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Father Yvon Arsenault said in a court document that he will defend himself against allegations that he sexually abused people in his parish. (CBC)

A New Brunswick priest is facing new allegations of sexual abuse dating back almost 40 years, according to court documents.

A 54-year-old man from Grand Barachois alleges that he was sexually abused by Father Yvon Arsenault almost 40 years ago.

The man’s lawsuit also names the Archdiocese of Moncton and three former Moncton archbishops.

He said the archdiocese took no steps to stop the abuse. Instead, he said the church worked to cover-up the behaviour.

The plaintiff also alleges the archbishops involved knew about other allegations of sexual assault involving Arsenault.

He said the reputation of the diocese was more important to them than the safety of children.

The allegations are contained in court documents. None of the allegations have been proven in court.

Arsenault has filed a statement of defence saying he will fight the allegations in court.

The Diocese of Moncton has been forced to deal with a series of sexual abuse controversies in the past year.

The archdiocese informed parishioners during mass in January that Arsenault, who was removed in July 2012, and Father Irois Després, who retired in 1992, have been removed "from any ministry whatsoever following allegations of serious sexual abuse on minors."

Retired Supreme Court of Canada justice Michel Bastarache — who was hired by the archdiocese in June 2012 to handle a compensation process for the victims of another priest in Cap-Pelé — brought the latest allegations to the archdiocese's attention, according to a Dec. 30 statement posted on its website.

Bastarache was hired to help deal with the additional sex abuse compensation process. It is estimated the diocese will pay out $5 million to victims of sexual abuse.

As of May, 80 people had been compensated.

In May, the diocese announced it was cutting the number of staff to 14 from 19.

As well, the diocese’s office in Dieppe, which was once the home of the bishop, is being sold because it can no longer afford to pay the annual $50,000 in operating costs.