Reverend Paul Breau is one of four priests accused of sexual assault in New Brunswick, following a disturbing trend of new allegations and evidence that has recently surfaced regarding these crimes. Breau is one of two priests in Shediac who is being sued for sexually assaulting a minor (the second being Rev. Yvon Arsenault). The lawsuit also includes the Moncton Diocese, which is being blamed for allowing the priests to use their positions for sexual crimes against a 13-year old boy.
While this case is another disturbing example of pedophilia within religious institutions, it’s important to note that sexual assaults against minors are sadly more common than many realize. Around 60% of sexual abuse or assault cases in Canada involve victims who are under the age of 17, and 15% of all sexual assault victims in the country are boys under the age of 16.
Father Paul Breau occupied several positions in the Moncton Diocese, including leadership positions at the University of Moncton and the Dorchester Penitentiary. The allegations at the center of the lawsuit claim that the sexual assault happened in a two-year period in the 1980s, at the St.-Joseph parish.
According to the reports, the complainant was a 13-year-old boy who, at the time, had been ordered to do community work on the church grounds in response to a minor offence. The priests were responsible for managing his work, and abused their authority to sexually assault him, ultimately leading to rape.
The complainant, now 45 years old, has claimed severe depression and anxiety as a result of the assault.
The University of Moncton has refused to make a comment on the allegations, repeating its policy of not commenting on cases currently before court. However, The Archbishop of Moncton, Valery Vienneau, has remove Breau from his position in light of the recent lawsuit. The Archbishop reported that while Father Breau has “an excellent track record” it was still the policy of the church to suspend clerics from all activities until applicable court cases can be resolved.
Currently there is no connection to the several lawsuits that have been filed this year and in 2015 against a number of priests within the province. These cases range from a plea of guilty to upcoming court dates in October to review accusations.
If you or a loved one has experienced sexual abuse in their lives but has been afraid to talk about it publicly, you are not alone. McKiggan Hebert has received notable recognition when handling these delicate assault cases: We understand how difficult it can to consider joining a lawsuit, even when other victims have come forward. If you want to know more about your legal options or have other questions to ask, you can always contact us for more information.