The arrest of five alleged pedophile priests Tuesday coincides with discussions well underway to settle the class action against the Collège Bourget and the Clerics of Saint-Viateur.
The class action, which seeks compensation minimum of $ 35 million against the Collège Bourget in Rigaud, Montérégie and the Clerics of Saint-Viateur, was filed in December 2017, and since then, the number of complainants continues to increase. They are about 270 today.
“A dozen of the victims were added after the news of the arrests of [Joliette], but this is all new. […] It online well, the lawyers have shown a good opening,” said one of the lawyers who represents the plaintiffs, Justin Wee.
For Me Wee, if the number of priests and brothers accused is not as high, it is because more abusers are now deceased.
Tuesday morning, the Sûreté du Québec proceeded with the arrest of five priests and the brothers to Joliette, in the Lanaudière region, for alleged sexual assault of a minor relating to 15 victims between 1976 and 1989.
The director general of the Collège Bourget, Philippe Bertrand, has known a father and a brother arrested on Tuesday, Jean Pilon (78 years old) and Gérard Whissel (81 years old). They have resided at the Collège Bourget in the past and Mr. Bertrand was well known when he was just a student.
“If there were crimes committed, justice must take its course. […] I would not have thought that they can commit this kind of gesture”, he explained.
At the time, the men lived on the top floor of the Collège Bourget.
“I want the victims to have compensation,” said the director general of the Collège Bourget, Philippe Bertrand, who is pleased to see its establishment is now “free of elements deplorable”.
For their part, the Clerics of Saint-Viateur, did not want to comment on the new. “We are working with the police and the courts for clarity in this folder”, is there simply stated.