Quebec cardinal's brother buys ad to explain sex assaults

The brother of Quebec's Catholic archbishop is raising eyebrows in la belle province after he bought a newspaper ad to explain his version of past sexual assault involving minors.
Paul Ouellet published this newspaper ad that purportedly explains his sex assault convictions. ((CBC))

The brother of Quebec's Roman Catholic archbishop is raising eyebrows in la belle province after he took out a newspaper ad to explain past sexual assaults involving minors.

In the ad, Paul Ouellet says he pleaded guilty to charges of sexual assault to end the ordeal, and claims his only mistake was succumbing to "advances" made by his two young victims.

Ouellet, 63, is currently serving a community sentence of 15 months in Quebec's Abitibi-Témiscamingue region, after he pleaded guilty this fall to two counts of sexual assault against two young people.

The assaults date back to the mid-1980s and early 1990s, and involved two people who were 13 and 15 at the time. Ouellet was arrested in September 2008 after a four-year police investigation into the allegations.

Several other counts of assault involving minors brought against him after the investigation was dropped when he pleaded guilty.

Paul Ouellet's older brother, Cardinal Marc Ouellet, is an influential Catholic leader and Primate of Canada. He has refused to comment on his younger brother's trouble with the law.

Ad claims love for assault victims

Ouellet's ad appeared in the Abitibi newspaper La Frontière last Friday. In it, the multidisciplinary artist says his victims loved him and he loved them — and he mentions correspondence that he says proves the nature of their relationship.

The former teacher, who lives in La Motte, Que., says all other assault allegations against him are patently false.

Ouellet's decision to publicize his case is highly unusual, and also telling, according to a leading Quebec criminal lawyer.

Robert La Haye says he has never heard of any convicted sex offender go to such lengths, and the move suggests a lack of empathy and compassion for his victims.

"Most people won't find any excuses in his explanation," La Haye told Quebec network LCN this week.