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A mother discovers, decades later, that she and her son were assaulted by the same priest.

Two alleged victims of father Georges Fournier testify

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Marcelle Nadeau and her youngest son, Stéphane Desrosiers allege that they were sexually assaulted by Georges Fournier in the 1970s and 1980s. < /p>

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

Two alleged victims of the late priest Georges Fournier break the silence. In an interview, Marcelle Nadeau and her son Stéphane Desrosiers say they experienced an ordeal, in the 1970s and 1980s, at the presbytery of Saint-Hilaire, in northwestern New Brunswick.

Marcelle Nadeau welcomes us to her home, in Baker-Brook, near Edmundston. The rain beats against the windows. His little white dog wanders around and barks.

This septuagenarian sits at her kitchen table with her youngest son, Stéphane Desrosiers. Her eldest son – who supports them, but who wishes to remain anonymous – remains in the background.

The story she is preparing to tell the story, she buried it for decades. She told it to her lawyer in 2021, as part of the filing of two civil lawsuits. These lawsuits are still ongoing.

Today, she wants to lift the veil and give her version of the facts, even if it means that she has to delve into troubling memories.

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Stéphane Desrosiers (center) and his older brother with father Georges Fournier.

This story begins in 1975 in Saint-Quentin, in northern New Brunswick. It was a difficult time for Marcelle Nadeau, who was in her twenties at the time.

She has two young boys, an eighth grader, a apartment and very few prospects for the future. She is separated from her partner and no longer knows where to turn.

One ​​day, her father tells her that the priest of Saint-Hilaire accepts to hire her as a housekeeper and accommodate her at the presbytery.

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Marcelle Nadeau and her two young sons took up residence in the presbytery of Saint-Hilaire in 1975. At first glance, it seemed like a perfect plan.

At first glance, this is the jackpot. She will be able to start fresh, earn a living and move away from her ex-partner.

I was living in fear, then it' was a way of hiding. I said to myself: in Saint-Hilaire, he will certainly not come to a presbytery. When I got there, there was the school, the rectory, the church, the leisure center, everything. It was ideal for my children who were young, she said.

At the time, Stéphane Desrosiers was young and did not understand everything that was happening around him. But the idea of ​​moving to such a big house with her mother and older brother enchants her.

Girl, there is a big house, then you will be able to ride a pedal bicycle in the corridors. It was also big. […] It was interesting, he says.

Shortly after her move, Marcelle Nadeau became disillusioned. One evening, while the children were in bed, Father Georges Fournier brought him into the living room to talk.

We drank a bottle of wine together , he was sitting not far from me. […] When I took the passage to go to bed, he pushed me towards his room, she says.

She enters the room and stands frozen. She doesn't say anything. It was there that she was sexually assaulted for the first time, she said.

I knew I was in for a treat. I didn't want to say “let me go”, I was afraid the children would wake up. That means there is a sexual relationship. I went upstairs afterwards. Then I cried, of course. I said to myself: “You’re caught, you’re caught in this… but you’re an adult, you’re capable of getting through it.”

A quote by Marcelle Nadeau

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Father Georges Fournier in a vintage photo taken from the archives of Marcelle Nadeau.

Marcelle Nadeau alleges that she was sexually assaulted by Father Georges Fournier on several occasions over the following years.

Her son says he knew that this was happening. I was aware of what was happening. I saw him coming to get her from her room, says Stéphane Desrosiers.

Years after the first alleged assault, Marcelle Nadeau put her foot down. She explains to the priest that she is not there to be his wife.

She remains at the presbytery. She knows that turning her back on Father Fournier would cause her to lose her housing, her job and access to services close to her place of residence.

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Marcelle Nadeau and her son Stéphane Desrosiers.

I stayed for my children. I no longer had a place to go. I didn't know anyone, I didn't want to return to Saint-Quentin. So, I stayed. Over time, I was able to stop, so life became more normal.

Marcelle Nadeau buries her traumas. During this time, his two sons continued their studies until the end of secondary school. A great pride for Marcelle Nadeau.

For me, it was the most important thing that my children had what I did not ;didn’t get it. I had no education. Then I wanted my children to earn a good living, to be educated.

It was only around fifteen years later, in 1989, that she left the presbytery of Saint-Hilaire. She finds a job and meets a man, with whom she subsequently forms a couple.

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Marcelle Nadeau says she stayed at the Saint-Hilaire presbytery after being sexually assaulted because she had nowhere to go. She also wanted her children to have an education.

She still kept contact with Georges Fournier until his death, at the age of 91, in October 2021. A contact that she keeps it reluctantly, she says.

About two weeks after the funeral of the man of the Church, her son Stéphane came to her house. He invites her to sit at the kitchen table. He has things to tell him.

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Father Georges Fournier of Edmundston died on October 2, 2021. He was 91 years old.

He confides to her that he too was sexually assaulted several years ago. And not by just anyone. He alleges that his attacker is none other than Father Georges Fournier.

That's where I said everything, that's where I told everything. I had it in there long enough that it came out crooked. But it came out the same. I said: "Mom, I have enough rage in my body, you can't tell." I said there, he died and I am finally relieved.

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It was at this table that Stéphane Desrosiers first told his mother what he experienced over the years 1970 and 1980.

This conversation has the effect of a bomb. Because Marcelle Nadeau had suspected for several years that something had happened to her. She suspected that he had been attacked by a friend of her eldest son.

When she realized that the alleged attacker was in fact Father Georges Fournier, she simply can't believe it.

It was a terrible rage. I can't say what I would have done if he had been alive. But thank God he was dead.

In an interview, Stéphane Desrosiers alleges that Father Fournier sexually assaulted him for several years, without his mother's knowledge.

Me, it started, I was young, I was a young child, he said.

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Stéphane Desrosiers alleges that Father Georges Fournier sexually assaulted him in the 1970s and 1980s.

He says the priest coaxed him by giving him toys and candy.

He quickly learned that if he gave me toy cars, I fell into my world. Everything else around me no longer existed. That was it. He could play with me as he wanted, he said.

Stéphane Desrosiers says he didn't talk to his brother about it at the time. time and that he suffered in silence.

I couldn't say it, it didn't come out. I went to sit on the edge of the stairs, on the edge of the living room, and I shouted to my brother: "Come to bed, there is a monster in my room." I couldn't tell it was Father Fournier.

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Father Georges Fournier in 1974.

According to him, Father Fournier sexually assaulted him for years, until he wrote a suicide note at age 16.

It had to stop because there, it's mental, he says.

Stéphane Desrosiers says that he kept the secret for decades, until he confided in his mother after Georges Fournier's funeral.

It's not something I wanted to talk about, because you're ashamed, you're embarrassed. You don't want the world to find out, because you will be judged. But at one point, that’s why I asked to meet you. Whether I am judged or not judged, I experienced it the same.

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Stéphane Desrosiers kept silent for decades. It was only after the death of Georges Fournier that he confided in his mother and his brother.

Stéphane Desrosiers affirms that these attacks left after-effects which have not been erased by the death of Georges Fournier.

Her mother agrees. Inside me, I have a shell, I have a face, all that, but here, it's dead. It's completely dead, she said, pointing to her chest.

I was able to…. I couldn't do anything, I couldn't be happy, I couldn't be sad, I could… It's dead.

Marcelle Nadeau and Stéphane Desrosiers filed civil proceedings in the Court of King's Bench in January 2022. These proceedings target the estate of Georges Fournier and the Catholic diocese of Edmundston.

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The two civil suits filed at the Court of King's Bench by Marcelle Nadeau and Stéphane Desrosiers are still ongoing. (File photo)

The diocese and estate filed defense briefs.

In its statement, the estate – two nephews of the late priest – questions some of the plaintiffs' allegations and denies others.

We contacted the lawyer who represents the estate, Me Jocelyne J. Moreau. She told us that her clients have no comments to make.

The case is still before the courts and could remain so for years. The allegations made by the plaintiffs have not been proven in court.

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