Quebec Priest Sentenced to Three Years in Jail for Sex Assaults

Nanaimo Daily News
February 10, 2012

A Quebec priest who pleaded guilty to multiple counts of sexual assault involving 13 boys who attended a private Catholic school during the 1970s and '80s was sentenced Friday to three years in jail.

Raymond-Marie Lavoie was a teacher at Seminaire St-Alphonse, in Ste-Anne-de-Beaupre, just outside Quebec City, when the assaults took place.

The 71-year-old priest asked his victims for forgiveness and mercy when he pleaded guilty last fall.

Judge Chantale Pelletier took Lavoie's remorse and weak chance of recidivism into consideration when she rendered the sentence, but highlighted the aggravating circumstance of abuse of authority.

"As dormitory supervisor, the accused enjoyed a privileged situation: young, defenceless prey on hand," she wrote in her decision.

"The accused made new victims each school year," the judge said.

Lavoie's victims were all boarders at the college and were between the ages of 12 and 15 at the time.

Crown prosecutor Carmen Rioux, who had called for a tougher sentence of eight years imprisonment, indicated Friday she intends to appeal the sentence.

"We need to put ourselves in the victims' shoes, and today they are bitter and upset," she told reporters at the Quebec City courthouse.

"We are talking about 13 victims, that's a lot. And many victims were abused several times a week over a long period," Rioux stressed.

Lavoie's defence lawyer Serge Goulet said he is "totally satisfied" with the sentence, noting that his client has admitted his offences and is ready to face the consequences.

According to the facts presented in court, most of the sexual crimes were committed in Lavoie's room, next to the dormitory, or in the victims' bed.

At least one of Lavoie's victims was in court Friday for the sentencing.

The man, who has been granted permission by the court to be identified, is Frank Tremblay, who was 12 at the time he was assaulted.

"He's headed where he should have been for a long time," said the man, who was the first to press charges against Lavoie in 2008. "What is three years of jail when you have broken so many lives? No matter the sentence, there are things you can't erase," he said.

Tremblay has launched a class-action suit against Lavoie and is seeking $750,000 for himself and a dozen other alleged victims.

The class-action alleges that up to five priests were involved in the systematic abuse of young boys between 1960 and 1987 at the Seminaire St-Alphonse.

The suit was authorized by the Quebec Superior Court in November 2010. The school, which was run by a group of missionary priests, closed in 2001.









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