Ex-residential school worker convicted of abusing boys
B.C. man worked at Beauval Residential School 5 decades ago
A former residential school worker in northern Saskatchewan has been found guilty of indecently assaulting young boys nearly five decades ago.
Paul Leroux, now 73, was a dormitory supervisor at the Beauval Residential School in the 1950s and 1960s.
He was accused of molesting 14 boys. Reporters in the court house Tuesday reported that the judge on the case found Leroux guilty on ten counts of indecent assault. Queen's Bench Justice Murray Acton delivered his decision at the Battleford courthouse Tuesday afternoon.
There were 17 charges altogether, including indecent assault and gross indecency. The allegations included sexual touching, oral and anal sex, and bringing boys to his room where they were given alcohol and shown pornography.
The judge reviewed the circumstances for each alleged victim in his decision and said the evidence for most of the cases led him to conclude that Leroux was guilty, beyond a reasonable doubt.
When Leroux spoke, he told the court he was innocent.
"I'm not guilty of these offences," Leroux said. "That's all I have to say."
Leroux will be sentenced on Dec. 5.
The prosecutor on the case, Mitch Piche, said he was pleased with the outcome.
"I thought the judgment was very thorough," Piche told reporters. "It was
a credibility matter and I thought [the judge] did a very good analysis of the
credibility of each of the witnesses."
While sentencing will take place in December, Leroux was taken into custody Tuesday.
Piche said he was concerned Leroux would not show up for sentencing.
"My concern is that he would run," Piche said, adding he did not want to chance that, considering the effort that witnesses had made.
"I'm very pleased with the outcome," one of the victims, who can not be named, said after court adjourned. "This is after living for 50 years in denial, and I believe what today brings will be a fairness to us as victims."
According to Piche, the convictions could attract a prison term of three years, although he added that could move up or down depending upon the sentencing factors the judge considers.
Piche noted that Leroux had been doing well in the community after serving time for a previous conviction relating to another residential school.
"He's basically rehabilitated himself after 1975 and basically went on to lead a useful life in society," Piche said. "Unfortunately he never went on to deal with some of the issues from his past."
Former students testified
During the three-week, judge-alone trial in North Battleford, a number of former students testified.
One of them said Leroux plied him with alcohol and sexually abused him from 1961 to 1963 when the student was 12 to 14.
That man, now in his 60s, told Leroux under cross-examination: "I was your slave, your puppet, for almost three years."
Leroux represented himself at the trial. He denied all charges, arguing there were many inconsistencies in the complainants' stories.
At the start of his decision, Acton noted Leroux had strong bonds with students that crossed the line into inappropriate behaviour. He also said there was much contradictory evidence and after 50 years, it was difficult to sort out what was done.
Leroux also has convictions from his time working at a residential school in Inuvik during the 1970s. He was sentenced to 10 years in 1998 for sexually abusing boys there.
The Beauval school was operated by the Catholic church under the supervision of the federal government. It operated from 1895 to 1983.
With files from CBC's David Shield and Kathy Fitzpatrick