Theriault: Father Eddie Theriault

Share Button

Edouard Joseph Theriault

 Priest,  Diocese of Yarmouth, Nova Scotia.  Ordained 1951.  1993-  GUILTY.  Convicted indecent assault – 2 year suspended sentence and 500 hours community service.  January 2010 lawsuit launched.  January 2011 lawsuit settled with Yarmouth diocese)



31 January 2011: Archbishop addresses Yarmouth sex abuse deal

24 January 2011: Archbishop Anthony Mancini letter “To all the faithful in the Catholic Church in Yarmouth” re clerical sex abuse, finances and settlements 

21 January 2011: Abuse victims reach deal with Catholic Church: Six share $1.5m from Diocese of Yarmouth


Unless otherwise indicated the following information is drawn from the Canadian Catholic Church Directories (CCCD) of that date

2010:  not listed

2002, 1998, 1994:Anse-des-Belliveau, Nova Scotia (CCCD)

1993: convicted indecent assault against female.   Two-year suspended sentence and 500 hours of community service (31 May 1993 James M. Wingle installed as Bishop of Yarmouth, Nova Scotia) (CCCD)

1985-86, 1991:  Pastor, St. Thomas RC Church, Shelbourne, Nova Scotia with mission in St. Philip, Barrington , Nova Scotia (CCCD)(Austin E. Burke Bishop of Yarmouth, Nova Scotia since 1968) (CCCD)

1973-74: Pastor, St.Michel, Wedgeport, Nova Scotia (CCCD)

member: Consulteurs Diocésain et bureau du personnel

member: Conseil Presbytéral

member: Doyens

member: Conseil de pastorale

1971-72:Pastor, St.Michel, Wedgeport, Nova Scotia (CCCD)

Consulteurs diocésain

1968-69: Pastor, St.Michel, Wedgeport, Nova Scotia

in charge of vocations

member of Diocesan Catholic Action committee

d’administration regional de la société Ll’Assumption

Directeur diocésain des Dames de Ste. Anne

1959:  Chancellor of Yarmouth Diocese (Bishop Albert Lemenager) (CCCD)


Third priest named in lawsuits filed against the Diocese of Yarmouth that allege sexual abuse

The Archdiocese of Halifax is also named in the latest lawsuits, filed by two sisters

27 January 2010

By Tina Comeau


More lawsuits have been filed against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Yarmouth and the Archdiocese of Halifax alleging sexual abuse by one of their former parish priests.

This brings to three the number of priests who served in Yarmouth County and neighbouring counties that are referred to in civil lawsuits.

The latest lawsuits filed with the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia on Monday, Jan. 25, allege sexual abuse by Father Edouard Joseph Theriault (a.k.a. Father Eddie Theriault), who served in parishes in Wedgeport, St. Alphonse, Salmon River and Shelburne starting in the late 1950s and up until his partial retirement in 1991.

What is different from other lawsuits that have been filed in the past year involving other priests is Father Theriault was convicted in 1993 of indecent assault against one of the plantiffs, for which he received no jail time, but rather a two-year suspended sentence and 500 hours of community service.

Filing the lawsuits are sisters Jeanne Doucette (nee Deveau), 48, and Margaret Deveau, 56, who went to the RCMP in the early 1990s to pursue criminal charges against Father Theriault. Both women live in Yarmouth County.

Both women are seeking a full investigation into the actions of Theriault and the diocese. “Their goal is to expose the truth,” states a press release issued by the Ontario law firm of Ledroit Beckett, which is representing the woman – and which is also representing 11 men who say they were the sexual assault victims of another former Yarmouth County priest, Father Adolphe LeBlanc.

The sisters are also hoping their stories will encourage other survivors of abuse to come forward.

Father Theriault was ordained by the Archdiocese of Halifax in June 1951. He was incardinated to the Diocese of Yarmouth in 1956 and had a long career as a Roman Catholic priest, during which time he was also appointed vice-chancellor and chancellor for the Yarmouth Diocese. He died on April 15, 2008 at the age of 82.

In the 1960s the Deveau sisters were growing up in the community of St. Alphonse, Digby County. They were raised in a close and loving Roman Catholic family and were parishioners of Saint Alphonse Parish and attended Saint Alphonse Catholic School.

But the two women say they had their childhood innocence taken away when they were sexually abused by their parish priest. Although the abuse happened over 40 years ago, they say they are still haunted by it. “By coming forward now, they hope to achieve personal healing, reach out to others who have been abused, and prevent other children from suffering as they have,” states the news release issued by the law firm. “Ultimately they hope to raise awareness of childhood sexual abuse so they may generate something positive from this painful experience in their lives.”

In the statement of claim filed on behalf of Jeanne Doucette, it refers to how, because of Theriault’s position as a priest, parents trusted him with the training, safety and care of their children. As a result, her parents permitted her to be alone with the priest, which included being unsupervised in a bedroom during afternoon naps.

The abuse, it’s alleged, began when the girl was approximately three years old. The statement of claim says the sexual abuse was ongoing and continuous over a period of several years.

In the statement of claim filed on behalf of Margaret Deveau, it’s alleged the she was first sexually abused, assaulted and molested when she was approximately eight years old. The abuse was ongoing and continuous over a period of around seven years, ending when she was 15.

The statements of claim allege that the diocese and archdiocese knew that the priest had the propensity to engage in deviant behaviours, and that they knew he was doing so based on a number of factors that included knowledge or complaints of Father Theriault’s activities with young people at his previous postings, the frequency with which the plantiffs and other children were involved with the priest, the unusual interest he took in children and the frequency and duration that the priest would have them in his company at the church or rectory. “Despite their knowledge set out above, the Archdiocese and Diocese took no steps to stop the behavior or to protect the plantiff(s),” the statements of claim read. “In the alternative, if the Archdiocese and Diocese did not have direct knowledge of the aforementioned behaviors, the plantiff(s) plead that (they) ought to have known” because of the circumstances that are outlined in the lawsuit.

Both sisters say because of the abuse they endured, they have lived a life that has included physical pain and discomfort, mental anguish, humiliation, shame, guilt, low-self esteem, loss of enjoyment of faith and emotional trauma, among other things. It also impacted their education, their ability to work and it has impacted their relationships with others.

Basically, the abuse resulted in a loss of enjoyment of life.

The lawsuits are each seeking $1.7 million in damages. But they are also seeking accountability, truth, justice and healing.

As mentioned there are other lawsuits filed against the Diocese of Yarmouth and the Archdiocese of Halifax. A year ago the first of 11 lawsuits were filed detailing sexual abuse by Father Adolphe LeBlanc, whose parish assignments included Wedgeport and Salmon River. Many of the men who have filed the lawsuits were teenaged boys when the sexual assault allegedly took place.

More recently a lawsuit was filed by a woman outlining allegations of sexual abuse involving Father Raoul Deveau, who is also deceased. The allegations are that over a period of nearly 10 years, starting in the early 1970s, he routinely sexually abused the woman that he had taken into his home when she was around 12 years old. She says the priest made her tell others that she was his niece.

Leave a Reply