MONTREAL, Nov. . 25, 2020 / CNW Telbec / – The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Montreal has released the report of an independent investigation into handling complaints against former diocesan priest Brian Boucher. The 276-page report written by the Honorable Pepita G. . Retired Québec Supreme Court Justice Capriolo was released today at a press conference held by Archbishop Christian Lépine with Judge Capriolo.
The Archbishop commissioned Justice Capriolo in November 2019 to investigate « Who knew what when » in relation to complaints against Mr.. Boucher, from his seminar days to 2019. The archdiocese had launched a canonical investigation into his conduct four years earlier, in 2015.
« I had the Archbishop’s support. At no point did he or any other member of the diocese try to narrow or restrict my investigation, ”the retired judge said during the press conference. The report’s author was given independent access to hundreds of documents and interviewed everyone whose testimony she considered relevant, namely more than 60 witnesses. The report concludes with 31 recommendations designed to ensure accountability, transparency and accountability within the organization of the archdiocese and thus reduce the recurrence of similar abuses.
The report shows that while Brian Boucher was involved in the archdiocese, his suitability as both a seminarian and a priest was repeatedly challenged. It was not until 2015 that the diocese carried out a comprehensive study of his behavior.
« Until 2016, no one had come forward claiming they were the victim of sexual abuse when Bouchers was a minor. No parent had ever brought such charges against Boucher to their superiors’ attention. However, this is no reason for early discharge of the church authorities, « wrote Justiz Capriolo in its report.
There have been complaints of unacceptable social behavior – rude, authoritarian, verbally even physically aggressive – and it has been observed that he had a very close and worrying relationship with a boy in the late 1990s. « The report states that no investigation was conducted at this point.
Justice Capriolo says: « The main culprit is the lack of accountability (…). Complaints were « passed on » and no one took responsibility for responding to them. « It also points to » a culture of secrecy that reigned in the Church during the period covered by this investigation, « resulting in a lack of documents and the general lack of a paper trail.
In his remarks, Archbishop Lépine first addressed the victims and those who were directly affected by the Brian Boucher affair.
« On behalf of the Catholic Church in Montreal and in a personal conversation, I want to say to the victims, their families and their parishes how sorry we are that you have witnessed the effects of such horrific crime should never, ever occur. «
The Archbishop then sincerely thanked Justice Capriolo. « You have completed a difficult task under difficult circumstances on a very difficult subject. We owe you our thanks, « he said.
« We humbly welcome the conclusions of your report and with deep regret, we pledge to act decisively to prevent such situations from occurring again, » he underlined.
The Archbishop pointed out that the external investigation was commissioned to provide the Archdiocese with the tools it needs to continue a process of transformation that has already begun so that all who approach the Catholic Church do so confidently and in complete safety do circumstances.
In order to ensure the success of this transformation, the truth must be known about the terms and circumstances that are Lord. Boucher’s behavior, as long as before a criminal investigation, is an essential element, transparency is the other, he stressed.
« The goal is not to point the fingers, but to uncover the gaps and flaws in our structures and policies so we can make the necessary changes, » he said.
« We had already started this transformation, particularly with the implementation of our Ministry of Pastoral Policy and the investigation into Brian Boucher, which culminated in his arrest and conviction, » he noted.
« We welcome the recommendations of the Capriolo report and are determined to move forward with the change process that would enable thorough investigation and quick decision-making in the future, » he said.
The Archbishop stated that the identified gaps and deficiencies in the structures and culture of the diocese will be addressed through the implementation of the 31 proposed recommendations. Judge Capriolo has agreed to chair the committee with Archbishop Lépine. Membership in the committee will shortly be completed. The implementation of the recommendations is expected to be completed next autumn.
The report was sent to the Vatican, in particular the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the Congregation for Bishops.
The statistical review of 1940 diocesan files, alleging allegations of sexual abuse of minors against members of the clergy of the Montreal Catholic Church, is slated to begin in early 2021. This examination was originally entrusted to the retired judge Anne-Marie Trahan, who passed away unexpectedly.
Mr. . Boucher was ordained a priest in 1996. In January 2019, he was convicted of sexual assault by two minors. Sentenced to eight years in prison on March 25, 2019.
The Archdiocese of Montreal had mr. Boucher’s Faculties of Priests in December 2015 after learning of alleged inappropriateness, which led to a canonical investigation. In October 2016, a canonical administrative process began, for which the Vatican appointed Archbishop Lépine as a judge who was empowered to give final judgment and judgment. However, these proceedings were temporarily suspended in March 2017 when criminal charges were filed. This is normal practice if civil or criminal proceedings are being initiated at the same time.
The canonical trial began on Sept.. February 2019 according to Mr.. Boucher’s belief. Archbishop Lépine announced his verdict eleven days later, imposing the harshest punishment on a clergyman: discharge from the clergy.
The Capriolo report will be released today at 2:30 p.m.. m. on the website of the Catholic Church of Montreal: www. diocesan-montreal. org. To read the full report, please click here.
A replay of the press conference will be available in the late afternoon of Jan.. It will be available on the Montreal Catholic Church’s YouTube channel on November 1st.
For more information: Erika Jacinto, Public Relations Officer, Archbishop’s Office, Director of Communications and Media Relations, Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Montreal, [email protected]
Montreal, Archevêché de Montréal, Priest, Diocese
EbeneMagazine – CA – The Archdiocese of Montreal publishes an independent report on complaints against former priest Brian Boucher