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Sexual abuse in the Diocese of Hearst-Moosonee: a former judge for the extrajudicial process

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Mgr Pierre-Olivier Tremblay was installed in the diocese of Hearst-Moosonee on August 24, 2022. (Archive photo)

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The diocese of Hearst-Moosonee, which wants to reach an amicable agreement with alleged victims of sexual assault, will soon appoint a former judge to preside over the process, according to the bishop of diocese, Mgr Pierre-Olivier Tremblay.

This approach aims to offer financial compensation to survivors who wish it, – he explained in an interview with Radio-Canada.

According to Mgr Tremblay, the alleged victims will still be invited to speak with a lawyer to decide whether they prefer to participate in the process amicably or initiate legal proceedings against the Church.

A report from the program EnquĂȘte revealed that the diocese had until recently protected alleged sexual abusers. Since last summer, 15 people have come forward to tell their experience to social worker Mona Comeau, appointed by the diocese to follow this file.

In addition, Mgr Tremblay promises that an action plan related to sexual abuse will soon be revealed.

Bishop Tremblay, who took office in 2022 from Mauricie, indicates that he himself met several alleged victims.

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[The survivors] told me what they experienced. At the same time, it was important for them that I could hear them, listen to them, receive them, he says.

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Bishop Pierre-Olivier Tremblay wishes to rebuild trust between the diocese and the community.

Based on the testimonies of the alleged victims, the ex-magistrate who will soon be appointed will therefore have responsibility to determine a monetary amount that will be allocated based on the severity of what they have had to go through, affirms Mgr Tremblay.

Why a retired judge to lead this exercise? Because they are often better placed to help in these circumstances, replies the bishop. He says he relies on examples of similar cases, particularly in Acadia.

It will be done by an authority which is not the diocese, which is outside the diocese. […] It was the missing piece, the most important element to ensure the independence, rigor, legitimacy of the process.

A quote from Mgr. Pierre-Olivier Tremblay, bishop of the diocese of Hearst-Moosonee

In a message to the alleged victims dated January 16, Mgr Tremblay writes that because 'he is not involved in the diocese, [a judge] can be neutral and impartial.

The bishop assures that an amicable agreement remains only an option that the diocese presents to the survivors.

When the retired judge [is in office] and we can begin the meetings, each of the survivors will be invited to meet a lawyer and form an opinion. So they have the choice to sue us or to accept mediation for a process which will be accelerated, he says.

Mgr Tremblay insists that amicable agreements have several advantages.

What we want is something that is delicate, that is not intrusive, that is not antagonistic, something that is discreet, something that is within the scope of what survivors want to experience. So the choice will be up to them. Each of them will have to decide when the time comes.

A quote from Mgr Pierre-Olivier Tremblay, bishop of the diocese of Hearst-Moosonee

It does not matter what choice the alleged victims, the financial dimension is only one element, recognizes the bishop.

What they want is to ensure that this type of terrible ordeal that they had to go through does not happen again on other people obviously, he notes.

To this end, in the coming days, he intends to publish an action plan on […] everything [that] does [the diocese] , all the steps that concern repair, prevention and training.

He says he is aware of the skepticism, present even among certain faithful who doubt the capacity of the diocese to carry out effective reform.

I tell [them] that I understand very well [their] hesitation, [their] doubts, [their] reactions and I heard them, I continue to receive them. What I hope is that our actions speak, and if you feel like coming on board with us, to trust us, says Mgr Tremblay.

It's not easy to trust in a context where you have experienced broken trust. Trust, as I have often said to several people in recent months, takes a very long time to build and even longer to rebuild, but that's what I want to do day after day and I will continue to do it. .

A quote from Mgr Pierre-Olivier Tremblay, bishop of the diocese of Hearst-Moosonee

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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