Alleged priest sex abuse case in court

Posted By: Shuyee Lee · 2/1/2013 2:13:00 PM

Guy Cormier shows black and white photos of himself, including one back in 1955 when he was 10 years old and in the infirmary. He said through a sign language interpreter that he was suffering from injuries after being sodomized by a priest at the Montreal Institute for the Deaf.

"You can see that I'm sad, that I'm not smiling in any of these pictures," Cormier, 66, said while signing to the interpreter.

Cormier said it was a painful period in his youth that led to difficulties in his relationship with his future wife and life in general.

It's allegations like this that are at the heart of a class action lawsuit that's finally before the courts.

Some 60 claimants are suing the Clerics of St. Viateur for $100,000 each in damages, alleging sexual abuse at the hands of 28 priests and six other employees between 1940 and 1082 when they were young students at the institute.

The courtroom was packed with over 40 alleged victims, men in their 50's and 60's, who looked intently at the sign language interpreter standing at the front of the room. Some were seen often signing furiously to each other while the proceedings took place.

Lawyers for the religious order were arguing for more evidence including testimony of one alleged victim to be entered before proceeding with the case. They also wanted to first debate the issue of prescription, or the time limits during which one can file a lawsuit or claim.

"They're facing a second injustice of seeing their case being delayed by legal manoeuvres," said Carlo Tarini, spokesman for the Quebec Association of Victims of Priests.

Tarini said they're also denouncing the congregation for not settling the case and choosing instead to go the long and costly legal route.

When the class action was authorized in March of last year, the religious order issued a statement saying if anything happened, they regret it.

Photos: Shuyee Lee

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