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Aggressive priests: American donors to the rescue of the Archdiocese of Moncton

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The Moncton Cathedral, where the offices of the Catholic archdiocese.

  • Pascal Raiche-Nogue (View profile)Pascal Raiche-Nogue

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External donors, notably from the United States, recently enabled the Archdiocese of Moncton to finish compensating dozens of victims of abusive priests.

For a dozen years, many men who were sexually assaulted by priests when they were minors have broken their silence.

Some of them filed civil suits against the Archdiocese of Moncton and subsequently reached settlements with the Archdiocese of Moncton x27;amiable.

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The late Father Camille Léger is one of the Catholic priests in southeastern New Brunswick who have been targeted by sexual assault allegations in recent years. Several of his victims have filed lawsuits against the Archdiocese of Moncton. (Archive photo)

For various reasons – notably the financial difficulties of the archdiocese and a dispute with its insurer – part of the compensation was delayed .

The new Archbishop of Moncton Mgr. Guy Desrochers recently announced that he and his predecessor, Mgr. Valéry Vienneau, have managed to gather the approximately $5.4 million that was missing in order to finish compensating the victims and close these cases.

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In a letter sent to parishioners on January 30, Mgr Desrochers indicates that this was made possible in particular by the use of the assets of the archdiocese and by numerous donors from outside.

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Moncton lawyer René A. LeBlanc represents around thirty victims. (Archive photo)

Three lawyers who represent numerous victims of abusive priests – Me René A. LeBlanc, Me Brian Murphy and Me Robert Talach – confirmed to Radio-Canada Acadie that they recently received the sums they had been waiting for months.

Personally, I am very happy that my customers finally received their money. I can tell you that customers also, for their part, finally have a kind of purpose. As long as they waited, it was as if the wound was still open. It was very difficult for the others, says René A. LeBlanc.

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Lawyer Brian Murphy represents several victims of abusive priests. Seen here in front of Moncton Cathedral. (Archive photo)

Mr. Brian Murphy agrees. He denounces the fact that the files dragged on for several years.

It took too long. It caused pain to my clients, but it’s over, he said.

As for the Ontario lawyer Me Robert Talach, he does not mince his words. He accuses the archdiocese of dragging its feet.

It was painful and disappointing. It was frankly harmful for the victims and it was not necessary, he noted, adding that it was inhumane to make the victims wait for years.

That's not how Jesus would have done it, he says.

In an interview, the Archbishop of Moncton gives more details on the decisions and efforts that made it possible to raise the missing millions of dollars.

< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">Among other things, Mgr. Guy Desrochers convinced the Foundation of the Archdiocese of Moncton to loosen its purse strings in order to compensate the victims. According to him, this made it possible to release $2.2 million.

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The Catholic Archbishop of Moncton, Mgr Guy Desrochers, is happy to be able to close this painful chapter in the history of his institution.

He also turned to the network of contacts he has developed over the past decades as as rector of the sanctuary of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré and as a preacher in North America.

There were 230 letters sent out in the first week of December. I was very frank about it. I explained everything without hiding anything, all the details so that they knew why I was asking them that. Because there was really a risk of the diocese going bankrupt, he said.

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A stone statue found in the facade of Moncton Cathedral, the cornerstone of the region's Catholic community.

These steps have borne fruit.

The Americans give generously, they make large amounts. I had some from Canadians, too, he said.

These donations made it possible to finally compensate 78 victims who were still waiting for part of what was owed to them, according to the archbishop.

They said “it is for the church that we give”. Saint Paul says "when one member suffers, the whole community suffers”. When you are a member in joy, everyone rejoices. So it was a solidarity, a compassion that there was from all these people that I knew and they said "we will help you".

The Archbishop of Moncton does not hide his relief. This is the end of a chapter which lasted several years and occupied a significant part of the time of his predecessor, Mgr. Valéry Vienneau.

We can finally turn the page. That said, this is not to say that victims no longer have a place. We continue to pray for them. We have compassion for all that, but we are happy to be able to take our focus off of it. It’s been 13 years. We must turn the page, and here we are capable of doing so, says Mgr Desrochers.

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The Archbishop of Moncton now wants to turn the page. (Archive photo)

He recalls that the archdiocese has had to tighten its belt in recent years , notably by closing churches and reducing its number of employees. These efforts are not over, since he will increase the diocesan tax.

This is a tax paid by parishes to the archdiocese. According to Mgr Desrochers, it is currently 8% of their income and will be increased on a case-by-case basis, depending on each parish's ability to pay.

We will ask them perhaps 10%, others 12, others 13, others 14. We will go up to 14% for those who are more capable. And quietly, we will rebuild the capital to be able to operate as a diocesan administration, affirms Mgr Desrochers.

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Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116