15 Jan 2011

New Brunswick diocese offers apology and money to clergy crime survivors but some opt to take church to court

CBC News - Canada November 3, 2010

N.B. diocese to offer apology, money for abuse

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Bathurst will offer an official apology and compensation for abuse that took place in northern New Brunswick as far back as 1959.

Rev. Wesley Wade released a statement to the media on Tuesday indicating the Catholic diocese would offer an apology and financial compensation to the 35 complainants who identified themselves to retired Supreme Court of Canada Justice Michel Bastarache during a conciliation process.

Bastarache was hired by the diocese after Levi Noel, an 84-year-old former priest, was convicted of 22 sex-related offences and Charles Picot, a former priest who had worked in Dalhousie, was charged with indecent assault. Noel's offences took place between 1959 and 1981.

Bastarache has not commented to the media since handing in his report to the diocese on Monday.

The retired judge established a financial compensation package for the victims that outlined a scale for potential payment.

Bastarache created five categories of alleged assaults that range from unwanted touching to sexual assault.

He then created subcategories that dealt with the long-term consequences of the assaults, such as the individual's inability to finish school, whether they were able to hold a job or, in some cases, their decision to attempt suicide.

It is not known how much Bastarache is recommending the victims receive or whether the church will accept the report in its entirety.

Bastarache said he then reviewed various legal precedents for compensation given to other sexual assault victims to come up with a payment range.

The diocese's statement said individuals can continue to come forward to Bastarache until Dec. 1. Nine of the 45 people who came forward to meet Bastarache have declined to be a part of the conciliation process.

They are opting to take the church to court instead.

This article was found at:



Compensation process for New Brunswick clergy abuse survivors reveals larger number of priests involved

Irish abuse survivors ask to meet with Pope's investigators to lobby for better compensation

German Catholic Church asks government to limit compensation to sex abuse survivors

Bishop seeks limits for sex abuse payments

Pope Benedict promises to better protect children in future, while New York Bishops fight to deny compensation to past victims

Catholic orders plead poor in abuse compensation cases, but hold billions in sheltered assets

Australian clergy abuse survivors say they are being re-victimized by compensation process and Catholic hierarchy

Melbourne Archbishop says sorry to clergy abuse victims, but praises compensation process that re-victimizes survivors

How the Irish religious orders negotiated their way out of fully compensating abuse survivors

Irish religious orders defy call to pay more into child abuse compensation scheme

Irish clergy abuse survivors criticize misleading compensation statement by Christian Brothers

Catholic diocese at center of Ireland's child-abuse scandals asks parishioners to help pay legal costs

Catholic faithful continue to heed bishops' appeals for money, give more after sex crimes and cover-ups exposed

Victims of sex abuse in Quebec revictimized by statute of limitations and lack of therapy services

No easy road to recovery for survivors of clergy abuse, even with settlement


  1. Priest accused of sexually abusing boys elects judge and jury

    Yvon Arsenault, 71, of Aldouane, facing 8 charges dating back to the 1970s

    CBC News February 24, 2014

    A New Brunswick priest who is facing eight sex abuse charges dating back to the 1970s has elected to be tried by judge and jury.

    Father Yvon Arsenault, 71, of Aldouane, is charged with four counts of gross indecency, three counts of indecent assault and one count of sexual assault.

    The four alleged victims were boys under the age of 18 at the time, RCMP have said.

    Arsenault, who was removed from service by the Archdiocese of Moncton in July 2012, was not present in Moncton court on Monday.

    His lawyer made the election on his behalf, which serves as an automatic not guilty plea.

    A preliminary inquiry will be held on Sept. 2 to determine if there's enough evidence to proceed to a trial.

    The RCMP started its investigation in December 2012 as a result of a complaint.

    The offences are alleged to have occurred during the 1970s and early 1980s in Shediac, Rosaireville and Collette, police said.

    Lawsuit names archdiocese, archbishops

    A man from Grand Barachois filed a lawsuit last summer, alleging he was sexually abused by Arsenault about 40 years ago.

    The man, who is now in his mid-50s, also names the Archdiocese of Moncton and three former Moncton archbishops in the court documents.

    He said the archdiocese took no steps to stop the abuse. Instead, he said the church worked to cover-up the behaviour.

    The plaintiff also alleges the archbishops involved knew about other allegations of sexual assault involving Arsenault.

    The archdiocese informed parishioners during mass in January 2013 that Arsenault and Father Irois Després, who retired in 1992, had been removed "from any ministry whatsoever following allegations of serious sexual abuse on minors."

    Retired Supreme Court of Canada justice Michel Bastarache — who was hired by the archdiocese in June 2012 to handle a compensation process for the victims of another priest in Cap-Pelé — brought the latest allegations to the archdiocese's attention, according to a Dec. 30 statement posted on its website.

    Bastarache was hired to help deal with the additional sex abuse compensation process. It has been estimated the diocese will pay out $5 million to victims of sexual abuse.


  2. Bathurst Catholic diocese in court over abuse compensation

    Case relates to retired priest Levi Noel who was convicted of 22 sex-related offences in 2010

    By Ian Bonnell, CBC News December 02, 2015

    Day two of the trial involving the Bathurst Catholic diocese and its insurance company got underway in Moncton on Wednesday.

    A lawsuit was filed by the Diocese of Bathurst against Aviva Insurance over compensation for abuse victims.

    The church believes its insurance should cover the payouts.

    On Wednesday, Archbishop Valery Vienneau took the stand before judge Stephan McNally.

    Most of the questioning by Aviva defense lawyer Charles LeBlond revolved around retired priest Levi Noel.

    Noel spent 30 years in the Diocese of Bathurst and was sentenced in 2010 to eight years in prison after pleading guilty to 22 sex-related offences.The victims were boys between the ages of eight and 16 at the time of the abuse.

    LeBlond referred to correspondence between Vienneau, Noel and many other members of the Roman Catholic church dating back to the early sixties.

    The letters and notes demonstrated a clear pattern of abuse allegations in the areas Noel worked, followed by his subsequent transfer from over a half-dozen communities.

    Many letters revealed deep concern over Noel's conduct.

    Speaking to reporters outside of court, Leblond said the issue is what the diocese knew, "and by diocese, I mean the archbishops of the day as they progressed through the years, and when notice of potential claims should have been provided."

    Leblond says there are time limitations on these types of claims.

    The trial is expected to continue into next week.


    see the original post above and these earlier reports on this case:

    N.B. diocese to offer apology, money for abuse

    Bathurst diocese asks Vatican to defrock disgraced priest

    Bathurst diocese defends sex abuse conciliation in ad

  3. Victims of sexual abuse by clergy opened up to Michel Bastarache

    Former Supreme Court justice testifies in the civil suit involving Diocese of Bathurst

    By Jennifer Choi, CBC News December 03, 2015

    A former Supreme Court justice testified today in a lawsuit between the Diocese of Bathurst and its insurance company.

    Michel Bastarache took the stand and described how victims told him how they were sexually abused by Catholic priests in the diocese dating back to the 1950's.

    "Eighty per cent of people told me I was the first person they told," said Bastarache in a Moncton courtroom. "About half of those people told me I'd be the last."

    Bastarache was in charge of a confidential conciliation or compensation process for victims of molestation by priests in the Bathurst diocese.

    He was hired in 2010 by Bathurst's bishop at the time, Valery Vienneau, who is now the Archbishop of Moncton.

    "At that time I thought it would be 30 people and only two priests involved, but I interviewed 90 people," said Bastarache.

    The victims reported sexual abuse by a total of 26 priests in the diocese.

    The former judge testified in the civil lawsuit between the Bathurst diocese and the Aviva Insurance company. The church is suing Aviva for more than $7 million, the amount of money it paid out to victims of sexual abuse.

    Aviva argues it has no obligation to pay that money to the church because the company says the church knew children and teens were being molested by priests for decades and did nothing about it.

    Three victims told Bastarache at some point they'd reported abuses to a bishop, and two or three others told him they'd reported abuses during confession.

    Emotional reports by victims

    Bastarache told the court victims were emotional when telling him their stories of abuse.

    "Suddenly they'd break out crying, I'd have to stop and come back and ask the same question three or four times," said Bastarache.

    "Some were mad ... some were desperate," he said with emotion to the court, "Some angry."

    To ensure anonymity, Bastarache said he is the only one who knows the names of the victims who received compensation, and the victims are only identified to the diocese by a number.

    Compensation formula developed

    Bastarache explained to the court he came up with a compensation formula based on a lot of research.

    "I read all the cases I could find dealing with sexual assault and tried to identify the kind of abuse and the compensation,' he said.

    He interviewed each victim that came forward, and he would cross-reference their claims of abuse. Bastarache then determined how much each person would receive based on the nature of assault, age, and number of incidents.

    Bastarache told the court he is "convinced" the compensation process was fair to the victims and to the diocese.

    "I thought he [Vienneau] was very courageous," he said, referring to the compensation process. Bastarache said Vienneau went ahead with the process despite pushback from parishioners who didn't want money they helped raise go towards paying out victims of abuse.


  4. Insurance company says Bathurst diocese knew of abuse by priests

    Bathurst diocese suing former insurer for millions it paid out to sexual assault victims

    CBC News December 07, 2015

    Lawyers for Aviva Insurance are arguing its policies do not cover sexual abuse by priests within the Catholic Diocese of Bathurst.

    The diocese has filed a civil lawsuit against the insurer to help it recoup more than $7-million it paid out to victims of sexual abuse.

    "Clearly there is no coverage," said Aviva's lawyer Charles LeBlond in his opening statement Monday in a Moncton courtroom. "There is no coverage for criminal activity."

    In his statement, LeBlond also said "there is a fair bit of documented evidence that the diocese and the bishops of the day were aware."

    Father Levi Noel and Father Charles Picot, both former priests in the diocese, have been criminally charged with numerous counts of sexual abuse, some dating back to the 1950s.

    The Bathurst diocese had an insurance policy with Aviva from 1957 to 1983.

    Last week, the court heard from former Supreme Court justice Michel Bastarache. He explained he interviewed 90 sexual assault victims as part of a compensation process.

    Those victims named a total of 26 priests, including Noel and Picot, as abusers in the diocese.

    LeBlond told the court there is documentation that Noel had been shipped from parish to parish, including one letter, "where the bishop sent him north where nobody knew his past," said LeBlond. "A bishop accommodating a priest, knowing he would reoffend."

    LeBlond went on to say that a reasonable bishop would have at least removed the priest from contact with children.

    Chris Blom, one of the lawyers representing the diocese, acknowledges the church had knowledge some priests were molesting children.

    But, Blom argued that in the 1950s and several decades that followed, the diocese did not know abuse was an insurance risk. And he said the insurer never asked the diocese whether there was abuse within the church.