Paul Leroux in court for residential school abuse

Former residential school worker Paul Leroux was in a North Battleford courtroom today for a sentencing hearing.

Judge reserves decision for man convicted of assaulting boys at Saskatchewan residential school

A former residential school worker in northern Saskatchewan was in court for his sentencing hearing today after being found guilty last month of indecently assaulting young boys nearly five decades ago. 

Paul Leroux, 73, a former dormitory supervisor at the Beauval Residential School in the 1950s and 60s, is guilty on 10 counts of indecent assault. 

The sentencing hearing was held this morning at the Battleford courthouse, which was packed with victims, family and media. 

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 Crown is asking for an 11 year sentence. The charges added up as consecutive sentences would equal 25.5 years, but Prosecutor Mitch Piche said a number of factors need to be considered, including how much time has passed, that Leroux was back in society and is a low risk to re-offend.

"There were 10 different offences here and then you determine what is a fair sentence given the case law," Piche said. "I reviewed all that for each particular account. Now after I did all that process I got to a number of 25.5 years. Some might say that he should get that, but I don't I think the law will allow that."

The judge reserved his decision until December 12. 

Leroux defends himself

Leroux once again represented himself. He said he was at a significant disadvantage because he couldn't get proper legal advice.

He said over and over, "it's unfair to use today's standards" to sentence him. He said he should be viewed as a first time offender, because these crime happened before his last conviction, and that he questions why these victims didn't come forward 40 years ago.

"These matters could have been reported at any time in the past 40 years," he said.

Apology changes nothing: Victim

CBC News spoke with one victim, who can not be named. He said nothing will undo what happened to him and the other victims, adding that no sentence is long enough.

"It doesn't matter what he gets," the victim said. "The damage is done. He's stolen many years from us. Whether he gets two, three, four, ten years, it doesn't matter."

When asked if an apology would have helped change anything, the victim said "No."

Previous convictions

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.