Thibault: Father Claude Thibault

Claude Thibault

Claude G. Thibault

Father Claude Thibault is a Roman Catholic priest ordained in 1986 for the Diocese of Alexandria-Cornwall.  Father Thibault was sexually abused in the late 70s by Father Gilles Deslaurier.   

Born 09 June 1960 in Cornwall, Ontario.  Attended St. Theresa school from K-6,  Notre Dame for grades 7 & 8, and La Citadelle for high school.  Father Gilles Deslaurier became chaplain at La Citadelle when Thibualt was in Grade 12 at the school.   Thibault turned to Deslaurier for counselling and was involved R Cubed and other activities. The sexual abuse transpired between January 1978 and September 1979.

Two years of university at the Cornwall campus of Ottawa U and in the Fall of 1980 to Ottawa for his third year.

Father Claude Thibault testified at the Cornwall Public Inquiry 02 & 03 October 2007.  Testified that when he was first approached by police he denied he had been abused by Deslaurier, and that he later went to and confided that denial to Jacques Leduc who told him to call police and tell them to replace the denial with “no comment.”

Father Thibault is referred to in some transcripts as C-1, the moniker used to reference him at the inquiry prior to the publication ban from the trial being lifted.



07 December 2014:  A test of faith: He was molested by a priest — then ordained as a priest with his abuser in the room



02 October 2007:  BLOG  Good point  (Damage control? and reference friendship with Father Stephen Amesse who contributed to CCCB’s sex abuse guidelines From Pain to Hope. )


01 October 2007Father Claude Thibault transcript of testimony at the Cornwall Public Inquiry


02 October 2007Father Claude Thibault transcript of testimony at the Cornwall Public Inquiry

 MEDIA Coverage

Faith saved priest from a different life

Cornwall Standard Freeholder

03 October 2007

Posted By Terri Saunders

A priest told the Cornwall Public Inquiry Tuesday his life could have gone a very different way in the years after he was sexually assaulted by another member of the clergy.

“It could have taken my faith away,” said Rev. Claude Thibault. “It damaged it; it shook it up. But my faith, in my case, is what saved me.”

Thibault was repeatedly sexually assaulted by Rev. Gilles Deslauriers in the late 1970s before Thibault, who is now 47 years old, became a priest himself. In the mid-1980s, Deslauriers pleaded guilty to having abused Thibault and other young men and was sentenced to two years of probation.

Thibault said he realized as he got older that the actions of a single priest did not mean the church as a whole should be blamed for the sexual abuse of children.

“The real church is much more than Father Deslauriers who abused me,” said Thibault. “The church is much more than its ministers and I include myself in that.”

Thibault said while he believes it’s important for victims of abuse to be believed and cared for by public institutions, he also worries about people who are alleged to have committed crimes of which they’ve never been found guilty.

“I think we need to help those who have been falsely accused and had their reputations damaged,” said Thibault. “They need our assistance, too.”

Thibault said over the years, the negative feelings he had about Deslauriers, the abuse and the after effects have lessened to some degree.

“It’s important to let go of the anger, because in my case that anger kept me under the control of my abuser,” said Thibault. “The anger and the pain have greatly diminished. It’s not easy to forgive someone who showed no signs of remorse but I forgave him because I needed to forgive him.

“He can’t take away my freedom anymore and that is such a great feeling.” Thibault said.

Under cross-examination, Thibault was questioned as to when he first disclosed to then-Bishop Eugene LaRocque he had been abused by Deslauriers. Late last year, the inquiry heard from Lise Brisson, a city woman whose son, Ben Brisson, was another of Deslauriers’ victims.

During her testimony, Brisson said she recalled Thibault telling her about disclosing the abuse to LaRocque during a meeting between the two men, and she recalled Thibault telling her the bishop had told the younger priest he didn’t believe his story.

Thibault has since said the meeting to which he believes Brisson was referring was actually a conversation during which Thibault told LaRocque he felt Deslauriers could not be trusted and was “playing games” behind his back.

Thibault said at the end of that conversation, LaRocque warned the younger priest about making such “grave accusations” against Deslauriers, commentary which Thibault said prevented him from disclosing the abuse at that time.

It wasn’t until some time later Thibault finally told LaRocque the truth.

On Tuesday, a lawyer for The Victims Group at the inquiry asked the priest if it was possible his version of that first conversation is inaccurate.

“I’m going to suggest to you that you disclosed to Bishop LaRocque that you had been abused by Gilles Deslauriers, that he did not believe and that he failed to take any action,” said Dallas Lee. “I’m going to suggest the commissioner consider Mrs. Brisson’s account of what you told her to be accurate.”

“No,” said Thibault.

Lee went on to ask Thibault if he was satisfied with the fact Deslauriers pleaded guilty to having sexually assaulted a number of young people but was permitted to remain active as a priest.

Thibault said he had asked church officials to prevent Deslauriers from participating in an active ministry.

“You tell your boss (about the abuse), you ask for the guy to lose his job and it doesn’t happen,” said Lee. “If you were working down at the local (department store), he would have been fire.

“Are you concerned about the kind of message that sends?”

“It shouldn’t be handled that way,” said Thibault. “But we have protocols in place today to address it.

“For a person like Gilles Deslauriers, someone should make sure he is not reintegrated into ministry as he was.”

Cornwall public inquiry; Man became priest despite abuse

Cornwall Standard Freeholder

02 October 2007

Posted By Terri Saunders

When a city priest confronted another member of the clergy he says sexually abused him, he was shocked by the response he received.

“He said, ‘I’m sorry I did that to help you; I’m sorry that it didn’t help,'” said Rev. Claude Thibault.

“It was not, ‘I’m sorry I hurt you.’ It was more like, ‘You didn’t work out.'”

Thibault told the Cornwall Public Inquiry Monday he was sexually abused by Rev. Gilles Deslauriers on a number of occasions in the late 1970s.

Thibault said Deslauriers used the guise of therapy to abuse him. “He became a counsellor to me and I considered him a good friend,” said Thibault.

“He was a mentor and a confidante and I would get advice from him.”

In November 1986, Deslauriers received two years probation after pleading guilty to four counts of gross indecency involving four young men aged 17 to 19 between 1979 and 1981.

On Monday, Thibault said he does not believe any of the guilty pleas were in relation to his allegations against the priest.

Thibault said he kept the abuse hidden from authorities and church officials for a long time, finally telling another priest during confession years later.

“I felt a lot of guilt about it,” said Thibault. “The priest confirmed (the abuse) didn’t make sense and it was not proper for someone to act in that way.”

Thibault said he felt very manipulated by the priest and was “under his control” but it didn’t stop him from following his own calling to join the priesthood.

“I was very blinded by the impression I had of him,” said Thibault. Eventually, Thibault approached Bishop Eugene LaRocque, who was then the head of the Alexandria-Cornwall Roman Catholic Diocese.

Earlier, Thibault had spoken with LaRocque because he was concerned Deslauriers might say negative things about him to the bishop while Thibault was completing his theological studies. ”

He said, ‘Be careful. Those are grave accusations you’re making,'” said Thibault, speaking of the first conversation he had with LaRocque during which he made no mention of the abuse. “I felt he (LaRocque) was closing the door and I shut up.”

A second conversation he had with the bishop during which he talked about the abuse he suffered at the hands of Deslauriers was much different, Thibault said.

“I wasn’t sure he (LaRocque) would believe me because I was a nobody and he wouldn’t take my word over that of Gilles Deslauriers,” said Thibault. “He said, ‘If only you had told me before and if only I had listened.’ He was very receptive. He was very compassionate.”

When Deslauriers received the sentence of two years of probation, he was sent to live within the diocese of Gatineau-Hull under the eye of Bishop Adolphe Proulx. Thibault said he approached Proulx after Deslauriers pleaded guilty to talk about the abuse and express his fears about the priest. ”

I said, ‘I come as a priest; as someone who loves the church,'” said Thibault. ” He (Proulx) listened very well, but we were not on the same wave length. In the end, we agreed to disagree.

“But I feel as if he (Deslauriers) didn’t get the help (he needed) and he was still dangerous.”

The inquiry continues today.

Witness Details Abuse

Cornwall News AM 1220

October 02, 2007 — Father Claude Thibault took the stand yesterday at the Cornwall Public Inquiry. He described how he confronted his perpetrator about abuse he suffered when he was a teenager during the 1970’s. Father Gilles Deslauriers pleaded guilty to gross indencency charges in relation to Thibault and others in 1986. Thibault says he remembers the day he went to Deslauriers about the sexual abuse.  Father Thibault is scheduled to be cross-examined later this morning.