Bathurst diocese defends sex abuse conciliation in ad

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CBC News

Posted: Aug 24, 2012 5:20 PM AT

Last Updated: Aug 24, 2012 6:35 PM AT

The Diocese of Bathurst says 80 out of 86 victims participated in the reconciliation process and accepted compensation.

The Diocese of Bathurst says 80 out of 86 victims participated in the reconciliation process and accepted compensation. (CBC)

The Catholic Diocese of Bathurst has taken out a half-page newspaper ad, defending itself against criticism over a conciliation process offered to 80 sexual abuse victims.

An Ontario lawyer and some of the victims, abused by clerics between the 1950s and 1980s, have argued there wasn’t enough transparency in the process, but in the newspaper statement, the diocese maintains it did everything right.

It hired retired Supreme Court of Canada justice Michel Bastarache a couple of years ago to oversee the process, which included compensation and apologies.

“Eighty out of 86 victims of sexual abuse by Levi Noel, and other clerics of the Bathurst Diocese, participated in the process and accepted awards made, representing a 93 per cent success rate, one of the highest ever achieved in such a process,” the statement, signed by Most Rev. Valery Vienneau, the bishop-administrator of Bathurst states.

The Ontario lawyer who now publicly criticizes the process and the diocesan effort represented a number of people who successfully participated in that process and who, with his counsel, accepted awards,” Vienneau states.

Some of the victims are in the process of launching a lawsuit.

Nothing to hide

“They suggest that their lawsuit is about seeing that further details come to light, intimating that they believe the diocese is hiding something or has denied its failures in acknowledging mishandling of Noel and others. This is simply incorrect,” states Vienneau.

“When I initiated the reconciliation process, I had learned the extent of Noel’s abusive actions. I publicly acknowledged the failures of my deceased predecessor bishops to recognize and curb his abuse. It led me to extend the process to others known and unknown in an effort to be fair to all victims.”

Levi Noel, who worked on the Acadian Peninsula for 30 years, was sentenced in 2010 to eight years in prison after pleading guilty to 22 sex-related offences.

The victims were boys between the ages of eight and 16 at the time of the abuse, the court heard.

“We’ve done what we could, we do believe, as far as, you know, having a helping hand for the victims, offering them the counselling and compensation with the process that we do have,” the diocese’s vicar general, Father Wesley Wade told CBC News on Friday.

“Our concern was for the victims. We did what we could. And also to respect our diocese financially. So I think that process has helped us tremendously,” he said.

“It’s a very painful experience of course. And most of these cases were many years ago. But we have to take our responsibility — both for the victims to respect them, compensation, financially-speaking, and counselling,” Wade said.

“But also we’ve got a process, a protocol, to avoid these situations in the future as much as we can,” he said.

Similar process in Moncton

The Archdiocese of Moncton also hired Bastarache earlier this summer to oversee a conciliation process for people who were sexually abused by former priest Camille Léger in Cap-Pelé.

Ontario lawyer Robert Talach urged victims to choose litigation over church-sponsored conciliation, arguing confidential payments only allow the diocese to keep the abuse shrouded in secrecy.

Several people in the small, southeastern New Brunswick village came forward earlier this year to talk about being abused by Léger.

The priest died in 1990 and was never convicted of any crimes.

Archbishop André Richard apologized in March to anyone who was abused by Léger

11 Responses to Bathurst diocese defends sex abuse conciliation in ad

  1. Baspuit says:

    “Counselling” makes be laugh, I remember sending a email to mgr Vienneau, way back then, in my hour of darkness “If God really exist, how can a pedophile be his representive”?  What I got as answer was lettre from the diocese laywer stating “that I should not bother the clergy whiles the procedings are in the court”.  What procedings, I said to myself, its Levi Noel on stand not the church!  Intimidation not counseling that I got and wonder how many more got the same message?  The Denis Thériault syndrome method of dealing with victims, is still alive!  I give an A+ to wesley wade for using “mental reservation” at its best, in dealing with the media!  When will these lies stop, in the name of God, I ask you?

  2. PJ says:

    wesley wade and his merry gang of perverts must be so proud of themselves. Managing to decieve their parishioners that they were concerned with the victims…NO WAY. They were concerned only with protecting their pervert collars and using “hush money” on the victims. Do you know how to tell when one of those collars is lying??? Their lips move.

    • Sylvia says:

      I know you use “merry gang of perverts” as a figure of speech and that it is not your intent to label every priest in the Bathurst Diocese as perverts PJ . I realize too that you are frustrated and angry, and rightly so, but best reserve use of the word “perverts” for those who have been convicted and/or “credibly” accused of sex crimes.

  3. Conrad Brideau says:

    *I have just read the press release from the Diocese of Bathurst NB. I wonder what other processes Bishop Vienneau refers when he says that 93% is one of the highest success rates in such a process?
    I find no place where we talk about psychological (something essential for victmes). Mgr. Vienneau recognizes the wrongs of his dead predecessors . What does he do to those who are alive? Stating that he wants to be fair to everyone (victims) that is about the victims who have not had the courage to speak out,because of shame, fear, delicacy or other reasons. They left only to pity their fate to languish, to use drugs, live in alcoholism, suicidal thoughts or to commit suicid. How in the past, they manage to stop police investigations following their court? If the bishop will follow the recommendations of any commission of inquiry into pedophilia, all these approaches would certainly be repealed. Mentioning that our churches are places of welcome and comfort, it might be added to the top of the doors (HERE YOU CAN TELL THE TRUTH), I’m sure the victims would feel much better to enter these places. By the way I met the former Justice Bastarache, he said he had been appointed to compensate the victims and not as mentioned in the press release and I quote, “ In the process of resolution and reconciliation “ in closing, I strongly believe that the release is certainly full of mental reservation doctrine “ “ (MENTAL RESERVATION) hope this piece of text will clarify the readers.

  4. JG says:

    *valery vienneau is acting out the part of a “valedictorian”…and wesley wade is the  inept cheerleader!… I feel a kind of revulsion when I read this “advertising” for the diocese of Bathurst. What sticks in my mind is the fact they “chose” to lie to me, my family and to at least another family in the same situation where the abuser had passed away and the victim passed away during their “conciliation”!  For those interested it was covered and discussed at length under the accused “Leon Gagnon“…and his “behavior” dates back to the early 1930’s, 20 years before the vienneau dates, the earliest he quotes as being 1950.

    If they lied to one or two persons, to their families also, why should anything else they have to say have any weight whatsoever. After the chocolate coated “advertising”of April 2009 by the same “vienneau”…and knowing what deceit we have had to endure since…his words are absolutely empty for me.  Lie to one in the name of Christ, why not lie to a thousand!…

    He is a liar, bastarache was his agent. They hid the truth, “lied” to save the “diocese” some  “money”: Period!  I felt no benevolence, no charity, no humility…only their need to avoid any publicity, to protect their jobs.

    However, I believe something is worrying the bishop…Why speak out now, when he has been silent through the entire process???…since 2009! All his dealings were through bastarache. They definitely don’t like that 93% result….that leaves 7% to expose more of  the truth! There is some “concern” on their part to go this way…

    This advertising is intended to salvage what remains(?) of the flock and to possibly rally other victims and “isolate” a few holdouts. Imagine if all those 80 plus victims had refused their conciliation, what we may have learned. At this point every single victim they can take away from court action weakens the other cases…That is where all their “good” intentions are spawning!

    The bishop is not happy with that “Ontario” lawyer fighting the
    “angelic” retired judge bastarache…who did so much for the poor little
    “Acadians”…all the tricks which were discusssed on other treads previously…even slipping in the suggestion the “problem” was also with scouts, teachers…in a round about way! Same old denials with a new “presentation”…

    It is a “corporation” looking to protect its assets, at any cost to anyone else not willing to submit to the “corporate goals”…and Christ is not present in their process even if he thinks he can get some points by “using” Him as a reference…

    7% is a good number for a righteous battle…and it only takes a pebble to take down a “Goliath”…

    To the victims, stay strong. This “advertising” could be a first little piece of “Victory”…but we will have to wait to find out  “why?”


  5. Sylvia says:

    Read jg’s comment here regarding his dealings with Michel Bastarache and the Diocese of Bathrust. Also scroll down the Father Leon Gagnon page to 11 December 2010 “Letter to the Editor of the Campbellton Tribune”

     And, in French, but can be google- translated by clicking on the Google Translator in the right-hand column of the page, the following exchanges between jg and Michel Bastarache:

    09 December 2010:  Word document of Michel Bastarache letter to Jean Guy Theriault

    05 June 2010:  Jean Guy Theriault letter to Michel Bastarache

    05 June 2010:  Jean Guy to Michel Bastarache

    And a comment from jg here – “resolution

    jg, just out of interest, and in light of Bishop Viennneau’s recent ad and Press Release, would you consider the “resolution” was any way connected to your dealings with Michel Bastarache?  In other words, when Bishop Vienneau says “The Ontario lawyer …represented
    a number of people who successfully participated in that process and
    who, with his counsel, accepted awards” would the bishop perhaps be including you as one of that “number of people”?

  6. JG says:


    I would think so, that I am considered one of their ”successes”!!! They paid a token amount not to even begin to help the ”healing” but simply because they got caught in their lie.  It covered a soup kitchen employee for 2-3 months and the lawyers fee, which he fully deserved…he(Talach) would not have been ”necessary” if the original ”advertising’ had been ”sincere”…and without the ”trickery”. Not what I had expected!

    My sister signed their ”release” agreeing not to reveal an amount which wouldn’t even cover the cost of a bad used car!!…but I never agreed to ”keep quiet”! …and I never will!

    ”The evidence” was not strong enough…because I filmed my Father in his hospital bed…without a ”legal” format…because I ”trusted” ”my bishop, my church”…Oh! Yes, I am one of their greatest ”success”…At 95, on your death bed, you don’t lie about this. Bishop vienneau chose the legal avenue over the Christian answer!…and now he is saying to other victims:”trust me”!!

    Sylvia, get me an address where I can send you the film in question. I know we can agree on some minor corrections like removing some names my Father mentioned. I would trust you to use it properly if it can be of help to other victims. It is in French but I’m sure we can work something out. Even without sound…95 and dying…and he only wanted an apology!…and vienneau ”ignored” his plea!

    What a great success indeed!


  7. Baspuit says:

    A friend/victim ask me to post his blog =

    Mr. Vienneau, having sex outside of marriage has always been condemned by the Catholic Church.  The homosexual were banished from your church and now you try to make me believe that your living and dead predecessors were not aware that action posed by your pedophile priests was not healthy and incorrect. I was a child when Levi Noel attacks me, I knew it was not proper . You say now know the harmful effects of the victims were posed by your actions priests pedophiles.  I challenge you to put them at a press conference or simply on facebook. Your officers of your church are educated people, the word pedophile was not invented in 1980 M.Vienneau it was in 1847 and it was created by whom?

  8. Sylvia says:

    jg, I have sent you my mailing address.  Yes, we can work something out with which you are comfortable.

  9. Baspuit says:

    This came out in (google translate)

    L’Étoile PROVINCIALE / 6 September 2012 / letter to the editor =

    Wednesday, August 22, 2012, the administrator of the diocese Bishop of Bathurst, Bishop Valéry Vienneau, issued a press release responding to some criticism in relation to the process of reconciliation for the victims of sexual abuse in the Diocese of Bathurst.

    Unlike Bishop Vienneau, we believe that the former Justice Bastarache which it praised in the press release, had not at heart the interests of New Brunswickers or of the Acadians during the 1st meeting with victims, they said we should not compare with the Diocese of Bathurst with the diocese of New York! One of us had then responds by saying “have they suffered more than us?” He was quick to say he was not there to make changes, but rather to make an offer, take it or leave it, no negotiation, contrary to what Bishop Vienneau said in its press release that it invites us to “join the other victims to arrive at a just and negotiated. “Did he talk like the negotiation in which he participated with the victim Norman Brown (victim of Father Camille Leger Cap Pelé) in 1997 when the clergy attempted, like many others, to stifle the case?

    He knows well what the victims go through, he must know that we have lost all respect / trust in the authorities and that is why many of us chose not to go to the Bastarache route which was not for any changes, as it is claimed by the judicial process in which we are engaged. Moreover, the Bastarache report with its recommendations, is for when?

    Bishop Vienneau said he had spoken to some victims. Did he requested any information of what the bishop could do so that it never happens again? Yet this has been made by one of the recommendations of Cornwall (Commission of Inquiry has cost Ontario taxpayers $ 54 million) which states that victims should be part of the proposed changes, and I quote “If you are making a new protocol without victims, you do it for nothing!  Has the Bishop Vienneau only met victims of Levi Noel? Who are the other culprits who he tries to apologize for? It is true that he only apologize on behalf of his deceased predecessors and not relative inaction, if not the complicity of the diocese in the past!

    When he says that those who criticize the process Bastarache, did not participate. True for Conrad, Denis and I who are victims, but similar criticisms also come from those who participated. As an example of a flaw in the process that Bishop Vienneau claims to have been confidential, two victims received another ones offer. What about the first 45 victims, many of them told their story over the phone? According to them, they have received no more than they would have received compassion form a robot with a microphone and an opening where a check comes out after emptying ones guts. There were even victims who were told that if they did not accept the offer and that they were going civil, their names would come out publicly, That is wrong! Bishop Vienneau and call this “a receptive environment, respectful and confidential”?

    Bishop Vienneau, must understand that the practice of hiding pedophiles / criminals is a thing of the past! For example, Scouts Canada handed over to its records on pedophiles in the past, associated with the organization. It should do the same! Hope it is very soon, if not we hope/want the new bishop of the Diocese of Bathurst do as the new bishop of Ireland, Bishop Collins, who presented beyond 3500 files to the police of the area !

    In closing, when Bishop Vienneau invites victims who have not agreed to participate in the compensation offered calling for a just and negotiated, he forgets that involves monitoring. Victims of abuse need a specialized counseling service continuously and it is not part of final settlement offered by the diocese. This is equivalent to saying: “You have been paid compensation, now deal with your troubles. The Diocese is not responsible! “. Note that the Diocese of Moncton offers its share to help professional service to victims of Father Camille Léger and other!

    Lowell Mallais

    Conrad Brideau


  10. Sylvia says:

    I am told that the text of the ad is the same as that in his letter tot he editor:

    03 September 2012:   Bishop Valery Vienneau letter to the editor

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