Survivor of Catholic priest Charles Sylvestre’s abuse aims to re-open civil lawsuit

The London Free Press

September 24, 2018

By Jane Sims

Irene Deschenes watched her former parish priest, her abuser, be led from the Chatham courtroom in disgrace for decades of sexually abusing girls.

With her was a room full of other survivors of Charles Sylvestre’s depravity, brought together largely because of Deschene’s persistence and determination to bring him to justice.

That might have been the end, the final moment for her in the summer of 2006.

It was a startling discovery two months later of long-lost 1962 Sarnia police reports investigating Sylvestre’s abuse of girls, that meant the long and painful journey wasn’t over.

“That’s when the light bulb went on,” she said. “That’s the evidence. That’s the proof they knew.”

Twelve years later, the 57-year-old survivor of sexual abuse will be back in a London courtroom on Friday for what could be a ground-breaking and historic move to bring the Roman Catholic Diocese of London to account for keeping Sylvestre working as a priest while knowing he was molesting girls.

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