Friday, January 22

Sexual abuse of priest Brian Boucher | A damning report for the Montreal Church

The Montreal Church has been informed many times, over a period of 30 years, of allegations of pedophilia against Brian Boucher, this former priest sentenced last year to eight years in prison for assaulting two boys. This is what concludes an investigation report written by a former judge of the Superior Court, Peipita G. Capriolo.

Mathieu Perreault
Mathieu Perreault

“Rumors about his unhealthy interest in young boys had been circulating since the 1980s and had been communicated to the authorities of the Major Seminary of Montreal and of the Archdiocese,” concluded Judge Capriolo. Later, these rumors became more concrete: Boucher had been observed having an intimate and disturbing relationship with a young boy in the late 1990s. ”

Boucher was sent to see a psychologist five times for these problems. He was even part in 2002 of a list of “problematic priests”, “under the heading Pedophilia”. He terrorized his colleagues and the hierarchy of the Catholic Church, of which several prelates ignored the complaints of parishioners about “his rudeness, his authoritarianism, his too great intensity, his intransigence, his homophobia, his misogyny, his racism, its verbal and even physical attacks ”.

The report describes in detail “unwanted sexual advances towards an 18-year-old young man. […] ignored and then erased from the collective written memory of the Church, and “the heartbreaking story of an abusive relationship with a 19-year-old college student.” The family situation of one of the victims of Boucher’s trial is also detailed.

Three senior prelates of the Canadian Church are closely linked to the deficient follow-up that has been given to Boucher’s problems and crimes: Anthony Mancini, Archbishop of Halifax, Robert Harris, who has just retired as Bishop of Saint John in the New -Brunswick, and Sean Harty, episcopal vicar responsible for English-speaking priests in Montreal, now retired. All three were his superiors.

Boucher was even embroiled in his twin brother’s separation, with the report detailing how he allied with his brother’s ex-wife to pit his nephews against their father. Mgr Harty then met this twin brother and their parents, who made “indirect allusions” to their son’s “predilection for young people”.

Marc Ouellet, who is prefect of the Congregation for Bishops in Rome, does not get away with it. Mgr Ouellet was between 1992 and 1994 rector of the Grand Séminaire, where Boucher was studying. Another seminarian then complained for “intense and emotionally manipulative behavior on the part of Boucher”. The behavior stopped immediately but was similar to the reason for Boucher’s dismissal from another seminary in Ontario. “If Rector Ouellet had documented the complaint in writing […] the parallel with Boucher’s inappropriate behavior in St. Peter would have been striking and hard to ignore, ”Judge Capriolo wrote.

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