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In wake of Jesuits’ revelations, victims stress ‘this cannot continue to happen’

In wake of Jesuits’ revelations, victims stress ‘this cannot continue to happen’

WARNING: This text incorporates detailed dialogue of the sexual abuse of minors.

The discharge of a listing of Jesuit clergymen accused of sexually abusing minors in Canada has despatched shockwaves by way of some faculties and communities — and prompted survivors to come back ahead with their very own tales. 

The spiritual order made the record public on Monday, as a part of an try to be extra clear and accountable. 

“This can’t proceed to occur,” mentioned Bob Lemieux, who was a 12-year-old boarder in his preparatory yr at Montreal’s Loyola Excessive Faculty in 1957-58.

Throughout that yr, he alleges Father George Epoch forcibly kissed him.

“What Epoch did to me has ruined a lot of my life,” mentioned Lemieux, 77, who now lives exterior of Kalamazoo, Mich.

“I grew into a person’s physique and did many issues, however mentally, there have been a number of issues that I by no means grew out of.”

Epoch is one among 27 clergymen named by the Jesuits. 

The record, launched on Monday, is the results of an audit the spiritual order started in 2020 that appeared into allegations of abuse by members relationship again to the Nineteen Fifties.

Lots of the clergymen have been transferred a number of instances, to colleges and communities throughout the nation, from Alberta to Newfoundland.

CBC Information has not independently verified the allegations in opposition to the clergymen, lots of whom have died.

Together with every priest’s title, it paperwork every of the locations they have been assigned to work. 

Amongst Montreal establishments, Collège Jean-de-Brébeuf can be named.

In an e mail, Brébeuf mentioned it had not been conscious of the allegations in opposition to three clergymen who labored at the highschool. The assertion mentioned Brébeuf is now a secular establishment and operates below a special construction. 

Concordia College, which took over Loyola Faculty, mentioned in a press release it was “disturbing and really unhappy to see a reputation related to us on that record.”

‘It made me very uncomfortable’

Ron Foreman, who additionally attended Loyola Excessive Faculty, was prompted to come back ahead by the publicized record.

He despatched an e mail to the highschool early Monday morning to ensure his expertise was included within the Jesuit information — after which reached out to CBC.

Foreman mentioned he was dwelling at Loyola’s residence in 1956-57 for his preparatory yr. Epoch was his homeroom trainer. 

In the future, he recalled, Epoch saved him after class alone, closed the door, and pulled the then 12-year-old onto his lap, the place he kissed and hugged Foreman. 

“I believed it was very uncommon and it made me very uncomfortable,” mentioned Foreman, now 78. He didn’t inform his mother and father or speak in confidence to his classmates about Epoch. After that one incident, Foreman mentioned it by no means occurred once more.

Along with Foreman, CBC Information beforehand reported about two different college students at Montreal’s Loyola Excessive Faculty who allege Epoch focused them in 1957-58. Lemieux was one among them.

Within the Nineteen Fifties, Loyola Faculty and Excessive Faculty have been straight administered by the Jesuits of Canada, a non secular order of the Catholic Church. (Simon Martel/CBC)

They too have been of their preparatory yr and lived in residence on the time of the abuse.

Epoch later labored in a number of Indigenous communities in northern Ontario the place he was accused of abusing dozens of kids. The Jesuits have been concerned in a number of high-profile lawsuits.

Figuring out what he is aware of now about Epoch’s historical past, Foreman mentioned in his opinion, Epoch “was simply getting began” at Loyola.

“He was a sick man and the Jesuits may have prevented a number of damage in the event that they’d spoken up,” mentioned Foreman.

Despatched to Indigenous communities

Lawyer Mark Handelman represented a few hundred of Epoch’s victims from the Saugeen First Nation or Cape Croker, which is positioned north of Owen Sound. 

The Saugeen First Nation is now referred to as the Chippewas of Saugeen and Cape Croker is now referred to as the Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation.

Epoch was the parish priest in these communities between 1971 and 1983.

By the point Handelman received concerned, Epoch was lifeless, however he mentioned lots of the victims’ mother and father have been residential college survivors and have since struggled with dependancy and perpetuated the cycle of abuse. 

“Moms despatched these kids to the priest for cover, not understanding the priest was abusing them. It was a heartbreak,” mentioned Handelman.

WATCH | Jesuits of Canada title clergymen accused of sexual abuse of minors: 

in wake of jesuits revelations victims stress this cannot continue to happen 1

Jesuits of Canada publishes record of clergymen accused of sexual abuse

The Jesuits of Canada, a non secular order of the Catholic Church, have launched a listing of clergymen and brothers they are saying are ‘credibly accused’ of sexually abusing minors relationship again many years.

As a lawyer, one of many first ideas Handelman had when he noticed the record was concern over how the Jesuits determined which allegations have been thought of credible.

He questions what number of allegations have been dismissed.

“How do you take care of that? You’ve been abused and now you’re being instructed you aren’t a reputable witness?” Handelman mentioned.

He anticipates extra lawsuits could also be forthcoming and the price of that litigation might finally be what forces the Jesuits to make significant change.

Lots of the accused clergymen have been moved round to totally different communities. Though he can’t show it, Handelman suspects the Jesuits have been attempting to “bury an issue quite than resolve an issue.”

Record meant to develop, Jesuits say

Father Erik Oland, chief of the Jesuits of Canada, was not made obtainable for an interview.

In an emailed response, a spokesperson mentioned the Jesuits are dedicated to working with police in reference to any previous and current instances, and “have totally co-operated with regulation enforcement.”

A man sits in front of a window and is speaking.
Father Erik Oland is main the Canadian effort to publicly disclose the names of accused sexual abusers within the Jesuits of Canada. (Jesuits of Canada)

The spokesperson added that “we don’t regard the discharge of this record as an finish, however a starting of our journey with survivors. 

“The record is meant to develop and evolve as new info involves gentle.”

For his half, Lemieux mentioned he’d wish to be compensated for what he went by way of. He mentioned Oland and an impartial investigator for the Jesuits travelled to Michigan earlier this month to fulfill with him and his household. 

“I mentioned very clearly, ‘I don’t need apologies, I don’t need prayers,’” mentioned Lemieux.

Assist is out there for anybody who has been sexually assaulted. You’ll be able to entry disaster traces and native assist companies by way of this Authorities of Canada web site or the Ending Violence Affiliation of Canada database. In the event you’re in instant hazard or worry to your security or that of others round you, please name 911.