Former Priest Jailed for Attack on Boy Decades Ago

CBC News
November 6, 2007

A retired Catholic priest was sentenced in Sydney, N.S., to one year in jail for sexually assaulting a teenage boy in 1987.

During the sentencing hearing Tuesday, the judge said Claude Richard abused his position of authority over the boy, who was 14 at the time of the assault.

The victim, who can't be named because of a publication ban, described himself as a fragile boy from a tragically abusive and alcoholic home. He said Richard was the first adult to ever offer him comfort and solace.

Now in his mid-30s, he told the court that Richard's kindness soon turned to something sinister, and that the priest assaulted him repeatedly over 2 months at a church in Glace Bay.

Richard, who pleaded guilty to a single count of sexual assault, claimed it happened only once.

The judge heard discrepancies in the victim's timeline and other details.

Continue Article

As well as the 12 months in jail, Richard was given two years' probation, and ordered to stay away from children under age 16 and submit a DNA sample.

The judge's decision is not a comment on the truthfulness of the victim, said Crown prosecutor Gerald MacDonald.

"When you're dealing with the passage of time and when you add on top of that the impact that an offence such as this has on a person, I have nothing but respect for him for coming forward. It wasn't easy by any stretch of the imagination," he told reporters outside the courtroom.

Richard said he is not the same person he used to be and apologized to his victim.

The man told the retired priest that what happened has stolen from him any hope of happiness.

Richard spent time in jail in the 1990s for multiple sex crimes against young people while he was a parish priest in various locations in Nova Scotia.


Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.