Two class-action lawsuits alleging sexual assault against Quebec priests move forward

CTV Television Network [Toronto, Canada]

June 16, 2023

By Keila DePape

A pair of class-action lawsuits against two Roman Catholic organizations in Quebec involving sexual assaults alleged to have occurred over the past 80 years can move forward.

The Superior Court in Montreal on Friday authorized the two lawsuits, which name the dioceses of Joliette and Longueuil as defendants.

A total of 41 people have joined the suits, which accuse over a dozen priests of sexual assaults dating back to the 1940s until the present, according to the firm behind the lawsuits, Arsenault Dufresne Wee (ADW).

A 47-year-old man and a 50-year-old man are the lead plaintiffs. They were between 6 and 10 years old during the alleged assaults. Neither is named in the firm’s release, though it says one is prepared to go public.

While the court’s authorization allows each case to proceed, “the parties have decided to negotiate to try to reach an amicable settlement,” before beginning the legal process, said ADW.

The law firm is inviting anyone who may have experienced sexual assault by someone from one of the religious organizations to contact them to join the suit.

The following priests are named in the suits: Abbe Bernard Forest, Bernard Lefebvre, Bruno Breault, Bruno Drolet, Jean-Marie Payette, Lucien Melancon and Auxiliary Bishop Edouard Jette of the Diocese of Joliette, Pierre-Emile Brodeur, Richard Parenteau, Andre Huet, George Forest, Rolland Martin and Fr. Leon Lajoie s.j.

The firm notes that the Diocese of Longueuil was also called Diocese de Saint-Jean-de-Quebec before being renamed in the 1980s.