Former priest Yvon Arsenault admits 9 sex crimes with minors

Former priest Yvon Arsenault pleaded guilty Tuesday to nine counts of molestation dating back to the 1970s.

Former priest Yvon Arsenault pleaded guilty Tuesday to nine counts of molestation dating back to 1970s.

Yvon Arsenualt remains free for "humanitarian reasons" pending sentencing after pleading guilty to nine counts of molesting minors dating back to the 1970s. (Radio-Canada)

Former priest Yvon Arsenault pleaded guilty Tuesday to nine counts of molestation dating back to the 1970s.

All of the victims were minors, with the first case admitted to by Arsenault happening in Shediac in 1971.

Eleven other counts were withdrawn following Arsenault's guilty plea.

Arsenault will return to the Court of Queen's Bench on Feb. 24 for a sentencing hearing before Justice Zoël Dionne.

Arsenault will remain free until sentencing for "humanitarian reasons," said Crown prosecutor Annie St. Jacques.

The maximum sentence for molestation in the 1970s was 10 years in prison.

The former priest has previously pleaded not guilty to the charges and his trial by judge alone was to begin Tuesday, but he changed his plea to guilty.

When he was entering the courthouse Tuesday Arsenault became annoyed at the sight of a Radio-Canada camera operator and said, in French, "This should be illegal."

As he was leaving the courthouse Tuesday, Arsenault stated: "No comment, it's not over."