New Brunswick

Bathurst Catholic diocese in court over abuse compensation

Day two of the trial involving the Catholic diocese of Bathurst and its insurance company got underway in Moncton on Wednesday. A lawsuit was filed by the Catholic Diocese of Bathurst against Aviva Insurance over compensation for abuse victims.

Case relates to retired priest Levi Noel who was convicted of 22 sex-related offences in 2010

Archbishop Valery Vienneau testified at the trial involving the Catholic Diocese of Bathurst and its insurance company over compensation for victims of abuse. (Ian Bonnell/CBC)

Day two of the trial involving the Bathurst Catholic diocese and its insurance company got underway in Moncton on Wednesday.

A lawsuit was filed by the Diocese of Bathurst against Aviva Insurance over compensation for abuse victims.

The church believes its insurance should cover the payouts.

On Wednesday, Archbishop Valery Vienneau took the stand before judge Stephan McNally.

Most of the questioning by Aviva defense lawyer Charles LeBlond revolved around retired priest Levi Noel.

Noel spent 30 years in the Diocese of Bathurst and was sentenced in 2010 to eight years in prison after pleading guilty to 22 sex-related offences.The victims were boys between the ages of eight and 16 at the time of the abuse.

LeBlond referred to correspondence between Vienneau, Noel and many other members of the Roman Catholic church dating back to the early sixties.

The letters and notes demonstrated a clear pattern of abuse allegations in the areas Noel worked, followed by his subsequent transfer from over a half-dozen communities.

Many letters revealed deep concern over Noel's conduct. 

Speaking to reporters outside of court, Leblond said the issue is what the diocese knew, "and by diocese, I mean the archbishops of the day as they progressed through the years, and when notice of potential claims should have been provided." 

Leblond says there are time limitations on these types of claims.

The trial is expected to continue into next week.

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