Claude J. Richard
Priest Diocese of Antigonish,Nova Scotia. Ordained 1961. CONVICTED 1992. Charged again 1997 – outcome of latter charges unknown. At some point spent time at Southdown for treatment of alcoholism. Richard is quoted as saying: “A problem I never had, and could not understand why I was sent there, it should have been for sexual deviation.” (L) His twin brother Father Claire Richard, also a priest, was also convicted for sex abuse of young boys.
Bishops of Antigonish from time of Father Claude Richard’s ordination: 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)
The following information is drawn from Canadian Catholic Church Directories (CCCD) which I have on hand, legal documents (L) and media (M)
2010: not listed in directory (CCCD)
2002: Parkland Dr.,Halifax,Nova Scotia (CCCD)
2000: CMB 2-C-6, Monastery, Nova Scotia (CCCD)
1998, 1996, 1994, 1992: address for Antigonish Diocesan Centre (CCCD)
1997: preliminary hearing for charges of gross indecency and sexual assault
16 November 1992: convicted four counts of indecent assault against young boy. (L)
June 1991: charged (M)
1985-86: St. Joseph’s RC Church, Bras D’Or, Nova,Scotia (Pastor Father Vernon Fougere)
1977-1983 abusing victim
1977: stroke – full recovery (L)
1973-74: Our Lady of Lourdes, Stellarton, Nova Scotia (Pastor Father Francis Morley)
1971-72: not listed (CCCD)
1969: St. Lawrence’s Roman Catholic Church, Mulgrave, Nova Scotia (Pastor Father J.R. Ratchford) (CCCD)
1967: St. John the Baptist Roman Catholic Church, New Glasgow, Nova Scotia (Pastor Father F. E. Dolhanty) (CCCD)
Seminary in Ottawa (probably St. Paul’s?) (L)
BA St. Francis Xavier University, Antigonish, Nova Scotia (L)
Twin priests focus of legal action over sex abuse
Three men who claim they were sexually assaulted by priests decades ago are suing the Roman Catholic Diocese of Antigonish.
In Halifax court documents filed late last week, William Muirhead, 49, of Stellarton, John Parsons, 62, of Bras d’Or and Myles Parsons, 63 of Nanaimo, B.C., all seek damages under $100,000 for assault and emotional harm.
The diocese has not yet filed a defence and none of the allegations have been proven in court.
However, each claim holds the diocese vicariously liable in negligence and assault.
According to the documents filed in Nova Scotia Supreme Court, twin brothers Clair and Claude Richard were parish priests at St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church at Little Bras d’Or in the 1960s.
During the 1963 to 1964 hockey season, the priests, usually separately, would go to the Parsons’ home to watch Saturday night hockey, the documents allege. During those evenings, the priests would end up wrestling with the boys, the documents allege.
John Parsons alleges that the wrestling matches would end with one of the Richards pinning him down by kneeling on his chest, “towering over me with his privates in my face.”
Myles’s statement alleges that the priest “would be rubbing his privates all over us and his hand would be between my legs quite often.”
“I tried to avoid being home on Saturday evenings.”
During a school play at a Bras d’Or hall, Myles alleges that one of the priests grabbed him from behind while he was backstage and rubbed against his buttocks and tried to touch his “privates.”
Both brothers recalled separate incidents that involved a Volkswagen Beetle, the documents allege.
John states that he was hitchhiking home from skating in North Sydney when one of the twins picked him up. The priest showed him pornographic pictures and “made a move across my leg.”
“I told him to stop the car or I’d cut him with my skates,” the documents allege.
In late spring 1964, Myles said that one of the priests offered him a lift and they ended up parked on a dirt road near a field, the documents allege.
During the ride, the documents claim that the priest talked about how hard his job was and that he wanted some fun. The priest pulled the boy from the car and onto the ground, where he jumped on him, the documents allege.
Myles alleges that he fought the man off by biting him and crying and kicking.
The documents allege that Myles told his parents about the abuse, but they refused to believe him.
“They said I was going to burn in hell for saying those lies about the priest,” the documents allege.
Muirhead’s allegations involve Claude Richard.
Muirhead alleges he was was abused between 1972 and 1973 when he was an altar boy at Our Lady of Lourdes in Stellarton.
“Father Richard knelt down in front of me and put his hand inside my vestment and down the waist of my pants. He reached further into my briefs and fondled my penis, saying that he was making sure that my vestments were right.”
Muirhead also alleges that wrestling matches took place between the priest and the altar boys that involved Richard “rubbing himself and gyrating his hips up and down.”
The priest was rough and sometimes grabbed the boys’ penises, “squeezing really hard,” the documents allege.
The Richard twins have been convicted of multiple counts of sex charges against children in the care of the diocese.
The Richards were also named in the landmark $15-million class-action settlement reached in September 2009 for people victimized by clerical abuse in the diocese dating back to 1950.
Lawyer Hector J. MacIsaac, who has filed the three claims on behalf of the Parsons brothers and Muirhead could not be reached for comment Sunday.
Priests turn to legal aid
11 February 1997
Two Roman Catholic priests are asking taxpayers to pick up the costs of defending them against sex charges.
The church is refusing to pay the costs of defending Claire and Claude Richard. The twin brothers, 61, both worked under the Diocese of Antigonish in Nova Scotia at the time of the alleged assaults dating back 20 years.
Claude Richard is charged with gross indecency and indecent assault. Claire Richard is charged with buggery and indecent assault involving a male.
Both are slated for preliminary hearings March 10.
Legal aid spokesman Art Mollon confirmed Tuesday they have applied for assistance. He said legal aid officials will weigh whether the diocese should play a role in the costs of their defence before any aid is granted.
Claire Richard said he is disappointed but not surprised the diocese is unwilling to pay.
He suggested the decision could stem from the fact parishioners are unhappy with what the diocese has already paid out to defend other priests on sex charges.
He also said both men will enter not guilty pleas next month. The diocese would not comment Tuesday.
Halifax: Priests, Diocese Named In Civil Suit
Kingston Whig Standard
24 May 1995
Angered by years of abuse from clergy, former altar boy Robert Stanley Boudreau took revenge five years ago by torching one priest’s home. Now 29, Boudreau is suing three priests, seeking compensation for his humiliation and pain. One of the priests, Claude Richard, pleaded guilty in 1993 to indecently assaulting Boudreau. Of the other two priests named in the civil suit launched last week, one, Richard’s twin brother Clair, was never charged for abusing Boudreau. The third, Dan Doucet, was acquitted in 1993. Boudreau is also suing the Antigonish Diocese.
Defence that blames victim loses favour with church
Toronto Globe and Mail
Monday, March 20, 1995
Halifax NS– HALIFAX 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 aHalifaxnewspaper 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.
Toronto Globe and Mail
17 November 1992
A Roman Catholic priest in Nova Scotia was sentenced yesterday to five months in jail on a sex-related conviction involving a young boy. Rev.
Claude Richard was found guilty last September of indecently assaulting the boy while accompanying him on an outing to a cottage. The complainant was between the ages of 11 and 13 when the assault took place in the 1960s. CP
Three priests face charges
25 June 1991
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. Ages of the alleged victims were not released.
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.
Also charged were 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.