5 retired priests arrested after allegations they sexually assaulted minors

The Surete du Quebec flag at the entrance of the SQ headquarters in Montreal.
The Surete du Quebec flag at the entrance of the SQ headquarters in Montreal. Pierre Obendrauf / Montreal Gazette

Five Catholic priests were arrested at a retirement home in Joliette Tuesday morning on allegations they sexually abused students between 1961 and 1989.

The men, former members of the Clercs de St. Viateur du Canada, are Jean Pilon, 78; Gérard Whissell, 81; Laurent Madore, 83; Raoul Jomphe, 86; and Roger Larue, 88. They face several charges, including gross indecency, sexual assault and molestation, the Sûreté du Québec says.

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The abuse is alleged to have occurred while the men were teachers at a high school in Rigaud and at two institutions in Matane and Pohénégamook.

In 2016, the religious order agreed to a $30-million payment to students who attended the Montreal Institute for the Deaf.

In 2012, a number of former students said they were sexually assaulted by priests who worked there.

At least 60 deaf students were assaulted by members of the religious community and lay people working at the school between 1940 and 1982. The school changed its name to the Institut Raymond-Dewar in 1984.

About 270 alleged victims have joined a class action lawsuit against the order.

Brian Ford, the group’s spokesperson, said he was relieved that the men have finally been arrested.

“I have been waiting for this moment for a long time,” said Ford, a police officer in Terrebonne.

Anyone with information about the abuse can contact the Sûreté du Québec at 1-800-659-4264.


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