Brthers of the Sacred Heart
la congrégation des Frères du Sacré-Coeur
The religious order was founded in France in 1821 by Father Andre Coindre who “envisioned a community of brothers trained to work with the poor through the establishment of schools.” Members of the order arrived in Arthabanska Quebec in 1872.
Brothers of the order identify with the initials sc or SC behind their names.
Courteau: Brother Marcel Courteau sc
November 2016: admitted he sexually abused boys while teaching at mission schools in in Madasgar, Senegal and Togo,
Lebeau: Brother Claude Lebeau sc
October 2016: class action lawsuit identifies Lebau as a brother who molested the plaintiff at Collège Mont-Sacré-Coeur in Granby, Quebec. According to the plaintiff, he was one of many who boys who routinely had to line up outside Brother Lebau’s bedroom and were called in one by one.
18 February 2018: Senegal man sues Quebec Catholic congregation over alleged sexual abuse
30 former students now claim they were sexually abused at Collège Mont-Sacré-Coeur in Granby
Published on: October 19, 2016 | Last Updated: October 19, 2016 8:01 PM EST
Three to six nights a week, for two years, “A” would stand outside Brother Claude Lebeau’s bedroom at the Collège Mont-Sacré-Coeur in Granby, along with the other boys, waiting in line to see the brother in private.
But once behind closed doors, Lebeau would not offer prayer or a private tutorial, but allegedly would masturbate the student, to help him “open up” and get over his shyness.
Then the next boy would come in.
Now 56, “A” as he is known to the court, has filed a lawsuit for $1.2 million in damages against the school and the congregation (Les Frères du Sacré Coeur — Brothers of the Sacred Heart), alleging more than 300 such sexual assaults occurred between 1972 and 1975, when he was a boarder at the school and Lebeau was the dormitory supervisor. A was 13 when he says the assaults began.
But A is also acting as the lead plaintiff in a request to launch a class-action suit submitted to Superior Court Oct. 7.
And in the 12 days since then, his lawyers have received calls from 30 other alleged victims, and the number of alleged perpetrators at the elite school for boys has increased to nine.
For Robert Kugler, of the law firm Kugler, Kandestin, what happened at the college, and inside Lebeau’s bedroom, was not an isolated event.
“It was happening so frequently with kids lining up outside of the room, it’s hard to imagine — and I don’t believe — that this was not known to everyone in the higher ups of the congregation that were responsible for this school,” said Kugler, who successfully sued the Clercs de Saint-Viateur and the Institut Raymond-Dewar — the new name for the Montreal Institute for the Deaf — for $30 million for the rampant sex abuse at their school in Montreal.
“Given the number of abusers, and the number of years the abusers were at the school (complaints now range over 40 years) we expect that the number of victims will exceed 100. Time will tell.”
Yanick Messier, the lawyer representing the Brothers of the Sacred Heart, said the congregation was saddened by the allegations, and is taking them very seriously.
“The community unanimously intends to co-operate with the authorities,” said Messier, who represents all the defendants, which include the Corporation Maurice-Ratté and Les oeuvres Josaphat-Vanier. “They are putting all their energy into seeing and understanding what happened.”
As to the allegation there was systemic abuse involving other brothers, Messier would not speculate.
“It’s an evolving situation,” Messier said. “Twelve days have passed. There have been other calls. But whether that will translate into other plaintiffs being added (to the class action) we’ll see.”
Lebeau, who also taught and was responsible for the Grade 9 and 10 boys, left the Collège in Granby in 1997, and according to the Voix de l’Est newspaper, he then worked in Valleyfield for the Brothers of the Sacred Heart until 2010. Finally he worked as a spiritual counsellor at the Hôpital Anna Laberge in Châteauguay until his retirement in 2011.
Messier couldn’t say why Lebeau left the college. Founded in 1932, it became a secular school in 2004. But Messier was told it had nothing to do with the allegations detailed in the lawsuit.
Lebeau could not be reached for comment.
The next step is for a judge to decide whether to allow the class action to go forward, Kugler said, and, if warranted, to amend the lawsuit to include more victims — and more alleged perpetrators.
Very often, Kugler said, he is the first person grown men have ever told of the abuse they suffered as boys.
“It was kept secret for decades and were it not for A coming forward … it would have been kept secret longer,” Kugler said. “Now they realize they were not alone, it wasn’t their fault and they can feel free to come forward to talk about it confidentially and for free.”