House ar­rest for Col­lège Notre-Dame pe­dophile

Montreal Gazette - - CITY - PAUL CHERRY pcherry@post­media.com

A Catholic brother who taught at Col­lège Notre-Dame decades ago and ad­mit­ted on Tues­day to hav­ing sex­u­ally abused a teenage boy at the school has been sen­tenced to 15 months of house ar­rest.

Us­ing a walker and un­able to meet the usual Mon­treal court­house re­quire­ment to stand, Oli­vain Leblanc, 75, sat while he pleaded guilty to one count of gross in­de­cency.

Pros­e­cu­tor Amélie Ri­vard ex­plained that, be­tween 1979 and 1981, the abuse in­volved oral sex and touch­ing the stu­dent in a sex­ual man­ner when the vic­tim was a young teenager. She also said the joint rec­om­men­da­tion made on the sen­tence, along with de­fence lawyer Is­abel Schur­man, was agreed upon dur­ing a long fa­cil­i­ta­tion process where ne­go­ti­a­tions where held be­fore a dif­fer­ent Que­bec Court judge out­side of a court­room.

“Noth­ing can re­pair (the vic­tim),” Ri­vard said while sum­ma­riz­ing the dif­fi­culty the man went through af­ter he was abused. In a story pub­lished in the Mon­treal Gazette in 2010, the vic­tim said he lived a soli­tary life, wrestling with the psy­cho­log­i­cal af­ter-ef­fects of what he ex­pe­ri­enced. He said he bounced from dead-end job to dead-end job while his for­mer class­mates went on to be­come en­gi­neers, lawyers and doc­tors.

On Tues­day, the vic­tim, whose name is pro­tected by a pub­li­ca­tion ban, made a brief state­ment be­fore the Que­bec Court judge agreed with the joint rec­om­men­da­tion on the sen­tence that was pre­sented to her.

“When I was ex­pelled from Col­lège Notre-Dame, I went to see (Leblanc) and he said, ‘There is noth­ing I can do for you.’ Now it is my turn to say to him that there is noth­ing I can do for you,” the vic­tim said.

As he ap­proached the bench the vic­tim looked di­rectly to­ward Leblanc and was star­tled when the abuser said some­thing to him as he walked by. “What he said was, ‘It’s OK.’ It was his way of say­ing to me, ‘Go ahead and say what you have to say,’ ” the vic­tim ex­plained later out­side the court­room.

Leblanc also made a state­ment to the court and apol­o­gized di­rectly to the vic­tim and his mother, who is now de­ceased.

Leblanc will have to spend the first seven months of the sen­tence at his res­i­dence all day ex­cept for spe­cific cir­cum­stances. He will have to re­spect a cur­few for the last eight months of the sen­tence. He will also be on Canada’s sex-of­fender reg­istry for 20 years. Schur­man said her client has dif­fi­culty walk­ing, suf­fers from di­a­betes, de­pres­sion and has a prob­lem with his prostate.

“I am sat­is­fied (with the sen­tence) in the sense that Brother Leblanc has se­ri­ous health prob­lems. I don’t want to crit­i­cize the work done by the pros­e­cu­tor ei­ther be­cause a lot of work was done (on the file). We’re talk­ing about five years now (Leblanc was charged in 2012). That’s very long,” the vic­tim said, adding he be­lieves Leblanc was sin­cere in his apol­ogy “up to a cer­tain point.”

The vic­tim was ac­com­pa­nied in court by Sue Mont­gomery, a for­mer Mon­treal Gazette re­porter who, in 2009, won the Ju­dith Jas­min award, Que­bec’s most pres­ti­gious jour­nal­ism award, for her ex­posé of child mo­lesta­tion by clergy at Mon­treal’s Col­lège Notre-Dame and other Catholic in­sti­tu­tions in the 1970s. Last week, Mont­gomery was elected as bor­ough mayor of Côte-des-Neiges—Notre-DamedeGrâce.

Oli­vain Leblanc

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