Judge delays verdict in priest case

Canoe News

Friday, November 02, 2001

By BRIAN DALY– Canadian Press

MONTREAL (CP) — A judge agreed to delay his verdict Friday in the sexual-assault trial of a Roman Catholic priest accused of molesting a 13-year-old boy in the 1960s.

Quebec court Judge Gilles Garneau put aside his expected ruling to hear further defence arguments Dec. 11 in the case against Rev. Paul Lapierre, 73, of Montreal.

Lapierre faces one count of indecent assault and one of gross indecency.

The complainant, now a lawyer in his 40s, testified that he was forced into fellatio with

Lapierre and another priest, Rene Dube of Cornwall, Ont., on a visit to Montreal in 1965.

But defence lawyer Julio Peris argued that the acquittal on Wednesday of Dube, a co-defendant in the trial, casts doubt on the alleged victim’s story.

He added that two days was not enough time for him to consider the effect of Dube’s acquittal on the case against Lapierre.

Garneau granted Peris five weeks to draft his arguments, prompting the grim-faced plaintiff to storm out of the courtroom.

“I’ve never seen anything like this in my 18 years as a lawyer,” said the middle-aged man, adding that he’s gone through “a life in waiting” during the four-year police investigation and subsequent trial.

The alleged victim has been at the centre of two recent Ontario Provincial Police investigations into the alleged abuse of children in Cornwall.

The operation, called Project Truth, concerned allegations that public leaders in the eastern Ontario city, including clergy and school employees, abused children as far back as the 1960s.

Police brought 115 criminal charges against 15 individuals but most of the charges were dropped.

Ontario Provincial Police concluded in August that there was no evidence a pedophile ring ever existed in Cornwall.

Project Truth was the fourth investigation into alleged ritualistic sex abuse in the Cornwall area. Three previous investigations — two by Cornwall police in 1993 and a followup by the OPP in 1994 — failed to result in any charges.

[theinquiry.ca note: Father Lapierre faced sex abuse charges in both the province of Quebec and Cornwall, Ontario following allegations by the same victim. In Quebec Lapierre was eventually found guilty. In Cornwall he was acquitted]