Ex-Cap-Pelé man says priest sexually abused him
Normand Brun received compensation after being abused by Father Camille Léger
A man who was abused by a Cap-Pelé priest is speaking out after decades of silence.
Normand Brun now lives in Vancouver, far from his Cap-Pelé home where he suffered abuse at the hands of Father Camille Léger.
The priest died in 1990 and was never convicted of any crimes.
But Léger's history came to light earlier this year when the Cap-Pelé council was preparing to ask citizens in a referendum whether the former priest's name should remain on the village hockey arena.
Residents in the southeastern village quickly got behind the idea of removing Léger’s name from the arena, which happened without a vote.
The local debate caused some victims to come forward and discuss their stories of abuse for the first time.
Brun was very direct when describing his experience with the deceased priest.
"I was sexually abused, I was molested by the parish priest," he said.
Brun said the abuse started when he was nine years old and it went on for four years.
He said he still bears the emotional scars. Brun suffered from substance abuse and a gambling addiction and said there are others like him in the village.
"I'd say just in that time era there are dozens, you know. And you have to remember he stayed there for another 15, 16, 17 years," he said.
In 1997, after confronting the Catholic church he received financial compensation for the abuse he suffered.
Brun is unable to discuss how much he received in financial compensation from the church because of legal reasons.
He said he stayed quiet until learning a few men recently came forward during the arena debate.
In March, Archbishop André Richard did apologize to those men but did not mention that the church had already dealt with Brun's abuse. He would only say he had heard rumours.
"Rumours, we can't function on rumours, what one person says what another person, they're rumours," he said.
Donald Langis, a spokesperson with Moncton's Archdiocese, said there was nothing the church could do unless people came forward.
"If there's rumours in a village, it's very difficult for us to go into a village and say, 'Have you been a victim of sexual abuse.' The other person might react very differently if we go up to them and ask that question," he said.
The Archdiocese of Moncton is offering a confidential counselling service to people who come forward to say they were abused by Léger.
While it is considering other steps to help other people who may come forward, the archdiocese won't say whether that includes financial compensation.
From his perspective, Brun said he’d like to see the church actively deal with the abuse allegations.
"The church should be the one spearheading this. The church should be the one investigating all this," he said.
"These kids shouldn't have to come forward on their own because there's still a stigma of these people coming out even to this day."