By William Crooks
Local Journalism Initiative
In a groundbreaking legal move, the Arsenault, Dufresne and Wee (ADW) law firm has launched a class action lawsuit against the Sherbrooke Archdiocese, holding it responsible for alleged sexual abuses spanning from the 1930s to the present. The lawsuit seeks to address systemic failures within the Archdiocese and obtain justice for over 75 claimants who allege abuse by clergy and church personnel. With the promise of anonymity and no requirement for a police report, ADW urges all affected individuals to step forward in a pivotal moment for accountability and historical redress.
“This class action suit is aimed at the Sherbrooke Archdiocese,” said ADW Lawyer Jérôme Aucoin, targeting the Archdiocese’s liability for the fault of its subordinates. The individual priests or volunteer workers that are allegedly at fault are not being pursued by Aucoin’s firm. “It is almost like going against the employer for the fault of the employees,” he explained, which is a principle recognized in civil law in Quebec.
The suit concerns alleged sexual abuses that took place from the 1930s to the present day. These were said to have been committed by priests, employees of the church or volunteers.
The ADW is also alleging that the Archdiocese “could not ignore” the many actions of their priests; their handling of the problem is also faulty, since, for instance, they did not work out a “politics or framework” to protect their parishioners.