a Catholic brother with the Frères de Notre-Dame de la Miséricorde (Brothers of Our Lady of Mercy. fndm or fdm) – former teacher and Principal at Collège St-Hilaire, Mont Saint Hilaire, Quebec, a private boarding school located within the boundaries of the Diocese of Saint Hyacynthe, Quebec.
Sex charges laid March 2015 relate to allegations of sex abuse between 1982 and 1989 which commenced when the complainant was a 12-year-old boarding student at Collège St-Hilaire
Class action lawsuit commenced.
Next courtdate: 25 May 2015: Saint-Hyacinthe courthouse, 1550, rue Dessaulles, Saint-Hyacinthe, Quebec
17 March 2015: arrested and charged with indecent assault, sexual assault and incitement to sexual touching while in a position of authority.
member of Collège St-Hilaire board of directors when arrested
A former student at Collège St-Hilaire has filed a motion in Quebec Superior Court to authorize a class-action suit on behalf of individuals allegedly sexually abused by clergyman Jean-Paul Thibault, a former teacher and principal at the school.
Thibault, a Catholic brother with the Frères de Notre-Dame de la Miséricorde, was arrested March 17 for sexually assaulting the former student at the college in the 1980s.
Thibault, 72, is accused of indecent assault, sexual assault and incitement to sexual touching while in a position of authority.
The abuse began when the victim was 12 years old, said lawyer Robert Kugler of the law firm Kugler Kandestin, which filed a class-action suit to include the possibility there are other victims of Brother Thibault, who was released on $1,000 bail following his arrest.
Following their investigation, Richelieu-St-Laurent police said they also believe there may be other victims. Captain François Cinq-Mars has asked that other victims contact the police department.
“With one victim coming forward, others may soon follow,” Kugler said. “It always starts with one, the class representative, and then it usually increases from there.”
The assaults at Collège St-Hilaire allegedly began in 1982 when the victim was a Secondary I student at the private boarding school.
“Early on in the boy’s stay at the school he was messing around in class and was sent to the principal’s office, like we’ve all been before,” Kugler said.
The suit claims Thibault immediately began engaging the student in discussions about sex and genitals.
A short time later, the suit alleges Thibault came to get the young student at night in the dormitory and brought him to a little food canteen in the building. At the beginning, Thibault gave him candies and drinks. But in later encounters at the candy shop, Thibault touched his genitals.
The suit claims the abuse escalated over time to include masturbation and oral sex.
Brother Thibault also came to get other boys at night and bring them to the canteen, according to the victim’s suit.
The suit also alleges Brother Thibault invited the victim to an apartment to watch pornographic films. He also took him on camping trips, ski trips to Bromont, and visits to Lac Sergent, where he was sexually assaulted. Thibault demanded the victim perform oral sex and masturbation. On one occasion, he attempted to sodomize the victim.
Kugler has represented sexual abuse victims in the past and said there are common traits to cases in which an authority figure abuses a child.
“It is similar to sexual abuse cases where these people are in a position of authority, literally not only as the principal of the school, but parents of these children have confided parental authority over the children to this guy.”
“So the kid’s view him not only as their principle, but also as a father figure. In Quebec society, these people are also God on earth, so there’s that as well.”
Kugler said it is excruciatingly difficult for victims to face their accusers. (The victim in this case is now in his 40s and has filed a motion to keep his identity private.)
“The (victims) become extremely confused. Many victims have told us they feel responsible for having caused the priest to sin, which is terrible.
“It results in them bottling everything up. They feel extremely ashamed, and have all kinds of problems in their lives. … The vast majority of victims of sexual abuse never disclose it at all. They repress it forever.”
Kugler said his client finally came forward after seeing a local newspaper that paid homage to Thibault and the congregation of Frères de Notre-Dame de la Miséricorde.
Thibault, the school and the congregation are named as defendants in the class-action motion. The suit is claiming damages totalling $850,000, including $500,000 in punitive and exemplary damages.
In light of recent events, Thibault has been expelled from the school administration, said college spokesman Claude Choinière, who said the staff was “stupefied” by the news of Thibault’s arrest.
Choinière said parents were alerted of the shocking news last week, but he also pointed out that the college has not been run by the Catholic congregation since the late 1980s. The college is secular now.
Part of Thibault’s bail conditions is that he not contact the alleged victim and his family. He must refrain from going to public parks or places where children under 16 are present.
He must return to court May 25.
Sexual assault charges against brother Jean-Paul Thibault
[google translation – scroll down for original French text]
Laurier Le Web (laurierleweb.com)
March 20, 2015
Brother Jean-Paul Thibault was released after his appearance at the Saint-Hyacinthe courthouse on Wednesday and will return to court Monday, May 25 to answer five charges, among others, indecent assault on a person, sexual assault, touching and invitation to sexual contact while he was in authority.
The 72 year old man was arrested Tuesday morning at his home in Lac-Sergent, in the Quebec City region, by police investigators of intermunicipal board Richelieu-Saint-Laurent and the Sûreté du Québec. The charges against him date back to the period between 1982 and 1989 while he was a member of the Collège Saint-Hilaire. The victim is a man aged 45 today, interview shows Captain François Cinq-Mars, the Police Board.
Jean-Paul Thibault was released on bail of $ 2,000 and with the conditions to keep the peace, not to contact the victim and not to be in a public place where minors may be present, among others.
In the press release issued by the board last Tuesday, it states that “the brother Jean-Paul Thibault is part of the Congregation of the Brothers of Our Lady of Mercy and is still a member of the Board of the College Saint-Hilaire.”
“We are a bit shocked by the news, summarizes Claude Choinière, spokesman of the institution. By late afternoon yesterday (Tuesday), the Board sent a formal notice to Mr. Thibault directing not to communicate with the administration or with students or with staff, not appear on the College’s premises and, as a director, not to participate in the meetings of the board, “explains spokesman stating that these” procedures remain valid for the length of judicial proceedings. “
Mr. Choinière says further that “the college was under religious administration until 1985. We, we have no access to information and College archives for the years before 1985. Mr. Thibault taught in the 1970 and before. There is nobody in college now that was really present at that time “He added.” In 1985, all we know, Mr. Thibault had no function and was not an employee at the college; he was present occasionally. “
The board of directors, said the spokesman, can not remove Mr. Thibault because of the presumption of innocence in favor of any person charged.
Investigators have not received calls from other people who may have been victims of Mr. Thibault’s actions. “It may be that it can take a while to decide to complain,” believes Captain Cinq-Mars.
Police Authority invites people with information about this case to transmit it by contacting her by phone at 450 922-7001 ext 399 or email: email@example.com
Accusations d’agression sexuelle contre le frère Jean-Paul Thibault
Laurier Le Web
20 March 2015
Le frère Jean-Paul Thibault a été libéré après sa comparution au palais de justice de Saint-Hyacinthe, mercredi dernier et devra revenir en cour le lundi 25 mai pour répondre à cinq chefs d’accusation, entre autres, attentat à la pudeur sur une personne, agression sexuelle, attouchements et incitation à des contacts sexuels alors qu’il était en situation d’autorité.
L’homme de 72 ans a été arrêté mardi dernier en matinée chez lui au Lac-Sergent, dans la région de Québec, par les enquêteurs de la Régie intermunicipale de police Richelieu–Saint-Laurent et de la Sûreté du Québec. Les accusations portées contre lui remontent à la période située entre 1982 et 1989, alors qu’il était membre de la direction du Collège Saint-Hilaire. La victime est un homme âgé aujourd’hui de 45 ans, indique en entrevue le capitaine François Cinq-Mars, de la Régie de police.
Jean-Paul Thibault a été libéré sous une caution de 2000 $ et avec les conditions de garder la paix, de ne pas entrer en contact avec la victime et de ne pas se trouver dans un lieu public où des mineurs pourraient être présents, notamment.
Dans le communiqué émis par la Régie mardi dernier, on précise que «le frère Jean-Paul Thibault fait partie de la congrégation des Frères de Notre-Dame de la Miséricorde et est toujours membre du conseil d’administration du Collège Saint-Hilaire».
Mise en demeure
«On est un peu estomaqués par la nouvelle, résume Claude Choinière, porte-parole de l’établissement. Dès la fin de l’après-midi hier (mardi), le conseil d’administration a envoyé une mise en demeure à M. Thibault l’enjoignant de ne pas communiquer avec l’administration, ni avec les élèves ni avec le personnel, de ne pas se présenter sur les lieux du Collège et, comme administrateur, de ne plus participer aux réunions du conseil d’administration», détaille le porte-parole en précisant que ces «procédures demeurent valables pour la durée des poursuites judiciaires».
M. Choinière affirme d’autre part que «le collège était sous administration religieuse jusqu’en 1985. Nous, on n’a pas accès aux informations et aux archives du collège pour les années d’avant 1985. M. Thibault enseignait dans les années 1970 et avant. Il n’y a personne dans le collège actuellement qui était vraiment présent à cette époque-là.» Et d’ajouter: «En 1985, autant qu’on sache, M. Thibault n’avait pas de fonction et n’était pas un employé au collège; il était présent occasionnellement.»
Le conseil d’administration, poursuit le porte-parole, ne peut pas destituer M. Thibault en raison de la présomption d’innocence dont bénéficie toute personne qui est accusée.
Les enquêteurs n’ont pas reçu d’appels d’autres personnes qui auraient pu être victimes des agissements de M. Thibault. «On peut penser que ça peut prendre un certain temps pour décider de porter plainte», croit le capitaine Cinq-Mars.
La Régie de police invite les gens qui ont des informations concernant ce dossier à les lui transmettre en communiquant avec elle par téléphone au 450 922-7001, poste 399 ou par courriel: firstname.lastname@example.org
A Catholic brother and former educator at Collège St-Hilaire southeast of Montreal was arrested Tuesday in connection with sexual assaults on a teenager more than 25 years ago.
Brother Jean-Paul Thibault, 72, is accused of using his position of authority to commit sexual assault and indecent exposure at the college in Mont-St-Hilaire.
Police say the crimes took place between 1982 and 1989, partly at the college where the adolescent victim was boarding.
Thibault, a Lac-Sergent resident, is still part of college’s board of directors. He also belonged to the congregation of Frères de Notre-Dame de la Miséricorde.
Following their investigation, Richelieu-St-Laurent police, who were assisted by the Sureté de Québec, believe there may be other victims of Thibault.
Police captain François Cinq-Mars has asked that other victims contact the Richelieu-St-Laurent police department.