Former Coquitlam parish priest accused of sexual abuse

Vancouver Sun [Vancouver, British Columbia]

November 12, 2022

By Patrick Penner

[Different version of article posted in Abuse Tracker several days ago.]

Father Georges Chevrier, parish priest from 1971 to 1977, is now dead

A woman who alleges she was sexually groomed and abused as a child in the mid 1970s while attending Our Lady of Fatima Church in Coquitlam is suing a number of Catholic Church entities.

Identified in her notice of civil claim as L.V., the plaintiff is claiming damages in a B.C. Supreme Court civil suit filed against the estate of the deceased Father Georges Chevrier.

The archdiocese of Vancouver and several other institutions associated with Chevrier’s work history are also named as defendants.

L.V.’s lawsuit asserts that she had the inherent right to live out her childhood and youth “unaffected by the unhealthy, unsafe, and immoral interference and public nuisance of predatorial and systematic sexual abuse by Roman Catholic clergy.”

Chevrier was the parish priest at the Coquitlam church from 1971 to 1977. He died in 2003.

L.V. alleges that between 1973 and 1977, starting when she was nine, she was sexually abused and battered on numerous occasions by Chevrier on church and school grounds.

The sexual allegations in court documents include various forms of physical and sexual assault ranging from groping to intercourse.

In one instance, two other men, whom L.V. believed to be priests, observed and participated, according to the claim.

L.V. has a congenital disability, and the civil claim states Chevrier was “deliberately targeting and exploiting the plaintiff’s pre-existing vulnerabilities arising from her troubles at home, pre-existing abuse, condition, overt kindness, smiles, acceptance, love and guidance.”

Chevrier’s grooming included taking her out of catechism classes to make her feel “special” and threatening her family if she told anyone of the abuse, according to the civil claim.

L.V. alleges that, in 2008, she spoke to the archdiocese about the abuse. She states she was offered nominal compensation but was not told that Chevrier had a history of sexual abuse allegations, the claim alleges.

The claim states that L.V. didn’t learn about Chevrier’s history until later.

Lawsuits were filed in Saskatoon, in 1999, and in Regina in 2004 naming named Chevrier and several other school staff members as abusers.

The archdiocese’s failure to acknowledge the historical allegations against Chevrier led to further harm, according to L.V. lawsuit.

Chevrier was a member of the Order of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate (OMI), and the suit names several corporate entities associated with the religious order, as well as several other Canadian archdiocese and parishes where he worked.

Chevrier was an acting principal at St. Michael’s Indian Residential School between 1950 and 1954 in Duck Lake, Sask., and was later the subject of numerous sexual abuse allegations from former students, according to L.V.’s lawsuit.

Her lawsuit asserts that the institutional defendants “knew or ought to have known” of sexual abuse allegations against Chevrier and were negligent in failing to protect her.

The lawsuit accuses the institutional defendants of continuing to participate in historic “systemic abuse” by concealing sexual abuse of children by its clergy, permitting “pedophile networks to form.”

“The institutional defendants, collectively and individually, were complicit in a culture of entrenched clericalism, secrecy and distorted beliefs that promoted the psychosexual immaturity of clergy,” the claim states.

None of the charges in the civil lawsuit have been proven in court. A response has not been filed.

Patrick Penner is reporter with the Tri-Cities Dispatch