Former PQ leader André Boisclair pleads guilty to sexual assault in 2 separate cases

The former cabinet minister and Parti Québécois leader pleaded guilty in a Montreal courtroom to one count of sexual assault with the participation of another person and one count of sexual assault.

3rd charge of sexual assault with a weapon suspended

 A man wearing glasses walks past reporters and cameras gathered at the entrance to the Montreal courthouse.
Former Parti Québécois leader André Boisclair arrives at the Montreal courthouse, where he pleaded guilty to two sexual assault charges. (Ivanoh Demers/Radio-Canada)

Former Parti Québécois leader André Boisclair pleaded guilty Monday to two charges of sexual assault in separate cases involving two young men who were in their 20s at the time of the crimes.

In the first case, Boisclair pleaded guilty to one count of sexual assault with the participation of another person, dating back to January 2014. He had also been charged in that case with sexual assault with a weapon, but that charge was stayed.

In the second case, Boisclair, 56, pleaded guilty to sexual assault for events that occurred in November 2015.

Boisclair's victims, whose identities are protected by a publication ban, told the court how the assaults changed their lives. One man testified Monday he had dropped out of university and abandoned dreams of a career in politics because of what Boisclair had done to him.

The Crown and the defence submitted a joint sentencing recommendation of two years minus one day in jail. Quebec court Judge Pierre Labelle said Monday he would deliberate and deliver his sentence July 18.

Boisclair was a provincial cabinet minister and served as PQ leader between 2005 and 2007 when the party was in opposition.

He was Quebec's delegate general in New York from 2012 to 2013 and was president of the Urban Development Institute of Quebec from 2016 until his arrest in May 2018.