Quebec’s victims of sexual abuse victims of the law, too, says group

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 Montreal Gazette

24 April 20108:02 PM
By Catherine Solyom, Montreal Gazette

MONTREAL — One out of every six North American boys is sexually assaulted before they reach the age of majority.

It’s a statistic, drawn from studies, that’s difficult to fathom — even considering the latest abuse scandals to rock the Catholic Church and the Boy Scouts of America, among other organizations.

But the revelations have also awakened long-dormant traumas that are forcing other men to seek help, and for some to come forward.

In Quebec, there’s little help to be had.

“We are the only centre in Quebec that offers group therapy for men,” said Alain Jobidon, executive director of CRIPHASE, (the Centre de ressources et d’intervention pour hommes abuses sexuellement dans leur enfance), which held its third annual march Saturday.

“There is an enormous lack of services available to abuse victims and the demand is greater every year.”

Since 1996, CRIPHASE has normally held three to five 10-week sessions of group therapy per year. In 2009, it held 19. And there are 150 men on the waiting list.

Jobidon, who was abused at the age of seven by his mother’s boyfriend, says it helps victims psychologically to come forward. But it also forces other victims to relive their own traumas and to seek help that simply isn’t available.

The organization would need an extra $150,000 a year to adequately treat all the men asking for help.

But money to pay for more services is not the only thing CRIPHASE is demanding.

It wants more severe penalties for offenders who up to now, have been protected while the children they abused have been ignored, Jobodin said.

“We leave the victims to themselves and the pedophiles have all the help they need,” said Jobidon, who was in Ottawa this week consulting with Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who has vowed to reverse that imbalance. “Some are even getting pensions in prison.”

CRIPHASE also wants the statute of limitations on sexual abuse in Quebec to be lifted, as it has been in all other jurisdictions in North America.

In Quebec, victims — or their parents — can still only sue their aggressors within three years of the assault.

A Quebec court of appeal decision last year, for example, rejected an appeal by a woman who was abused by the parish priest, Paul-Henri Lachance, in 1981, when she was seven.

Lachance was sentenced to 18 months in prison last year, after pleading guilty to the charges.

But in civil court, the judge ruled that even though the archdiocese asked the parents to keep the incident quiet, telling them that the church would take charge, the parents should have filed a lawsuit by 1983.

The three-year deadline had long passed for Jobodin when he finally sought help dealing with the abuse he suffered, 33 years after the fact.

“Quebec refuses to lift the statute of limitations. We’re protecting our pedophiles,” Jobodin said.

It is not clear whether the statute of limitations will apply to a class-action lawsuit filed against the Catholic Church on Thursday, however, for abuses committed in the 1980s at the Seminaire St. Alphonse in Ste. Anne de Beaupre, outside Quebec City.

The main plaintiff, Frank Tremblay, will argue that he had repressed the abuse until he recently sought therapy, because he felt guilty.

And he did not tell his parents what had happened, so the statute of limitations should not apply. In fact, he didn’t tell anyone what happened for 30 years, said Carlo Tarini, an advocate for victims’ rights who is familiar with the case.

If the suit is approved by a Quebec Superior Court Justice, Tremblay will ask for $750,000 in damages, while each additional plaintiff would seek a minimum of $100,000.

The Catholic Church is not the only organization accused of protecting pedophiles instead of children.

Saturday’s march, attended by an estimated 150 people, came on the heels of an $18.5-million award to a victim who was sexually abused by a Boy Scout leader in Oregon.

A jury there ordered the Boy Scouts of America to pay the record amount to the man, now 38, because it said the Boy Scouts knew there were pedophiles in their ranks, yet did not protect the children left in their care.

And a compensation deal to settle a class-action lawsuit against Bishop’s College School in Lennoxville, Que., is at risk, CBC is reporting. At least 30 former students, who claim they were molested at the school in the 1950s and 1960s, have joined the suit, the report says, but the deal will fall through if three or more of the claimants refuse to sign.

Montreal Gazette

9 Responses to Quebec’s victims of sexual abuse victims of the law, too, says group

  1. maggie says:

    in the 1960s girls were being sexually abused by the janitor at Bancroft Elementary School on St Urbain Janitors name was Raymond and Pricipale at the time was Mr. Herman but no one has come forth all these years and at the time Raymond was arrested at the School then all was hushed by the School…..seems like Schools were a preditors home base in those years.

    • Douglas Norman says:

      In my case, I was sexually abused in 1962 around. Forget the three year period for reporting the sexual abuse I was a victim of. The definition of a victim of childhood sexual abuse in the early sixties was a girl, not a child, who recieved sexual touching by an adult etvetra. Boys like me were not protected under the law from being victims of childhood sexual abuse unlike the girls. Boys were only recognised as victims of childhood sexual abuse as mentionned in the Criminal code of Canada in 1980. My three year period for denouncing the perp was long gone before we(boys ) were included as part of the definition of victims of childhood sexual abuse. Sexual abuse does not happen without leaving a mark. I experienced cronic anxiety and nervousness as an adult in a large part due to having been sexually abused. I only put the dots together in 2010 about thanks to a provincial campaign to address the problem of sexual abuse in all forms, including childhood sexual abuse. Due to chronic anxiety and nervousnous I lost out on the greatest part of my life as well as having had no real childhood. I experience a pang of bitterness writing this. But I can thank the abuser for helping me to become more sensitive to those who were sexually abused in their childhood. despite the horrendous cost I had to pay to get to this point. And pedophiles will get their Old Age pensions upon turning 65 if incarcerated and I’m obliged to pay sales taxes at least to make that happen. But where is the help for me? I’m 63 and what I achieved I achieved mostly on my own.

  2. BC says:

    Some of the information that you are representing in your post is inaccurate . For instance; Bernard Prince was convicted in 2008 of molesting 13 boys between 1964 and 1984. Had you been correct; such a conviction could have never been obtained. There have been many other trials looking into young boys having been sexually abused in the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and onwards and many of these cases resulted in criminal convictions. There are literally thousands of settlements of civil actions for the same period; so Canadian torts law also protected male minors during those years.

    I lament what you claim happened to you and I whish you all the best.

  3. Douglas Norman says:

    The example of Bernard Prince was an example of a pedophile who abused children in Ontario Canada. I was not fortunate enough to have lived in Ontario when I was sexually abused at age six. I was a resident of the province of Quebec where victims have only three months to file a complaint according to the article above. In the same article mentioned above a woman was denied a hearing because she too lives in Quebec like me. Three months is three .months in Quebec, the province where I reside a cording to the article above. Thankfully those alter boys were Ontario residents.

  4. BC says:

    Your opinion is uninformed.
    1) There is only one criminal justice system in Canada; it is Federal and it applies equally in all of the provinces and territories.
    2) There is no statute of limitations in Canada for criminal offences.
    3) the statute of limitations in Québec for civil actions involving a sexual component of abuse of a minor is up to 30 years. Québec`s Protecteur du citoyen (i.e. it`s provincial Ombudsman) is nevertheless reviewing the applicable civil statute of limitations as jurisdictions inside and outside of Canada have abolished their limitations statutes for such actions.

  5. Sylvia says:

    Douglas, as BC says, there is no statute of limitations for sexual crimes in Canada. The Criminal Code of Canada applies to every province. There is, however, a statute of limitations in Quebec when it comes to suing someone for sex abuse. In other words, a victim living in Quebec can go to police to report sexual abuse at any time, and if the offender is still alive and police decide there is sufficient evidence to lay charges, charges will be laid and the case will then head toward a trial. That is totally different than a victim who decides to retain a lawyer to sue. In Quebec there is a statute of limitations on filing lawsuits.

    As for legal protection of boys in the 60s, actually the law did provide protection for boys. Yes, what you say is true, the law has really changed over the years, however there definitely were such laws in those days: for example, the Criminal Code included once included such crimes as “Indecent Assault on Male,” “Acts of Gross Indecency between male persons.” and “Buggery.”

    A number of years ago I put together and posted some information regarding the changes in the sex assault laws over the years. Here is a link I think it may help you understand what laws existed and how they have changes.

    To further clarify, when charges are laid the charges are based on the criminal code which was in effect at the time the alleged offences were committed. That means that when charges are laid now in relation to allegations dating to 1967 it is the Criminal Code of Canada which was in force in and right across Canada in 1967 which is used to lay the charges. It is the same right across Canada.

  6. Sylvia says:


    I just now posted the CBC article plus the original Toronto Globe and Mail article: 05 June 2017: Government wrested control of sexual assault review from police watchdog” & related article

    Because there are a number of graphs in the latter which do not reproduce well I have included a link to the Globe and Mail article.

    I encourage those of you who have had a negative experience reporting sex abuse allegations to police to read both articles.

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