September 8, 2014

TORONTO – The Redemptorists of Canada have agreed to pay $20 million to settle claims from a sexual-abuse lawsuit filed in Quebec.

The settlement is reported to be the largest ever sexual-abuse settlement in Quebec.

In a deal announced Aug. 12, the Catholic religious order approved the settlement that will see $20 million paid to victims of sexual abuse at the hands of members of the order over a 27-year period beginning in 1960.

The money will be shared by victims who were schoolboys, between the ages of 12 and 16 at the time, at the Redemptorists' Séminaire Saint-Alphonse in St. Anne-de-Beaupre, Quebec.

Former student Frank Tremblay launched the suit against the school, the order and priest Raymond-Marie Lavoie in 2010. He accused the priest of assaulting him three to five times a week over a four-month period.

Lavoie pleaded guilty in 2011 to sexually assaulting 13 boys at the school. He was handed a five-year prison sentence.

Tremblay called the settlement a great victory for him and other victims. Victims testified that they experienced depression and other trauma after they left the school.

In July, Quebec Superior Court Judge Claude Bouchard awarded between $75,000 and $150,000 in compensation to each of the victims.

All told, the court found that nine priests abused students over the 27-year time frame, and said the order could not have been unaware of the abuse that was taking place.

The judge said these were not isolated incidents but were repeated acts by nine priests against dozens of students. More than 70 former students have joined the class action and more are expected to come forward.