12 months under house arrest will keep him from enjoying a yearly holiday.

Fortier pleaded guilty Tuesday to one count of sexual assault, a plea bargain that resulted in additional charges of gross indecency and sexual assault being dropped.

“He tells me if he would meet this man — yell and scream at him, to tell him how he has ruined his life — the hurt might go away and he could start living again,” the victim’s mother writes in a statement submitted to the court.

“I can only hope one day he can find closure and start a new and happy life. God knows this boy deserves it.”

Sudbury lawyer Denis Michel submitted a doctor’s report, explaining Fortier is suffering from the early stages of either dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

Ontario Court Justice Randall Lalande ordered Fortier to follow a curfew from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m., with exceptions, have no contact with the victim or family and not be alone with anyone under the age of 16.

The family cannot be identified because of a publication ban protecting the victim’s identity.

“His schooling suffered and he had to see various counsellors and psychologists,” his father writes.

Now an adult, “a feeling of poor self-worth” keeps his son from holding down jobs. He goes missing for months, with his parents in pursuit to reclaim him.

His father previously said their guilt still consumes them, having entrusted their son to Fortier during a skiing and camping vacation in 1987 at an isolated cottage in River Valley, northwest of Sturgeon Falls.

After the assault, the boy picked up a gun Fortier used for hunting, feeling that he wanted to kill the priest for what he had done, and then kill himself, said Crown attorney John Benson.

DISCLOSED THE ABUSE

The boy gradually disclosed the abuse to family members, and eventually confided in the West Nipissing Police Service last June.

Although uninvited, Fortier attended a family event in West Nipissing where his victim ran out of the room upon his arrival, court was told.

“I held him in my arms as he shook and cried uncontrollably,” the father writes. “And through his tears, he kept saying, ‘It’s him. It’s him.’

“At that time, I knew without a doubt this man would have to answer for his actions, not only to God, but in a court of law.”

The Nugget

13 Responses to Fortier: Monsignor Benoit Fortier

  1. Pierre Joly says:

    *I happened to come across this article about Father Fortier, I was assulted by him as well when my family lived in Sauit Ste Marie.  I had no idea that he had done this to at least one other person.  I have no idea if he is still living or not but I have decided to take legal action and it isn’t for purpose of getting any monies because no amount of money can compensate the damage that has been done.  Thank you for publishing this article about this priest and what he has done.

    Sincerely,

    Pierre Joly

    • Michael Gallop says:

      It’s been many many years…. But a lot of the stories you read is about me. Statements from my mom an dad, the family get together was my uncles funeral, and he had the guts to show up. That was the first time I seen him since I went to the police with my dad in sturgeon falls. I am glad I went to the police, but still find myself struggling. Hence why I found this site tonight, years later. Is it odd to read the words and start to shack and feel scared all over. The same way I felt in the cottage. Oh we’ll , another day past another day to arrow , I’ll be back someday, cause I still cat forget . Michael Gallop. Hope more time can remove the nightmares!!

  2. Sylvia says:

    Good for you Pierre!  I am sorry that you were molested by this man, but happy that you are ready speak up and take action.  That is good news. 

    Rest assured you are not the only one who feels that he/she is the only victim of a predatory priest.  Most victims think they must be the only one.  Sadly that is usually not the case – there are usually more victims out there feeling exactly the same way.  It is rare indeed that a clerical molester molests one child and stops.  

    I have added two more articles and a little more information Pierre.  I don’t know if Father Fortier is dead or not.  You go ahead and start the process and do what you must do.  If you plan to have him charged then go to the police – if he is dead you will find out.

    My thoughts and prayers are with you.

  3. Pierre Joly says:

    Sylvia how would I find out the birth date of Fr. Benoit Fortier? I am attempting to fill out my CICB claim and they ask for his date of birth?

    Keep up the great work!

  4. Sylvia says:

    I will be in touch Michael.

    I am also going to ask both you and Pierre Joly if you would be willing to share a picture of yourselves at or around the age you were when you were molested. This would be to post on The Children‘s page (and also for that matter on Father Fortier’s page). I think the pictures of “the children” are so very important – they help people to understand that you were just children, and perhaps, just perhaps they might be an integral part of a mechanism which spares other children the same fate endured by yourselves. It would be a little reaching out to others to help them.

    I extend that invitation to other. There are enough of you out there that the page should be bursting and I howling about the technicalities of having to open a new page to cope 🙂 Please , please put that burden on my shoulders 🙂 For the sake of the children.

    • RG says:

      I wrote in about my own abuse abuse by father Benoit Fortier and i would like to know if any altar boys between 1967 to 1972 had any other similar problems around that particular time frame

  5. R.G says:

    I’ve been living with this terrible secret for over 40+I was a victim of Benoit Fortier as a altar boy in the 60’and 70′ .I don’t know why I have been waitting for I can only tell you that my childhood was stolen from me and my dream of becoming a priest myself was shattered after many year of abuse by him.I ran away from home and lived on the street of Montreal as a teenager to survived I prostitute myself as a way to get money but I was used to that kind of abused even before i met the priest my life as been a terrible nightmare .I just started to used a computer maybe it was meant to be that way Im just verry sorry I couldnt have spoken early maybe they wouldn’t have been so many victims and i wouldnt have become a monster myself sorry

    • Miecul says:

      R. G. don’t blame yourself for the Priest victimizing others. I did the same thing for years. One fact is that if you had of told someone back in the late 60’s , 70’s no one would have believed you. It would have been you that would have been made a bigger victim. Besides you were a child.

      I also had visions of becoming a Priest when I was a boy, only to be shattered by a pedophile priest. I didn’t tell a soul for over 40 years. But I did come forward he was charged and he went to the crowbar hotel. I’m better now, not perfect, as everyone of us that’s been victimized by a priest, knows and lives with an internal pain that is always there.

      Has this priest ever been charged? Do you know of others he’s abused? No one can tell you what to do, either to have him charged or not. One thing I would suggest is to seek professional help. I didn’t want to at first myself,but I’m glad I listen to a friends advice.

      Why do you call yourself a monster, when he’s the monster? This crime against you is a life altering event that can never be undone, but you can learn to love and forgive yourself. God Bless.

      • R.G says:

        thanks for the words of encouragement I REALLY APPRECIATE IT.I know of 2 other boys around the same period of time that where altar boys and friends of mind that I suspect something happen at his cottage at the same time as me but can’t be sure I only can talk about my own experience.I have been in treatement now for the first time in my life. I have been in treatement center and see a wonderful psychologist for the past 3 years.. on and off has it finacially difficult but worth it …I BEGAN FOR THE FIRST TIME TO FEEL THAT LIFE IS WORTH LIVING after i could trust someone a professional who didn’t judge me put supported me in my recovery that is ungoing ….. thx for responding to my comment now’I don’t feel alone anymore

  6. Gilles Lefebvre says:

    I knew him when I was a kid too. He never touched me in a bad way but I sure didn’t feel comfortable around him…he would just get a little too…”close”, if you know what I mean.

    I came to understand later that he didn’t do anything to me because I think he knew that I would have told my parents and that they would have taken action on it. It’s unfortunate but, despite their despicable ways, they were very well educated and intelligent and held a lot of power in the old days. It seems they knew how to prey on the weak and vulnerable.

    R.G. don’t call yourself a monster. You were a victim and anyone who has intelligence and maturity will understand that and will only wish you well.

  7. R.G says:

    HI FROM RG HERE .HAPPY 2018 NEW YEAR,JUST WANTED TO GIVE YOU A UPDATE ON MY OWN RECOVERY PROGRESS I STARTED A MAN GROUP FOR SEXUALY ABUSE MEN IN MY NEW HOME TOWN AREA. I GOT HELP WITH THERAPY THROUGH A GOVERNMENT PROGRAM AND WAS FORTUNATE ENOUGH TO GET FUNDING TO HELP WITH MY THERAPY .IM FINALLY ABLE TO TRUST AGAIN AND ABLE TO LIVE AND FUNCTION WELL IN SOCIETY WITHOUT UP AND DOWN . I HOPE THATEVERY ONE SUFFERING WITH THOSE TERRIBLE SECRETS CAN READ THIS AND KNOW THAT THERE IS LIGHT AT THE END OF THIS DARK TUNNEL. IF THERE HOPE FOR ME THERE HOPE FOR EVERY BODY TAKE IT FROM SOMEBODY THAT USED TO CALL HIMSELF A MONSTER….GOD BLESS FROMRG

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