The Archdiocese of Montreal pledged to open “all its books if necessary” on Monday, while retired judge André Denis began an investigation which aims to confirm that no current member of the institution has never been suspected of sexual assault.
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The former magistrate of the Superior Court of Quebec was mandated by the archdiocese to scrutinize all the files of people who have worked in its midst since 1940, whether they are priests, deacons or lay people.
“We want to be able to say to ourselves that no person within the ministry has been denounced for allegations which have proved to be founded”, popularized the Archbishop of Montreal, Mgr Christian Lépine.
However, he admitted that ex-judge André Denis will not have it easy, since certain information has been deliberately deleted from certain files in the past.
This was one of the conclusions last year of the report of former judge Pepita G. Capriolo, which aimed to shed light on the case of Father Brian Boucher, convicted in 2019 of sexual abuse of minors.
Already lists of names
The Capriolo report also mentioned the existence of a list dating from 2004 on which appeared the names of priests potentially pedophiles.
In an interview with the QMI Agency on Monday, Bishop Lépine revealed that he had read this list in the summer of 2019, but he was not able to confirm whether the religious who were there are still active or not in the within the Church.
“To our knowledge, no person who is the subject of suspicion is part of the ministry, but I say that with reservation. This is what Judge Denis’ audit will demonstrate, ”replied the Archbishop of Montreal, who did not want to say how many people appeared in this series of names.
Bishop Lépine, however, let it be known that other such lists existed and that it would be up to former judge Denis to corroborate all the evidence.
The review of the files is expected to be completed this summer, when the final report could be released sometime in the fall.
“If we find that there are allegations about someone, he will be suspended from the ministry and if the allegations are true, he will never return to the ministry”, promised Bishop Christian Lépine.
In such cases, the Archdiocese has assured that it will communicate with the possible victims, who will then have the burden of making a complaint or not to the police.
Still elements to define
A class action lawsuit already exists against the Archdiocese of Montreal to compensate the victims of pedophile priests since 1940.
For now, the collaboration between the team of former judge Denis and the people behind the appeal remains to be established.
Bishop Lépine was also unable to provide clear answers when the QMI Agency asked him whether the identities of deceased priests were going to be made public, in the event that it was found at the end of the process that serious allegations weighed on him. them.
“We are not at this stage. The class action lawsuit already has names and we encourage people to go to the class action lawsuit, ”he said.