Church abuse report delayed by more allegations
Retired Supreme Court Justice Michel Bastarache says process should end in April
An investigation by retired Supreme Court of Canada Justice Michel Bastarache into sexual abuse has been delayed for the third time as more people have come forward with new allegations.
The process began last spring when several people in the southeastern village of Cap-Pelé came forward alleging abuse against Father Camille Léger, who has been dead for 23 years.
Those claims forced the church to address other allegations of sexual abuse by hiring Bastarache to lead the independent investigation.
The reconciliation and compensation process was expanded after accusations were made against other two priests, Father Yvon Arsenault and Father Irois Despres.
The process was supposed to wrap up last week when Bastarache gave out compensation cheques.
But he said within the last two weeks many more people have come forward with accusations of abuse.
Bastarache informed the diocese of "serious allegations of sexual abuse" by the two priests.
Arsenault and Despres were both removed from ministry. While they remain priests they are not allowed to perform any church-related duties.
Despres retired in 1992 and is 82 years old and lives in a seniors’ home in Shediac. He served in churches in southeastern New Brunswick for 38 years.
Arsenault, 70, was the priest of two churches in Moncton and one in Irishtown, until he was removed last July.
CBC News has contacted the parish but no was able to say where Arsenault is now.
The priests are not facing any criminal charges.
Bastarache said the compensation process should be completed by the end of April.
Aside from giving victims money, there remain questions around how much responsibility the Archdiocese of Moncton still needs to take when it comes to past allegations of sexual abuse.
Bastarache also handled a church-related sex abuse file on the Acadian peninsula in 2010. The Diocese of Bathurst hired him after two former priests were charged with sex-related offences.
Bastarache has told CBC News the conciliation process allows victims to remain anonymous because it is outside of the usual legal system.
The retired justice has said this process allows more money to go directly to the victims, estimating compensation of between $15,000 and $300,000 for each victim.