Brothers of the Sacred Heart to pay $60 million in sex abuse settlement

“To all of the victims, the order offers its apologies for the abuses that have been carried out by spiritual educators.”

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When the sufferer who can solely be recognized as “A” got here ahead to element the years of sexual abuse inflicted on him by Brother Claude Lebeau on the Collège Mont-Sacré-Coeur boarding college in Granby, he was satisfied he was the one one.

Judging from Lebeau’s modus operandi, his attorneys have been satisfied there have been many others. After they launched a class-action lawsuit in opposition to the faculty and the congregation — Les Frères du Sacré Coeur/ Brothers of the Sacred Coronary heart — in 2016, “the telephone began ringing off the hook,” lawyer Robert Kugler mentioned. Greater than 70 individuals got here ahead alleging abuse by the hands of Lebeau and 18 different spiritual brothers on the school.

It didn’t cease there. So many individuals referred to as the agency alleging abuse at dozens of various academic establishments, summer season camps, choir faculties and orphanages run by the Brothers of the Sacred Coronary heart {that a} second class-action swimsuit was launched in opposition to the order in 2019. Greater than 200 individuals signed on, describing abuse by the hands of greater than 90 members of the spiritual order at 26 institutions spanning a interval of 75 years.

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On Tuesday, 5 years after “A” discovered the braveness to talk out, the Brothers of the Sacred Coronary heart signed an settlement in precept to pay out $60 million in damages to any victims who have been sexually abused by a non secular member of their order in Quebec, by far the biggest class motion settlement of this sort ever granted within the province. The settlement should be submitted to the Superior Courtroom for approval.

“These class-action fits have been fought tooth-and-nail for over 5 years by the defendants,” Kugler mentioned. “We’re extraordinarily joyful for the victims that they’ll get actual justice because of this settlement.”

“To all of the victims, the order offers its apologies for the abuses that have been carried out by spiritual educators,” Donald Bouchard, provincial superior of the Brothers of the Sacred Coronary heart mentioned in a press release launched Tuesday afternoon. “We hope and want that the victims can shut a painful chapter of their lives, whereas we all know that nothing can ever erase the harm that was brought on. The order needs as effectively that such actions by no means occur once more.”

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The choose overseeing the case lately knowledgeable each side he anticipated them to have their recordsdata prepared with a view to go to court docket in 2022. Quickly afterward, Kugler mentioned, the defendants requested going to mediation, which lasted 10 days and got here to the settlement introduced Tuesday.

Victims of the members of the spiritual order who haven’t but signed on to the category motion swimsuit nonetheless have 4 months to take action, by contacting the Kugler Kandestin legislation agency dealing with the case.

The most important settlement thus far was dealt with by the identical legislation agency, which sued the Clercs de Saint-Viateur and the Institut Raymond-Dewar — the brand new identify for the Montreal Institute for the Deaf — for $30 million for the rampant intercourse abuse at their college in Montreal.

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Of their class-action in opposition to the Granby school, attorneys for the plaintiffs wrote that “given the variety of abuses, the truth that the abusers labored on the school for many years and everybody lived underneath the identical roof, it’s apparent the defendants knew that their spiritual brothers of the Frères de Sacré Coeur have been sexually abusing college students on the school.

“The defendants knowingly closed their eyes to guard their reputations and people of their members, and didn’t sanction or cease the sexual abuses, however quite tolerated and hid them, all to the detriment of kids who have been harmless and susceptible.”

Sufferer A recounted how Brother Lebeau ordered him to return to his bed room when he was 13 years previous, then masturbate him, telling the boy it was a type of remedy. The boy mentioned it occurred three to 6 instances per week, each week for 2 years, that he was abused over 300 instances. Regardless of the very fact there was typically a lineup of boys ready exterior Lebeau’s door, A assumed he was the one one.

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He would finally drop out of college and grow to be hooked on medication and alcohol. Plagued with anxiousness, disgrace and melancholy, he by no means married or had kids.

It wasn’t till he was in his 50s that he discovered the power to return ahead, after seeing a psychologist, spurring tons of extra to do the identical.

“He was the one sufferer he knew of. He was satisfied he was the one one,” Kugler mentioned. “Most are satisfied of that.”

rbruemmer@postmedia.com

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