Mombourquette: Father James Mombourquette

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 Father James A. Mombourquette

Also listed as James Monbourquette in Canadian Catholic Church Directories of the 60s and early 70s.

Priest.  Diocese of Antigonish, Nova Scotia. Ordained 1962. 1992 GUILTY plea to charges related to sex abuse of four boys (eight charges of indecent assault and one charge of sexual assault were dismissed prior to the guilty plea.)  Sentenced to 24 months in prison.  Bishop Colin Campbell did not tell police of allegations because, according to him,  they had transpired 10 to 15 years earlier. At the Momborquette trial Campbell told the judge that Mombourquette was a “very good and holy priest.”  The diocese initially defended itself in a lawsuit by alleging the victims had initiated the sexual activity.  That defence was retracted after  Catholics expressed their outrage.


Bishops of the Diocese of Antigonish from the time of Father Mombourquette’s ordination until his death:

William Edward Power (12 May 1960 – 12 December 1986 ); Colin Campbell (12 December 1986 –  26 October 2002); Raymond John Lahey (05 April 2003 – 26 September 2009)


02 November 1995:  F.W.M. v. James Mombourquette and Roman Catholic & Episcopal Corporation of Antigonish (In 1996 the  Nova Scotia  Court of Appeal overturned this finding that the Diocese was vicarious liable. )

on a young boy by a pries

02 November 1995: M. (F.W.) v. Mombourquette

07 December 1992:  Priest pleads guilty to four charges


The following information is drawn from available legal documents (L), Canadian Catholic Church Directories (CCCD), Obituary (O) and media (M)

(According to his obituary Father Mombourquette served as Associate in St. Hyacinth Parish, D’Escousse, St. Joseph’s, Petit de Grat, and Our Lady of Lourdes, Stellarton.

He served as Pastor in D’Escousse, St. Louis Parish, Louisdale, St. Peter’s, Larry’s River, St. Joseph’s, Petit de Grat, St. Mary’s, Big Pond, and St. Michael’s, Margaree. He also spent a year on faculty of St. F.X. University)

05 May 2005:  Died.  Obitruary on Diocese of Antigonish website:


MOMBOURQUETTE, Rev. James A. – Rev. James Mombourquette, a priest of the Diocese of Antigonish, died on May 5, 2005, in King City, Ont. Father Mombourquette was born in Rockdale, Richmond Co., on July 26, 1932, a son of Charles and Veronique Mombourquette. After high school graduation he went to St. Anne’s College, Church Point, from which he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in 1955. Subsequently he studied for the priesthood at Holy Heart Seminary, Halifax, and was ordained on June 16, 1962, by Bishop William Power. During his priesthood Father Mombourquette served as Associate in St. Hyacinth Parish, D’Escousse, St. Joseph’s, Petit de Grat, and Our Lady of Lourdes, Stellarton.

He served as Pastor in D’Escousse, St. Louis Parish, Louisdale, St. Peter’s, Larry’s River, St. Joseph’s, Petit de Grat, St. Mary’s, Big Pond, and St. Michael’s, Margaree. He also spent a year on faculty of St. F.X. University. Meanwhile, he had served two terms on the Senate of Priests of the diocese, as well as having assisted on the Marriage Tribunal. Father Mombourquette spent his later years in retirement, first in Monastery, and then in Marylake, Ont. Father Mombourquette is survived by one sister, Anne Marie, St. Isidore, N.B. Besides his parents, he was predeceased by a brother, Douglas. Father Mombourquette was buried in King City, Ont., on May 10, following a funeral mass concelebrated by a number of priests from Antigonish Diocese.

2002:  P.O. Box 556, King City, Ontario.  Phone 613-833-5369 (CCCD) (King City is the location of the Augustinian Monastery/ Marylake Retreat Centre within the Archdiocese of Toronto.  The phone number listed is that of  of the Marylake Retreat Centre.  The centre is operated by the Augustinians [Province of St. Joseph])

2000, 1999, 1998, 1997, 1996:  St. Augustine’s Monastery, Monastery, Nova Scotia (CCCD)

1995, 1994, 1993, 1992:  P. O. Box 1330, Antigonish = Chancery Office/Dioecesan Centre (CCCD)

11 December 1992:  sentenced to 24 months in jail

November 1992: Trial. Immediately before trial agreed to plead guilty to four charges and all additional charges were dropped with, according to reports, consent of the victims.

1992: Preliminary inquiry (L)

1991:  112 North Foord St., New Glasgow, Nova Scotia 902- 752-4822 (CCCD)

1990: RCMP investigation conducted after two boys reported that Mombourquette had taken nude photos of them. Charges laid. Pleaded ‘not guilty’ (L)

1989: according to Warren Zimmer (Mombourquette’s defence lawyer at trial), Mombourquette began seeing a psychiatrist in 1989 ‘long before any charges were laid.’ (M)

Late 80s: Stellarton, Nova Scotia (L)

1985-86:  St. Mary RC Church, Big Pond, Nova Scotia (CCCD – listed as Mombourquette)

70s:  served in Louisdale, Nova Scotia.  While in Lousdale began to sexually molest eight-year-old Rob Bowden

1973-74, 1971-72:  St. Hyacinth R C Church, D’Escousse, Nova Scotia (CCCCD – listed as Monbourquette)

member of the Diocesan Music Committe (Chairman Father D.J. Murphy)

1968-69: Pastor, St. Hyacinth R C Church, D’Escousse, Nova Scotia (CCCCD – listed as Monbourquette)

member of the Diocesan Music Committe (Chairman Father D.J. Murphy) (CCCCD – listed as Monbourquette)

sexually  abusing a young boy in the parish(L)

1967:  St. Joseph RC Church, Petit de Gratas Nova Scotia  (Pastor Father John J. MacDonald 2) (CCCCD – listed as Monbourquette)

member of the Diocesan Music Committe (Chairman Father D.J. Murphy) (CCCD -listed as Monbourquette)

16 June 1962: ORDAINED by Bishop William Power for Diocese of Antigonish. Nova Scotia (O) (seminary studies and formation at Holy Heart Seminary, Halifax, Nova Scotia)

1955: BA, St. Anne’s College, Church Pointy, Nova Scotia (O)

26 July 1932: Born in Rockdale, Richmond Co. (O)


Abuse apology changed life of Cape Breton man

CBC News

18 May 2011

A Cape Breton man says the settlement between the Roman Catholic Diocese of Antigonish and people who were sexually abused by priests has given him a new chance at life.

Rob Bowden has never talked publicly about the abuse before, but he said he’s speaking out now in light of the controversy about Bishop Raymond Lahey, the man who negotiated a $15-million class action settlement for victims of sexual abuse by priests.

Lahey pleaded guilty May 4 to a charge of possession of child pornography for the purposes of importation to Canada. He was remanded into custody until his sentencing scheduled for May 26.

Bowden grew up in the Acadian village of Louisdale in the 1970s in a devout Catholic family.

“I couldn’t wait to be an altar boy because we all knew how important it was,” he said. “It’s what we wanted.”

That changed when James Mombourquette arrived in Louisdale as parish priest and began sexually abusing Bowden when he was eight years old.

“I remember the first time it happened. I remember the night, the evening, like it was yesterday,” Bowden said. “I remember walking home, and I’ve never been the same since.”

He said that for many years he kept what had happened a secret, and tried to cope by drinking, doing drugs and abusing friendships.

“I don’t know how I lived through it because, you know, to be honest, most of the time I didn’t care if I did or not,” Bowden said.

Bishop Raymond Lahey arrives at an Ottawa courthouse earlier this month.

Bishop Raymond Lahey arrives at an Ottawa courthouse earlier this month. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

A couple of years ago, he found out on the internet about the class action suit against the diocese. He said that five minutes on the phone with the lawyer convinced him to sign on .

“I never felt like somebody would stand up and fight for me,” Bowden said.

The apology from the diocese and the acknowledgement of what happened to him has changed his life, he said.

But Bowden is worried that the focus on Lahey is diverting attention from what this settlement means.

“It will stand the test of time — guaranteed — because it is right and fair and decent,” he said.

Bowden said that for the first time he has a steady job, a stable relationship and is considering going back to church.


Nova Scotia Church not liable for priests, court says

Toronto Globe and Mail

15 July 1996

HALIFAX — A landmark ruling that held the Roman Catholic Church responsible for crimes by its priests has been overturned on appeal.

The Nova Scotia Court of Appeal also ruled on Friday that Francis Wayne McDonald, an abused former altar boy, doesn’t deserve more than the $23,000 he was awarded for pain and suffering, and ordered him to pay the church’s $3,500 legal fees.

The church’s Antigonish diocese asked the appeal court to reverse a 1995 Nova Scotia Supreme Court verdict that found it “vicariously liable” for sexual abuse by Rev. James Mombourquette.

Father Mombourquette was sentenced in 1992 to two years in prison for indecently assaulting four boys in the 1960s and 1970s.

Diocese lawyer Deborah Smith argued at the appeal that there is no evidence the diocese knew what Father Mombourquette was doing. –CP


Law and order Priest ordered to pay lawsuit

Toronto Globe and Mail

03 November 1995

Halifax NS — HALIFAX A Roman Catholic priest is still a priest, even when he strips naked and sexually abuses a child, a Nova Scotia Supreme Court judge ruled in a civil lawsuit yesterday.

The judge ordered the Antigonish diocese in northern Nova Scotia and Rev. James Mombourquette to pay former altar boy Francis Wayne McDonald $23,000 in general damages for pain, suffering and humiliation.

In 1969, Rev. Mombourquette lured the 12-year-old altar boy into his rooms at St. Hyacinth parish, just east of Antigonish, on the pretext of weighing him nude for a weightlifting program. In two subsequent incidents, he had the boy masturbate him.

Mr. Justice Walter Goodfellow rejected the church’s argument that it was not responsible for its priest’s behaviour after hours.

“Father Mombourquette was conducting himself as a parish priest and, although he removed his clothes as part of the assaults, he remained to the then child a priest,” Judge Goodfellow said in the 46-page decision. CP


Bishop never told police about sexual abuse by priest

August 17, 1995  20.21 EST


The head of the Antigonish diocese of the Roman Catholic church admitted Thurdsay he never told police that one of his priests had sexually abused boys.

Bishop Colin Campbell was told in 1989 or 1990 by two men from Petit de Gras, N.S., that Rev. Jim Mombourquette took indecent photos of them as boys, a civil suit was told.

Mombourquette, who pleaded guilty in 1991 to sexually assaulting four young boys, was quietly transferred to another parish. Campbell said he did not tell police about the abuse because the incident occurred 10 to 15 years earlier.

Campbell was testifying before the Nova Scotia Supreme Court in a lawsuit against Mombourquette and the diocese launched by Wayne McDonald, who was assaulted more than 20 years ago by Mombourquette.

The bishop ‑‑ who told Mombourquette’s trial judge the pedophile was a “very good and holy priest” ‑‑ defended his decision not to co‑operate with police during the investigation.

He said he was acting on a lawyer’s instructions when he refused to answer questions about Mombourquette.

RCMP Sgt. William Penny, who was involved in the investigation, testified the priest’s assaults on boys were common knowledge in the parish. He found out about McDonald from the parents of another victim.

McDonald has said that the church treated him like a criminal instead of a victim after Mombourquette’s crimes were exposed.

For a time, the church defended itself against his lawsuit by saying in court documents that McDonald and three other victims, who are also suing, initiated the sexual activity. But it retracted the defence when Catholics became outraged.

McDonald has also said he suffered because of comments by Campbell, who wrote in a 1989 newspaper column that child victims of sexual abuse by Catholic priests in Newfoundland were partly to blame for what happened.

Campbell said he regretted writing the article but was evasive  when questioned by lawyers and the judge about whether he ever made inquiries about Mombourquette’s behavior. He also ducked a question about whether he asked if anyone in the parish knew Mombourquette had assaulted McDonald.

Mombourquette, now 63, was sentenced to two years in jail after a 1991 plea bargain. He admitted to abusing four boys and charges involving nine other boys were dropped.

He served 10 months before he was released and now lives in a monastery in Antigonish County.

He didn’t attend the court proceedings and wasn’t represented by a lawyer.


Defence that blames victim loses favour with church

Toronto Globe and Mail

20 March 1995

Halifax NS – The Antigonish diocese is backing away from a defence against lawsuits that blames victims of sexual abuse by Roman Catholic priests for their problems.

A church spokesman says it will amend the defence, which attracted national media attention and criticism from Nova Scotia Catholics.

The spokesman, who did not wish to be named, told a Halifax newspaper that a victim’s lawyer misinterpreted the statement that any damage or loss the men suffered is the result of “voluntary actions.”

Halifax lawyer John McKiggan, who represents James Davidson of New Glasgow, N.S., said last month he was “astonished that they would allege that a 12-year-old child volunteered to being abused.”

Four men who were sexually abused as boys by three priests in the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s are suing the diocese and the priests. James Mombourquette, 62, and Clair and Claude Richard, 59-year-old twins, have been convicted of several assaults against boys and have served prison terms.

The diocese is dropping a clause in its defence that says: “The defendant states that any activity between the plantiff and the defendant (priest) occurred as a result of a consensual relationship between the parties or alternatively as a result of acts initiated by the plaintiff.” CP


Church blames victims for sexual abuse

Kingston Whig-Standard

25 February 1995

The Diocese of Antigonish in northern Nova Scotia is blaming three victims of sexual abuse by Roman Catholic priests for their problems.

In a defence against three lawsuits, the diocese says any damage the men suffered as boys is the result of their own “`voluntary actions.”

“If the plaintiff has suffered any loss or damage,” the defence statement said, it “was not caused by acts of the defendant, but rather was caused by voluntary actions of the plaintiff for which the defendant is not responsible.”

Since 1992, three priests of the Antigonish diocese have been convicted of sexual offences which occurred in the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s against boys ranging in age from 10 to 17.

Reverends James Mombourquette, 62, and twins Clair and Claude Richard, 59, were sentenced to prison terms and are being sued by their victims.

In one defence, the diocese says any sexual activity between Rev. Clair Richard and an 11-year-old altar boy in the 1970s was the result of a consensual relationship or “acts initiated” by the boy.

The lawyer for a second man says blaming the victim is typical in negligence suits but is “inappropriate” in sexual abuse cases where the psychological damage is well documented.

“In a slip and fall, it’s common to say it’s your fault,” says John McKiggan, who represents James Davidson of New Glasgow, N.S.

“But in this particular case … I am just astonished that they would allege that a 12-year-old child volunteered to being abused.”

Davidson, 32, is suing the diocese and Rev. Claude Richard, who indecently assaulted him 20 years ago.

Davidson says the church knew or ought to have known Richard was sexually deviant and the diocese is “vicariously responsible” for the priest’s actions.


Priest jailed two years

Cape Breton Post

12 December 1992

By SHARON MONTGOMERY Post Correspondent

ARICHAT — Father James Mombourquette, of Stellarton, fought back tears Friday as he was sentenced to 24 months in prison for four counts of indecent assault’.

Supreme Court Judge Jamie Saunders deplored Mombourquette’s “sexual gratification at the victims’ expense.”

Crown Prosecutor Rick MacKinnon told the court the offences were connected with a weight-training program in which Mombourquette got young boys to participate with little or no clothing on.

MacKinnon said the victims ranged in age from 11 to 16, including one who approached Mombourquette for counselling, another who approached him after hearing about the weight program and two others who were altar boys at St. Hyacinth Parish, in D’Escousse, where he was parish priest.

MacKinnon said the offences, which resulted from four separate incidents, involved explicit sexual contact, including nudity, touching, photos and oil massages.

In two incidents, MacKinnon said, Mombourquette placed the victims’ hands on private areas of his body, asking them to rub there, and in another incident took all his clothes off and asked one of the boys if that aroused him.

Defence lawyer Warren Zimmer said Mombourquette had changed his life. He also questioned the seriousness of the offences, reminding the court there was no force involved.

By pleading guilty, Mombourquette was agreeing they were not of the age of consent, he said.

Zimmer said Mombourquette began to see a psychiatrist in 1989, long before any charges were laid.

Mombourquette told the court he wanted to pay his penalty in a monastery, adding: “I’m extremely remorseful. I am 60 and want to get on with my life and be able to return something to society.”

Saunders said the incidents were premeditated.


3 priests face sex charges

The Windsor Star

25 June 1991

SYDNEY, N.S. (CP) – RCMP in Cape Breton have charged three Roman Catholic priests with a series of sexual offences against males between 1965 and last year.

The 30 charges include 23 of indecent assault, four of sexual assault and three of obstruction of justice. The ages of the alleged victims were not released.

The investigation was continuing Monday and more charges were possible, said RCMP Supt. George Timko.

Rev. Clair S. Richard, 55, of Grand Mira, south of Sydney, is charged with one count of sexual assault between January 1985 and last December. He is to appear in court Aug. 14 in Sydney.

Also charged are his twin brother, Rev. Claude Richard of Louisbourg, and Rev. James Mombourquette of Stellarton.

The breakdown of charges against the last two was not immediately known.

THERE WILL be court appearances in the towns of Guysborough on July 10, Arichat on Aug. 7 and Port Hood on Aug. 13.

The accusations against the priests are not related, Timko said.

The charges are the latest in a series of recent sexual abuse accusations against Roman Catholic priests or members of lay orders across Canada.

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