Leduc describes impact of sex abuse charges

Last Updated: Oct 6 2004 07:58 AM EDT

A judge in Cornwall will take the next 13 days to decide whether to stay
proceedings against Jacques Leduc.

Leduc is the last person charged in connection with a sex abuse scandal
that rocked the eastern Ontario city.

The charges against him were stayed once before, in 2001, but the stay was
overturned on appeal.

Leduc’s lawyer Marie Henein is arguing for another stay because of the
length of time the trial has taken.

On Tuesday morning, the court heard about the “enormous impact” the
lengthy trial has had on Leduc and his family.

Heneine read an affidavit in which Leduc described the “ripple effect” he
experiences every time his name and the charges against him appear in the
local press.

Leduc says he’s been forced to relinquish his partnership in his Cornwall
law firm because clients refused to deal with him. He lost his prominent
position within the Catholic Church, and has been prevented from
volunteering on hospital and school boards.

Leduc says his home and business have been repeatedly vandalized, once
with the word “pedophile” spray-painted on his office windows.

He says he’s received packages from anonymous senders containing white
powder on one occasion, and children’s dolls on another.

His savings have been “devastated” to pay his legal fees; he’s been forced
to borrow money and re-mortgage his house and family cottage, debts he
says he’ll never be able to repay.

And he says he’s contemplated suicide.

Leduc’s lawyer again pointed to case law, including first degree murder
and sexual assault trials, where stays have been granted because of long

She blamed the bulk of the delay on the Crown’s failure to disclose key

The Crown agreed, but argued that the defence should have argued for a
stay earlier, and that public interest trumps Leduc’s in getting the case
to trial again.

A decision is expected October 18.