The representative of some 500 alleged victims of the Mont d’Youville orphanage implores the Minister of Justice, Simon Jolin-Barrette, to side with the victims rather than that of the aggressors.

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For nearly four years, Jean Simard has been fighting in a collective action against the Sisters of Charity and the CIUSSS de la Capitale-Nationale to have the physical, psychological and sexual abuse of nearly 500 victims recognized. housed in the Mont d’Youville orphanage. Since April 2018, the procedures have been bogged down to the detriment of aging victims, says their representative.

In an open letter published in our pages, Mr. Simard asks the Minister of Justice to send a clear signal to government lawyers so that they agree with the victims rather than “cooking” them one by one for long days of hearings. “We are repeating the attack,” laments the man who himself was the victim of an attacker who alternated physical violence and sexual violence when he was 10 years old.

No fewer than 95 alleged abusers, including 67 nuns from the Beauport orphanage, are targeted by Mr. Simard’s class action. A sum of at least $20 million is demanded as punitive and exemplary damages from the Sisters of Charity and the CIUSSS de la Capitale-Nationale by those responsible for the class action.

This is because the orphanage, first run by the Sisters of Charity, was then ceded to the Ministry of Social Services to become the Center jeunesse de Québec in 1996, with all the rights and obligations incumbent on them.

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Mr. Simard reminds Mr. Jolin-Barrette that he tabled, just a few months ago, “with misty eyes in the National Assembly”, Bill 21 for the creation of a specialized court in of sexual violence in order to put the victims at the center of the judicial process. He therefore invites the CAQ and the Minister of Justice to “dissociate themselves from the aggressors”.

“The Minister can give the mandate to the State’s lawyers to settle”, pleads Mr. Simard. “At worst the Sisters of Charity will find themselves alone in their camp,” he adds.

“There are victims who are dead or who will never see the end of this,” he reminds the minister. In 2010, John-Anthony O’Reilly, a former educator at the orphanage, was sentenced to a two-year sentence for assaulting five residents.

Mr. Simard therefore asks to put an end to the “advocacy” and the “abuse of procedure”. “A simple intervention on your part and we can finally free ourselves from this slump,” he concluded in his plea to Minister Jolin-Barrette.

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