The Roman Catholic Church in New Brunswick is facing new accusations involving former university chaplain Rev. Yvon Arsenault and Rev. Paul Breau. Documents filed state a young offender ordered to perform community work as part of his punishment was sexually abused by Arsenault and Breau over a two year period during the 1980s. The priests were in charge of supervising the boy to ensure he completed his community service.

The complainant, now 45 years old, says the sexual abuse forced him to “spend the remainder of his life struggling to cope with the emotional, physical and psychological burdens of being abused”. The complainant’s allegations have yet to be proved in court and the defence has not filed a response to these allegations.

Yet Another Sexual Abuse Victim

Already removed from his position in the diocese, Rev. Arsenault faces another lawsuit from a different complainant who also alleges he was sexually abused by Arsenault at age 12 while attending the St. Joseph Parish.

Adding to the reprehensibility of the sexual abuse case against Arsenault et al is the fact that the Roman Catholic diocese in New Brunswick knew the abuse was happening but did not notify the police. Lawyer representing the victims say that the police should have been notified immediately by the Roman Catholic diocese upon suspicion of the sexual abuse. Lawyer McKiggan and Talach have stated the Archdiocese of Moncton was clearly responsible for referring the abuse to the RCMP and are just as to blame for the abuse as Arsenault and Breau.

Up to the Victims to Report Abuse?

An Archdiocese spokesman says it is up to sexual abuse victims to report abuse allegations to police.

Michel Bastarache, a former Supreme Court of Canada justice, stated that because the archdiocese is a “third party” in this matter, they were not obligated to report suspected sexual abuse to the police. Bastarache claimed that the church cannot report abuse allegations to the police if it does not have “direct knowledge” of the victims’ identities or what happened between the priests and the victims. However, Bastarache does encourage alleged sexual abuse victims to report their abuse to the police.

“It must be victims who report their abuse to the police–not someone with third-party information”, Bastarache told reporters.

Can Victims Receive Compensation for Sexual Abuse by Priests?

Sexual abuse can leave scars for decades and victims deserve justice. We have successfully handled multiple cases involving sexual abuse and understand the laws and emotional distress involved. If you have been the victim of sexual abuse, contact our Halifax lawyer for an immediate consultation.

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