Court date for alleged pedophile priest
An 84-year-old Catholic priest accused of sexually assaulting a girl at his Laval parish 20 years ago is to appear in court in late November.
Maxime Lacroix faces charges of sexual assault and crimes of a sexual nature between June 1 and September 30, 1991.
He was supposed to be at the Laval court house this morning for his first court appearance but never showed up so the judge ordered an warrant for Lacroix's arrest.
The warrant was cancelled after his lawyer showed up in court later on.
"Nathalie" (not her real name) was eight years old at the time of the alleged crime. She is now 28 and went to police this past December, saying she wasn't ready all those years ago.
"When I was 8, I knew right away something wasn't right but I didn't go to police because I was afraid of being judged," "Nathalie" told reporters after the brief court hearing.
But she says she finally decided to file a complaint, prompted by similar stories of sexual assault in the news. She says she was especially touched by that of former Quebec child star Nathalie Simard, sexually abused by her former manager Guy Cloutier.
"Nathalie" describes Lacroix at the time as a nice man, someone people trusted, felt comfortable with and you weren't afraid of. She says he gave candy and gifts to the children at the parish, including her. She says he used that to lure her in and sexually abuse her.
"I never thought he could do something like that," she says.
"Nathalie" says the alleged incident made her distrust men at the time and today, she is still going through therapy.
She says she hopes her story will prompt other alleged victims to step forward.
"If I get my message out so at least one person can say, I'm going to do what she did, I'll have accomplished something good."