Touchette: Father Rene Touchette

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Priest, Archdiocese of St. Boniface, Manitoba.  Ordained 01 July 1966.  1995 CONVICTED sex abuse three boys in 70s and early 80s.  1995:  Sentence of 30 months reduced on appeal to 20 months (due to medical condition)

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Archbishops of Archdiocese of Saint Boniface from time of Father Rene Touchette’s ordination:  Bishop of Diocese of St. Maurice Baudoux  (14 September 1955 – 07 September 1974) ;  Antoine Hacault  (07 September 1974 – 13 April 2000 ); Émilius Goulet, P.S.S. (23 June 2001  – 03 July 2009);  Albert LeGatt (03 July 2009 – – )

(Antoine Hacault  served as Auxiliary Bishop from 30 July 1964 to his appointment as Coadjutor Archbishop 28 October 1972)

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18 December 2012:  Father Rene Touchette obituary

14 March 2012: A strange saga

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The following information is drawn from Canadian Catholic Church Directories (CCCD) which I have on hand, legal documents (L), media (M) and Obituary (Obit)

20 December 2012:  funeral Mass at St. Boniface Cathedral (Obit

16 December 2012:  Died at the St. Boniface General Hospital at age 71 (M)

26 & 27 November 2011: Archbishop Albert LeGatt Pastoral Message to parishioners at Notre-Dame-de-la-Nativite Parish in Somerset, Manitoba  re “the sexual abuse perpetrated by some members of the clergy “in the “Somerset and Mountain region”

2011, 2010:  apartment address on St. Anne St., Winnipeg, Manitoba  (CCCD)

2002, 1999, 1998:  B 18, 30 Chesterfield Ave., Winnipeg, Manitoba (CCCD)

1997:  B 18, 30 Chesterfield Ave., Winnipeg, Manitoba (CCCD)

1996, 1995, 1993:    address St. Jean Baptiste, Manitoba with phone number for St. Jean Baptiste Roman Catholic Church 204-758-3454  (Pastor Father Marcel Carriere) (CCCD)

February 1995:  due to medical condition 30 months sentence reduced to 20 months by Manitoba Court of Appeal.  (L)

23 October 1992:  “RCMP search church offices: papers related to sex assault allegations against ex-priest seized (Rev Rene Touchette)” -(title of  article in Winnipeg Free Press – I don’t unfortunately  have a copy)

1992:  Pastor, St. Jean Baptiste Roman Catholic Church, St. Jean Baptiste, Manitoba (CCCD) (according to media reports he was removed from the parish in May 1991)

14 December 1992:  charged with four counts of indecent assault and four of gross indecency (M)

Early December 1992:  launched a wrongful dismissal suit claiming he had been fired on the basis if innuendo and had never been charged with a crime (M)

May 1992:  removed from St. Jean Baptiste after allegations of sexual misconduct.  (M)

1991:  Pastor, St. Jean Baptiste Roman Catholic Church, St. Jean Baptiste, Manitoba (CCCD)

1990:  suspended after complaint to special committee set up to hear allegations of sex abuse by priests (M)

1985-86:  Pastor Notre-Dame-de-la-Nativite, Somerset, Manitoba (CCCD)

1973-1980:  Notre-Dame-de-la-Nativite, Somerset, Manitoba (M)

sex abuse offences for which he was convicted transpired these years in Somerset (M)

1973-74:  Pastor Notre-Dame-de-la-Nativite, Somerset, Manitoba (CCCD)

secretary, Montagne Pastoral Region (CCCD)

1971-72:  not listed in index (CCCD)

1968-69:  Notre-Dame-de-la-Nativite, Somerset, Manitoba (Pastor Father Roland Belanger) (CCCD)

01 July 1966:  ORDAINED (CCCD) in his home parish of St. Antoine Roman Catholic Church in Aubigny, Manitoba by Archbishop Maurice Baudoux (Obit)

Pursued Philosophy studies at St. Boniface University, Manitoba (Obit) – obtained Bachelors degrees in Philosophy and in Education (Obit)

1947-1953: attended Provencher School in Aubigny, Manitoba (Obit)

07 May 1941:  Born in St. Boniface, Manitoba (Obit)

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                      R. v. Rene Touchette

[1995] Man. D. 7510‑01

Manitoba Court of Appeal

AR 93‑30‑01546

Coram:  Huband, Philp, Helper, JJ.A.

January 31, 1995

CRIMINAL (SENTENCE)

SEXUAL OFFENCES ‑ INDECENT ASSAULT

(PARISH PRIEST ‑ MULTIPLE INCIDENTS ‑ MEDICAL CONDITION)

 

Trial:     30 months.

C/A:       20 months (Helper, J.A. dissenting).

Age:       54

Record:    Not stated.

Facts:     The accused was convicted on three separate counts of indecent assault.  He was a parish priest.  The three complainants were young men in the parish.  Each testified of events which occurred in the 1970s or the very early 1980s.  The accused suffers from cancer for which he has undergone surgery and is in the course of ongoing treatment.

Comment:   The charges are most serious and the gravity of them is intensified by the reason that the accused was in a  position of trust.  The accused, denying the charges, is    unrepentant.  The accused’s medical condition arose  subsequent to trial, but Crown counsel acknowledges that had it been known it might have operated as a mitigating    factor.  Were it not for this new consideration, the sentences imposed would clearly be fit.  Under all the circumstances, the sentence is reduced to 20 months.

(4 pages) Man. Decisions ‑ February, 1995

R. Touchette in person

G. A. Lawlor for Crown

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14 December 1992

Canadian Press

MANITOU, Man. (CP)

A former Roman Catholic priest in Manitoba has been charged with sexually assaulting three boys more than a decade ago, RCMP said Monday.

Rene Touchette was removed from his parish in St. Jean Baptiste, Man., last May over allegations of sexual misconduct.

Earlier this month, he launched a wrongful dismissal suit, claiming he had been fired on the basis of innuendo and had never been charged with any crime.

The police investigation lasted six months and the alleged incidents with the boys occurred between 1973 and 1980 while Touchette was a priest in Somerset, Man., police said in a statement.

He is to appear in court today and will face four charges of indecent assault and four counts of gross indecency.

Touchette was suspended in September 1990 after a complaint to a special church committee set up to hear allegations of sexual abuse by priests.

Somerset is a village of about 600 people, about 80 kilometres southwest of Winnipeg.

9 Responses to Touchette: Father Rene Touchette

  1. Angèle Themis says:

    Sylvia, he’s passed away and if you can believe it, his funeral was held in the great Cathedral of Saint Boniface and his remains are buried on consecrated ground, in the columbarium of the Cathedral…
    The hypocrisy of the Church in this matter is shocking and truly disrespectful of the victims, not only those who laid charges but countless more who still suffer their shame in silence when the only shame belongs to René Touchette and the Catholic Church… It is disgraceful!
    http://passages.winnipegfreepress.com/passage-details/id-197763/name-Rene_Touchette/run-date-2012_12_18/classification-id-1/order-publish_date%7CDESC,last_name%7CASC,first_name%7CASC/

    • Sylvia says:

      Thank you Angele. I have posted the obituary and updated the information on the Father Rene Touchette page: 18 December 2012: Father Rene Touchette obituary

      I don’t know why Church officials insist on burying these clerical predators out of the local cathedral. A funeral by all means, but do it quietly and from some small Church in the countryside- to do otherwise is to cause further pain to the victims and further aggravate the existing scandal.

      Was he still unrepentant when he drew his last breath? I have no way of knowing. I hope he was. If he was not, as far as I’m concerned he should not have had a funeral Mass.

      It’s interesting that he died 17-18 years after he had his sentence reduced from 30 months to 20 months – this presumably because he was suffering from and being treated for cancer. I think it goes without saying that he could and should have served the full and paltry 30 months to which he was sentenced.

      My heart goes out to the victims of Father Rene Touchette.

  2. Leona says:

    I found the link to the pastoral letter on this page. It is interesting that 20 years later the archdiocese is skirting around the issue and avoiding directly naming the perpetrators. He takes time to name everyone on the victim support committee. The perpetrator should have been names as well. I’m wondering if there was some action from an outside support group that prompted the pastoral message. I met the Yvonne Maes he refers to in his letter over 15 years ago in Vancouver. I understand that she was the BC leader for SNAP for awhile.

    The Archbishop respondedtothevictims calls that this issue talked abut it, but I believe he missed the boat On the opportunity for healing for the church community. Perhaps if there’s anyone from that parish who felt otherwise, they could comment on this site.
    He invited the victims to contact the church to tell them what they need. He’s right not to presume what they need, but I can assure you I wouldn’t be calling.

    The sermon That would move me would go something like this:

    Over 20 years ago, three brave men, came forward and with courage and strength, revealed to this community that a man we allowed to be your spiritual leader was only a wolf in sheep’s clothing. This man Fr. Rene Turcotte, betrayed us all by harming the littlest among us, sexually assaulted them, and robbed them of their innocence leaving them scarred, hurt and afraid, living in pain and silence for many years, until one day the had the courage to come forward. I applaud these men who listened to the voice of the spirit and despite great obstacles that we the church and community placed in front of them, ensured that the truth was revealed and that some form of justice was done.
    I ask that we all bow our heads in prayer to thank God for these brave souls.

  3. Léo Danais says:

    This priest, René Touchette was related to me Unfortunately. Yes he was a sexual predator whom none of us trusted around our young families. He was working on the Touchette Family Ancestry after he was convicted, and would often call for pictures of our family and other information. My mother was the oldest Touchette still living at the time. We tried to keep him away from our home and children. My mother was devastated by the fact that one of her cousins had hurt young children that way.
    This being said: What is worst than a sexual predator?…The person who protects the predator instead of the victim. All four of our St.Boniface Bishop, Maurice Baudoux, Antoine Hacault, Émilius Goulet and Albert LeGatt all protected him as they have protected a predator called Marcel Lancelot who was my teacher in Cardinal, Manitoba in the 1940’s and 1950’s.
    That man had to leave Cardinal eventually because he got fired. He ended up in St. Boniface where he aledgedly went to trial for abuse of a child at Provencher School. Maurice Baudoux took him under his wing, where this man later got to re-abuse his past victims.
    What is it with these people? Which rule of God do they live by? It certainly isn’t the rule of GOD that they teach us. Maybe their leader or God is called Lucifer.
    I never trusted any of these four bishops.
    I agree with Sylvia and Angèle…if they feel that it is really necessary, have a mass in a backroom private building somewhere…no frills…and bury them in the pasture back home where they were born. I suggest the same for the ones who protect these unremorseful predators. Forgiving them is one thing, but honouring them is another.

    • BC says:

      Demonic possession and/or the devil made ’em do it argument isn’t a legal defense in Canada. What matters in criminal procedure is mens rea (intent) and actus reus (the crime itself). I agree with you that clerical perverts should not hold any official function within the Church. I agree with you that clerical enablers of clerical perverts are liable – for their civil negligence. There is no such thing as guilt striclty by association in Canada. Many jurists are pushing for the prosecution of the RCC as a criminal entity as per our current legislations; but it’s unlikely to happen in the very near future.

      I disagree with you that clerical perverts ought to/could/should be forgiven.
      The sentences they currently serve in Canada are not proportional to the harm their crimes have caused and their serving of their sentences is merely referring to the processing of criminals in our correctional system. The survey predicts that clerical predators will re-offend after having served their sentences if they are not defrocked because without that very consequence; any representation regarding the chastity and celibacy of clerics will continue to be weaponized by clerical predators. Clerical abuse is never about sex: it’s about power. Sex is only a means for clerical predators. What’s needed is to take away their camouflage; expose them, blow their cover. Forgiving them is tantamount to giving them a licence to rape.

    • Marie Alfred says:

      I need to know if Mr Marcel Lancelot was ever charged of sexual abuse, my family comes from Notre Dame. I understand that he just passed away. I really need to know if was fired for that reason.

  4. Just a kid says:

    My devout family attended la Cathédrale weekly from about 1980 to 1986. As an altar boy, I was subjected to many ” good humoured” remarks and sexual innuendoes from the priest at the time, who thought it was OK to bite my nose, chin, pinch my buttocks and, in the sacristy one day just before mass, take my hands, pull me tight against him and ask me if I still loved him. I now see these gestures and remarks as tests of my vulnerability. Luckily, I was a strong willed kid from a solid family who didn’t take any BS. My warnings to my parents didn’t set off any alarm bells for them about this well-loved “jolly” priest. Most kids I knew kept their distance from this creep. I was also invited by the parish to attend youth group sessions in the basement of the old City Hall. I quickly got a bad feeling about the priest and other male church leaders who were “reaching out” to us kids. I stopped attending. My experience was unpleasant, but not serious. I can only imagine what likely happened to other more vulnerable kids, my neighbours and schoolmates. I left Manitoba in my late teens, and later heard that this well-loved pervert of a priest had mysteriously been removed from his work with parishioners and put on administrative duties within the archdiocese. I now realize that there was a culture of secrecy within the archdiocese, tolerated and swept under the rug by Mgr Hacault and others. I have turned my back on this corrupt, criminal institution forever.

  5. Richard Girouard says:

    I am a former resident of Somerset, Manitoba. I do remember Fr. Rene Touchette. I remember him as being a very Narcissistic person. He thought he was better than everyone else and that he could do no wrong. As far as I can remember some of the nuns knew what was going on with the altar boys. My father is originally from the same parish of Aubigny as Fr. Touchette and had heard rumours that he was a peodophile and every time something happened in a catholic parish they were transferred elsewhere. Yes, the Archibishops knew what was going on and did nothing. All they did was cover it up and send them somewhere else. I remember one time after mass I was waiting for one of my friends to finished changing so we can go and hang out together. Father Touchette came out from behind the back of the church pissed off because he had heard a noise that disturbed him. He literally told me to go outside and wait. And I was not allowed to wait inside the church for my friend. He was half-dressed at the time. So anyways, my parents never wanted us 3 brothers to be altar boys.

  6. Ann M Connell says:

    Leo,

    I am also a relative of Rene Touchette. I just found this site yesterday. I had no idea about his background until I found this. He called me many years ago for family history. I am sad to find out about what he did.
    I am very interested in our family history. I am curious to know if he ever documented our history. Do you know what ever happened with all his research? I would like to be able to see what he did.

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