A pastor and his wife who repeatedly beat their eight children with clubs and belts are being sued for more than half a million dollars by two of them.
After joining the Eastern Townships Biblical Baptist Church in the early 1980s, Mario Monette and Carole Van Houtte Monette physically abused their children.
The parents then advocated an extremely strict education, ranging from control over the choice of friends, the music they listened to (only religious tunes), as well as their clothing.
The slightest disobedience of the children was worth at least 10 stick or belt blows on the buttocks.
Mr. Monette and Mrs. Van Houtte Monette were also sentenced last year to five and four years in prison for having subjected to assault with a weapon, having threatened and sequestered six of their eight children over a period of 25 years. .
Two of them, Mélanie Monette Gamelin and Micaël Monette, are pursuing them individually. The second, now 40 years old, is claiming $357,000 for the after-effects suffered.
“The physical abuse of [Michael] began as young as he can remember, so during the first years of his life, when the corrections were made by beating with a small shovel or a small stick”, can -we read in the lawsuit filed earlier this year at the Longueuil courthouse.
The two children claim that the force of the blows inflicted was “excessively high”, intended to make physical harm to young people, “so that the targeted behaviors cease to occur”.
Parents sometimes hit their children's buttocks so hard that the sticks broke, specify the two lawsuits.
The abuse allegedly occurred on a daily basis, after such “insignificant” events as “milk spillage in the kitchen, wrong choice of music, disobedience or bad attitude”.
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80 to 100 blows
Children could receive up to 80 or even 100 blows, which caused them “bumps on the skin, reddening, bruising and sometimes even scabs”, summarize the lawsuits.
Micaël Monette accuses his parents of having had “total control” over his life until he was 18, when he cut ties with them. He says he has since lived with significant trauma and “tremendous psychological distress”.
Like his sister, he criticizes his parents for having “failed all along the line” in their duty to educate. They also deplore that the consequences of this abuse have “irreparably derailed” their “path of life”.
Mélanie Monette Gamelin, for her part, is suing her parents for $200,000, for her life. “sacrificed”, not only in his youth, but also during his adult life.
Even after leaving the family home after coming of age, the woman is said to have maintained a bond with her parents for more than 25 years. His father would have continued “his intrusions into his life” in terms of the family budget, the education of his children, the way he dresses, his hair, even the interior design of his house.
The now 48-year-old woman would also have long been forced to donate 10% of her family income to the Church.
The two children specify in their respective lawsuits that they are still to quantify the amount of their past and future loss of income, due to the trauma experienced.