Alleged sexual assault | An agreement concluded with the Servite fathers, 11.6 million in compensation

A “full and final” agreement was reached on Saturday with the Congregation of the Servites of Mary, in connection with the alleged sexual assaults committed on young boys at the Servite College in Ayer’s Cliff, several years ago. An amount of $ 11.6 million will be set aside for victims, once the agreement is approved by the Court.

Posted on June 5, 2021 at 2:38 p.m.

Henri Ouellette-Vézina

“We are really very satisfied with this regulation, because we could not have done better. This is a first that we settle for almost 100% of the assets of a defendant, or almost, in a sexual assault case. And at the same time, we avoid going to trial, ”explains Press Me Pierre Boivin, one of the four lawyers of the Kugler Kandestin law firm, which represents the victims.

A trial was due to take place last May in the case, before being postponed to June, but the conviction of the Servite Fathers, who recently admitted their responsibility and the damage caused to the victims, ultimately hampered the legal process. “From there, we had to establish parameters for the compensation of victims”, raises the lawyer to this effect.

The initial collective action, filed several years ago, concerned any person “sexually assaulted by a religious” of the Servites of Mary, “while he was a student, invited or candidate for admission or recruitment to College Notre. -Lady (old name of the establishment) between 1948 and 2007 ”.

Dozens and dozens of victims had already come forward to prosecutors. “Our message is that victims who have not yet come forward can do so. We want as many people as possible to move forward and tell us if the agreement suits them. That said, in Quebec, victims do not have to come forward before the settlement is approved, ”says Mr.e Boivin.

Validate before proceeding

Before proceeding to the payment of the 11.6 million to the victims, a judge will however have to validate that the agreement reached between the two parties is “fair and reasonable”. A hearing to approve the request is scheduled for June 23, at 9 a.m., in the Superior Court, at the Sherbrooke courthouse.

The retired judge and former Chief Justice of the Court of Appeal, the Honorable Nicole Duval-Hesler, will act as “arbitrator” in this case. It will decide on the claims given to each victim, according to “their category of compensation” which will have been established, said the law firm.

Moreover, it has already been established that the Congregation of the Servites of Mary “will have no right of dispute, of scrutiny or of intervention” in the process of reclamation. “There will also be no cross-examination of the victims. We especially do not want to victimize them a second time ”, specifies Me Pierre Boivin, who attaches great importance to this issue.

Once approved, the agreement “will constitute the only remedy for the members”, insists the law firm, which adds the Servite fathers “will receive a complete and total discharge” from their side.

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