According to the affidavit, the current investigation, along with the two prior investigations, demonstrated four decades of children and adults suffering from sexual abuse by Porter
SARASOTA, Fla. — Sarasota police arrested a 72-year-old bishop/song writer accused of sexually abusing children and young adults for four decades.
On Oct. 29, Sarasota police received information of a video being viewed on a social media app regarding alleged sexual abuse, according to the affidavit.
The accuser said he had been sexually abused as a child by a bishop at Westcoast Center for Human Development.
After identifying and locating the accuser, police were able to speak with him. He told them his first memory of the abuse started around age 15 and continued until he was 21 years old. The sexual abuse involved “fondling, masturbation, oral and anal sex” with guidance from the bishop, 72-year-old Henry Lee Porter Sr.
The victim said the sexual acts occurred in Henry Lee Porter’s Inner Office and were committed on him and by him from Porter, according to the affidavit.
Police said during their interview with the victim, additional victims were identified. According to the victim, those victims had reached out to him for support.
Police interviewed several other victims and conducted interviews with them, as well. They all provided statements to law enforcement outlining the abuse.
Police said aside from the recent investigations, they also wanted to bring to the court’s attention two other criminal investigations made in 1990 and 2001-02.
In the 2001-02 investigation, an anonymous letter was obtained that identified 40 named individuals that had allegedly been victims of sexual abuse by Porter. The prior investigations also provided more than 20 similar “fact”victims who provided statements to law enforcement outlining the abuse.
Police said they found that the alleged sexual abuse happened while they were attending the Westcoast Center for Human Development, on mission trips throughout America and abroad on church-sponsored trips.
The victims were boys and girls with ages between 14 years old to young adults of various ages.
According to the affidavit, the current investigation, along with the two prior investigations, demonstrated four decades of children and adults suffering from sexual abuse by Porter.
Porter is charged with sexual battery with a child under 12 years of age.
Anyone can be a church leader in Babylon today, Episcopal priest Reverend Katherine Ragsdale in a prime example of that!
Episcopal priest Reverend Katherine Ragsdale, with her organization National Abortion Federation, will hand out pre-paid gas cards for women seeking abortions, according to FaithWire.
“Since there are a limited number of providers and states continue to impose additional restrictions, many women have to travel long distances to reach the closest provider who can help them,” NAF said in a statement. “And this situation will only worsen as the political environment continues to become more hostile toward abortion rights.”
Ragsdale, who is the Interim President and CEO of NAF, believes the initiative will provide more support for women “so that they can make, and act on, the best decisions for themselves and their families.”
The pilot program will run for three months and start in states that have waiting periods or other abortion restrictions, LifeNews reports.
The response comes in light of several states furthering restrictive abortion limits. States such as Alabama, Georgia, and Louisiana have nearly abolished terminations and several other states are poised to do the same.
As the first lesbian to become a leader of an Episcopal seminary, Ragsdale has been no stranger to controversy. World Magazine reportedRagsdale’s allegiance lies not only with pro-choice causes, but pro-abortion.
“Abortion is a blessing and our work is not done,” she said at a pro-abortion rally. “Let me hear you say it: abortion is a blessing and our work is not done. Abortion is a blessing and our work is not done. Abortion is a blessing and our work is not done.
She continued: “The ability to enjoy God’s good gift of sexuality without compromising one’s education, life’s work, or ability to put to use God’s gifts and call is simply [a] blessing.”
Catherine Glenn Foster, president and CEO of Americans United for Life, the largest pro-life legal organization in the country, believes the pilot program doesn’t help women but abortion centers.
“This is a half-baked publicity stunt by NAF meant to create the impression that there is even a need for this,” she said. “Why doesn’t the abortion industry—dominated by a ‘non-profit’ that has over a hundred million in the bank—lower its prices instead? Because it’s all about profit for them.”
~ Original Post Written By Mikaela Mathews | ChristianHeadlines.com Contributor
Rome (CNN)` Thousands of bones have been unearthed in two ossuaries discovered in the Vatican City, as part of an ongoing search for clues into the disappearance of a 15-year-old girl more than three decades ago.
Emanuela Orlandi, who was the daughter of a prominent Vatican employee and lived within the walls of the holy city, disappeared in the summer of 1983 while on her way home from a music lesson in central Rome.
The mystery surrounding Orlandi’s disappearance gripped Italians for more than three decades, and inspired conspiracy theories involving everyone from mobsters to international terrorists, and the highest echelons of the Vatican.
Interest in the case was renewed in summer last year, when the Orlandi family received an anonymous tip, hinting that Emanuela’s remains may be located in the tombs of Princess Sophie von Hohenlohe and Princess Charlotte Federica of Mecklenburg at the Teutonic Cemetery.
Thousands of bones were found in two ossauries discovered at the Teutonic Cemetery in Vatican City.
The family had received an image of a sculpture and an instruction to “look where the angel is pointing.” This led them to the Teutonic Cemetery, which is located adjacent to the grand Saint Peter’s Basilica and is typically reserved for the burials of German-speaking Catholics.
After the Vatican agreed for forensic investigators to open the tombs on July 11, no human remains nor traces of coffins were found. The Vatican indicated that the remains of the princesses may have been removed during renovation work on the cemetery and surrounding buildings in the 1960s and 70s.
Nevertheless, two ossuaries — chambers in which bones of the dead are stored — were uncovered during their investigations beneath the floor of an area inside the Teutonic College.
Investigators subsequently discovered “thousands of bones” in the chambers, which are believed to correspond to “dozens of people,” according to Giorgio Portera, a geneticist appointed by the Orlandifamily.
DNA analysis will now take place on each set of remains, but Vatican spokesman Alessandro Gisotti said the precise data will have to await “morphological evaluations next Saturday.”
“It must be considered that many of the bones being dated are shattered and therefore this increases the number present, many of which are small,” Gisotti told CNN. “This means that there may be more fragments of the same bone structure.”
While the origins of the bones remain unknown, Emanuela’s brother, Pietro Orlandi, 60, said the investigation into the ossuaries had been “a great satisfaction.”
“In the ossuaries, there shouldn’t be any recent bones, so if there are, even if it’s not Emanuela Orlandi, it will be a problem for the Vatican,” he told CNN. “There are hundreds, thousands of bones and now the Vatican is classifying them by age and will investigate the more recent ones.
Pietro Orlandi says that the investigation into the ossuaries has been a “great satisfaction.” “To think if she was buried in the ossuary all these years, just 200 meters from our house, it would be devastating.”
He added that it is important for an independent expert to investigate the bones to ensure the objectivity of the results.
“The Vatican doesn’t want this out and doesn’t want to be seen in this way, but finally I feel like they have taken a step back and we have moved a step forward,” he said.
The Vatican responded in a statement, according to Reuters, saying that it is “once again showing its openness towards the Orlandi family” in agreeing for investigations to take place in the Teutonic Cemetery, even when only based on an “anonymous report.”
We are living in a time where absolute mockery of God and His creation is blatant. There is no fear of God- No desire to be holy- and all sin is justified by taking bible scriptures out of context.
CINCINNATI, Ohio— An apostate assembly that identifies itself as “a loving and progressive faith community” held a drag queen story time last Sunday as the building caretaker dressed in drag to read a book in scheduled children’s time during the Sunday, June 16 worship service.
The Cincinnati Enquirer reports Dan Davidson dressed up as “Sparke Leigh” complete with a purple dress, makeup, high heels, and “a glitter beard” and stood at the Mount Auburn Presbyterian Church door greeting members and visitors and read to the congregation a story about homosexual politician Harvey Milk and the creation of the rainbow flag.
The Cincinnati Enquirer reports that Dan Davidson had previously performed as a drag queen in Seattle, Washington before moving to Ohio and joining Mount Auburn Presbyterian Church, led by Stacey Midge. Davidson is a caretaker for the facility.
Last Sunday, Davidson donned a purple dress and high heels and applied a glitter beard as he presented himself as “Sparkle Leigh.” Following the song “God Welcomes All” by the church choir, Davidson took the stage to read the book “Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag” to children and adults alike. Milk is considered the first openly homosexual elected politician in California and worked as a homosexual rights activist. Acquaintance Gilbert Baker designed the rainbow flag known today as the symbol for homosexual, bisexual and transgender pride.
“Harvey dreamed that everyone — even gay people — would have equality,” Davidson read. “He dreamed that one day, people would be able to live and love as they pleased.”
“Harvey and his friends planned marches to protest inequality and unfair laws. And just days before one of the marches, Harvey had an idea. … We need a symbol that shows who we are and how we feel. … Harvey knew an artist who could help — Gilbert Baker.”
Some in attendance held up their cell phones to reenact the San Francisco candlelight vigil for Milk, as mentioned in the book.
The Cincinnati Enquirer reports that the Mount Auburn Presbyterian is in the midst of celebrating Pride Month, and is decorated with pride flags and rainbow candles. One man told his “coming out” story during the service.
Davidson stood near the entrance at the end of the gathering and spoke to the people as they left.
An alarmingly angry Kenneth Copeland defends his wealth to news reporter.
Televangelist Kenneth Copeland snapped at an Inside Edition reporter in a recent interview about his lavish lifestyle and private-jet use, saying he makes no apologies for the fact that his hypnotized blind followers ministry has made him “a very wealthy man.”
“By choosing not to thoroughly investigate allegations, the Catholic Church has failed in its moral obligation to provide survivors, parishioners and the public a complete and accurate accounting of all sexually inappropriate behavior involving priests in Illinois,”
CHICAGO – Nearly 400 Catholic clergy members in Illinois have been accused of sexual misconduct, but church officials have only informed congregants of a fraction of those who have faced allegations, according to attorneys who represented clergy sex abuse victims across the USA.
A 182-page report, published by the Minnesota-based law firm Jeff Anderson and Associates, includes the names, background information, photos and assignment histories of each accused clergy member.
“The danger of sexual abuse in Illinois is clearly a problem of today, not just the past,” the report concludes. “This will continue to be a danger until the identities and histories of sexually abusive clerics, religious employees and seminarians are made public.”
Anderson said he hopes the report will push church leaders to publicly identify hundreds more clergy who faced allegations.
The men named in the report worked in the Archdiocese of Chicago and the dioceses of Belleville, Joliet, Peoria, Rockford and Springfield. Dioceses’ officials pushed back on the report’s findings.
The Archdiocese of Chicago, which serves about 2.1 million Catholics, said it “does not “police itself.”
“It reports all allegations to the civil authorities, regardless of the date of the alleged abuse, whether the priest is a diocesan priest or religious order priest, and whether the priest is alive or dead,” the archdiocese said in a statement.
Andrew Hansen, a spokesman for the Springfield Diocese, dismissed the report as “an impressive professional marketing brochure.”
He noted one of the priests listed in the report, Rev. Frank Martinez, had spent about six weeks in 1985 working as a hospital chaplain in the central Illinois diocese before resigning his position.
The following year Martinez, who was assigned to a parish in Buffalo, Iowa, was accused of propositioning a 15-year-old boy in an Iowa motel room. Martinez was removed from the ministry in 2004. In 2008, he was included on a list by the Davenport Diocese of 24 priests credibly accused of sexual abuse.
“(The report) does not represent, as Mr. Anderson suggests, a thorough and diligent review of the publicly available facts, and it is highly misleading and irresponsible,” Hansen said.
The Rockford Diocese said in a statement it has not disclosed allegations against many of the clergy on Anderson’s list “because the accusations either have not been substantiated or are completely without merit.”Joliet Diocese officials also said that allegations against some named on Anderson’s list have not been substantiated.
“The list includes a number of priests, living and deceased who, at one time or another provided some ministry within the Diocese of Joliet at some point during their priesthood, but are not priests of the Diocese of Joliet,” the Joliet Diocese said in a statement.
Rockford Diocese officials said they were unaware that one former priest named on the list, Rev. Ivan Rovira, had been found to have committed sexual abuse of a child after he left Northern Illinois in the early 1970s. The Brownsville, Texas Diocese earlier this year placed Rovira on its list of “clergy with credible allegation of sexual abuse of a minor.”
Rovira admitted to Brownsville Diocese officials in 2002 that he had sexually abused a boy during his time working in Texas. He was forced to leave the ministry, and later fled to Mexico, according to the Anderson report.
“Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this list, and the list covers the time frame of 1908, when this diocese was established, to the present,” the Rockford Diocese said in its statement. “An allegation against a priest who had an assignment in this diocese but belongs to a religious order or other diocese is referred to the religious order or other diocese to which the priest belongs and is under its jurisdiction.”
Attorneys culled the names of the clergy named in the report from legal settlements and news reports detailing claims of child sexual abuse. Although lawsuits were filed involving many of the alleged perpetrators, the majority of the claims against the individuals were settled, according to the report.
“We’ve chosen to reveal this information, because the Catholic bishops and religious orders who are in charge and have this information . . . have chosen to conceal it,” Anderson said.
The six Catholic dioceses of Illinois released the names of 185 clergy members who church officials determined were credibly accused of sexual abuse. The Anderson list includes those who were identified by the Illinois dioceses and more than 200 additional priests and deacons.
Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, who left office in January, issued a preliminary report in December that found there are at least 500 clergy from Illinois’ dioceses who have faced allegations of abuse. The church has not publicly acknowledged or thoroughly investigated those claims, Madigan’s report found. She did not name those accused of misconduct.
Madigan launched her investigation in August after a landmark Pennsylvania grand jury report detailed claims against more than 300 “predator priests” who had abused at least 1,000 victims over roughly six decades. The former Illinois attorney general said her office was flooded with hundreds of emails and calls from people alleging they were victims of abuse by clergy in Illinois in the aftermath of the Pennsylvania report.
Madigan is one of at least 14 state attorney generals who have confirmed investigations or reviews after the Pennsylvania report. Madigan’s successor, Kwame Raoul, said before he took office in January that he was committed to continuing the investigation.
“By choosing not to thoroughly investigate allegations, the Catholic Church has failed in its moral obligation to provide survivors, parishioners and the public a complete and accurate accounting of all sexually inappropriate behavior involving priests in Illinois,” Madigan said.
Weeks after Madigan released her report, Anderson, along with other attorneys and clergy sex abuse survivors, launched the “Fight for 500” initiative calling on the Illinois dioceses to release the names of clergy.
The list published Wednesday includes priests and deacons whose affiliations in some cases date back decades. Many of the accused have died.
The report notes the Archdiocese of Los Angeles settled a civil lawsuit in 2007 alleging the Rev. Robert Boley accosted a young girl in the 1980s. Boley moved to a Chicago parish in 1989 and also served at parishes in Darien, Ill., Englewood, N.J., and Louisville, Ky.
“As of 2007, it was believed that Fr. Boley was residing at the Carmelite House in Joliet, Illinois, and working in their archives,” the report says. “Fr. Boley’s current whereabouts, status as a priest, and whether he has access to children are unknown.”
In another case, the report says David Stalzer, an ordained priest in the Joliet diocese, faced a civil lawsuit in 1993, in which he was accused of child sexual abuse while he was working at a diocese parish.
“It is believed that Fr. Stalzer returned to active duty later that year under supervision and purportedly with limited contact with children,” according to the report.
The suit was dismissed in 1994 after the accuser dropped out of sight, according to the Joliet Herald-News. Stalzer died in 2001.
The list includes one priest who is in active ministry, Anderson said.
The priest, who is assigned to a parish on Chicago’s North Side, was temporarily removed from his position in December 2013 after the archdiocese received reports of him molesting a child at another Chicago-area parish where he worked 20 years earlier.
The Chicago Archdiocese reinstated the priest into active ministry months later, after law enforcement found insufficient evidence to prosecute him.
Days after he was reinstated, another man came forward and said he saw the same priest molest a teenage boy at a suburban fitness center. The Cook County Sheriff’s Office opened an investigation, but the claim was never substantiated no charges were filed.
Anderson defended putting the priest on the list even though authorities had not corroborated the allegations.
“(He) may be innocent, but given the fact that are two public allegations that have been made against him, we feel and believe that it needs to be publicly disclosed as somebody whohas been publicly accused and not adjudicated,” Anderson said.
Reverend Father Faucher shared his fantasies with other pedophiles online. He spoke of wanting to sexually abuse altar boys and babies. Faucher recalled enjoying a video of a boy being beaten to death
A retired Catholic priest who was caught with thousands of pornographic images and videos of children and boasted about urinating in the wine he blessed for parishioners described himself as a “sick puppy” in court on Thursday before an Idaho judge sentenced him to 25 years in prison.
Rev. W. Thomas Faucher, 73, pleaded guilty in September to five felony counts, and must register as a sex offender upon his release. He will serve the full 25 years, as the judge denied him the possibility of parole.
The sentencing “brings to a close one of the most difficult cases the Idaho Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Unit has ever investigated,” said Attorney General Lawrence Wasden in a statement. “The nature of the evidence uncovered was extremely disturbing.”
Investigators first began looking into Faucher late last year, after receiving an anonymous online tip about two sexual images involving children that had been sent from the priest’s email account.
According to evidence presented in court Thursday, police waded through hundreds of emails and online chats Faucher had with someone named “Bruno.” In them, the priest, who retired in 2015 after serving for decades at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Boise, was “actively seeking interests with gay men, satanic interests” and the rape and killing of minors.
More than 2,500 illegal files containing violent child pornography were recovered from Faucher’s computer, cell phone, and Dropbox account. In some videos, the child victims wept as they were abused.
Authorities also revealed the priest shared his fantasies with other pedophiles online. He spoke of wanting to sexually abuse altar boys and babies. In one exchange, he recalled enjoying a video of a boy being beaten to death.
“I was one really sick puppy,” Faucher said during his sentencing, according to the Statesmen. “I screwed up big time … I feel so much remorse and anger.”
Other evidence showed Faucher also used racist language in his chats, and once bragged about urinating into the sacrificial wine. Police also recovered images of Faucher urinating on a cross and a canon law book. Before being sentenced, Faucher argued he would be more useful as a free man.
“There are many people who will benefit if I am no longer in jail,” Faucher said, noting he wants to help survivors of childhood sexual abuse. “There are no people who will benefit if I am in jail or in prison.”
But Judge Jason Scott said he disagreed, citing the conclusion of analysts: that Faucher would likely re-offend if freed.
“This is the crime that has the potential for both immediate and long-lasting consequences,” Scott said, according to the Statesmen. “I think there is a legitimate risk to the community.”
The priest was initially charged with 21 counts of felony sexual exploitation of a child, one count of felony possession of a controlled substance for having LSD and two counts of misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance for having marijuana and ecstasy. He pleaded guilty to two counts of distribution of sexually exploitative material, two counts of possession of sexually exploitative materials and one count of drug possession.
“I am deeply sorry that I was and have been connected to that in any way,” Faucher told the judge.
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Boise is moving to defrock Faucher, and allegedly had the man’s former residence exorcised before putting it on the market.
“The volumes of shocking information that the law enforcement investigation uncovered reveal the heinous nature of child pornography and the tragic impact upon its victims,” a statement from the diocese reads. “While we cannot begin to fathom what brought Faucher to the point that he was able to enter into this evil and dark world, we are thankful for the efforts of the law enforcement community in doing what it can to protect our children from these crimes.”
Pastor kills transgender woman, goes to work then calls police one hour later!
A Detroit pastor was charged this week in the shooting death of a 36-year-old transgender woman found dead on the street Friday.
Albert Weathers, 46, was charged with open murder and use of a firearm after an investigation into the death of Kelly Stough, who was found by a police officer in the Palmer Park neighborhood, the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office said.
No motive was given, though prosecutors said they have evidence to be presented in court that Stough’s status as a transgender woman played a role in Weathers’ alleged actions.
Weathers is a pastor of the Logo’s Church, and until this week, was an employee at the Great Lakes Water Authority.
A spokesperson for the company confirmed to the Daily News that Weathers’ employment has since been terminated, and that he was off-duty at the time of the alleged shooting.
Weathers, who is reportedly married with children, allegedly left the scene of the crime, clocked in at work, and called police an hour later claiming he’d been the victim of an attempted robbery and had shot someone, according to local ABC affiliate WXYZ.
His bond is set at $1 million, though his lawyer David Cripps told the outlet that he will petition for a lower bond on the argument that his client has strong ties to his community.
Stough, meanwhile, was remembered by mother Jessica Chantae Stough as a beloved member of the community who was very loved, and hoped to one day work in the fashion industry as a designer and buyer.
“She has a family who cared about her, who loved her, and I want them to know that transgender ladies – expressly those of color – they’re not just throwaways,” she told NBC News. “People care about them.”
A GoFundMe page launched in memory of Stough has raised more than $4,500.
As noted by NBC, Stough once weighed in on the police’s inadequate treatment of transgender people in Detroit in the wake of a 2015 murder of a local transgender woman.
“The police are unaware with our struggle, so they have no sympathy for us,” she told the Guardian, using her stage name Keanna Mattel. “Nobody ever asks, what happened to the person to get here? Unelss you’re just in the middle of the street, dead bleeding, you can flag down a police officer, and they’ll just ride past you like you never flagged them down.”
Fair Michigan Foundation President and Michigan Attorney General-elect Dana Nessel said in a statement that Stough’s murder “reflected the excessive brutality that members of Detroit’s transgender community constantly face.”
One should know where their tithes and offerings are going to!
Two weeks after drawing praise for allowing congregants in need to take cash directly from his offering baskets, Pastor John Gray of Relentless Church in Greenville, South Carolina, is drawing flak for gifting his wife a Lamborghini Urus for their eighth wedding anniversary celebration that left her screaming on Saturday.
The Urus, with prices starting at about $200,000 in 2017, according to Fortune, has a 4.0-liter V8 twin-turbo engine that produces 650 horsepower. It also boasts an automatic eight-speed transmission, can travel 0 to 62 miles per hour in 3.6 seconds and reaches a top speed of 189 mph.
In a clip of the moment posted on Instagram by Sue Mayweather, Gray is shown leading his wife, Aventer, to the luxury vehicle and once she realizes what the gift is, she breaks out in screams. Her husband is seen holding her hand before declaring to the crowd “Lamborghini Urus.” Mayweather noted that Gray’s wife also gifted him the “‘green box’ Rolex,” a term used to describe the Rolex Explorer II which comes with a price of approximately $8,000.
In an Instagram post on Sunday, singer Tyrese who attended the celebration wrote: “Honored to have been there to see and witness every moment…..Pastor John Gray and his beautiful First Lady renewed their vows after 8 years of marriage….fairy tail grace and magic….Honored and honored again to have been in the room and apart of you guys magical evening. From the #Gibsons to the #Grays May God KEEP you covered in his blood…//Amen!!!”
While some people praised the preacher for splurging on his wife, others were angry that a preacher would indulge in such display of opulence. Modesty should be demonstrated from ANYONE claiming to be a pastor and I believe that the only reason he allowed his congregation to “take as they needed” from the offering prior to this big splurge was to lighten the blow. Oh, he’ll say that it didn’t come from the tithes and offerings that it came from some book sales or other business that he is engaged in outside of his church business. The structural church is a very lucrative business indeed!
women from the isolated Innu communities of Unamen Shipu and Pakua Shipu, on Quebec’s Lower North Shore, described how they were sexually assaulted by an Oblate priest who worked in their territory for four decades, until his death in 1992.
Sexual abuse of Innu, Atikamekw children at hands of missionaries was rampant
This story is based on a report by Anne Panasuk of the investigative program, Enquête. Watch Enquête’s full report here, in French.
“He’d let us drive. He knew how to do everything. We were impressed to see a priest act that way,” recalls Jason Petiquay.
Petiquay was 11 when he was sexually abused by Raynald Couture, an Oblate missionary who worked in Wemotaci, Que., from 1981 to 1991.
The Atikamekw community 285 kilometres north of Trois-Rivières was one of many remote First Nations communities in Quebec where priests belonging to the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate (OMI) were spiritual leaders and authority figures for generations.
Petiquay described how Couture would lure young boys to his cabin by inviting them for a ride on his all-terrain vehicle or in his pick-up truck.
His story of abuse is one of dozens Atikamekw and Innu people in Quebec told Radio-Canada’s investigative program Enquête.
It paints of bleak portrait of widespread sexual abuse at the hands of at least 10 Oblate priests in eight different communities served by the missionary order, which began its evangelization work among Inuit and First Nations in Canada in 1841.
MMIWG shines light on decades-old secret
It has been almost a year since women from the isolated Innu communities of Unamen Shipu and Pakua Shipu, on Quebec’s Lower North Shore, described how they were sexually assaulted by an Oblate priest who worked in their territory for four decades, until his death in 1992.
One after another, alleged victims of the Belgian native, Father Alexis Joveneau, told the federal inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women (MMIWG) how the charismatic and much-admired priest had abused them as children.
But the allegations in the Enquête report suggest the religious order’s superiors long knew about allegations against Joveneau.
Francis Mark, an Innu man from Unamen Shipu who said he was assaulted by Joveneau, said many years ago, he turned for help to the late Archbishop Peter Sutton, an Oblate who was made bishop of the Labrador City-Schefferville diocese in 1974.
“He let me down,” said Mark. “He didn’t guide me. Was there justice? No.”
Devout elders kept silence
In some instances which Enquête looked into, when Oblate superiors or church officials were told about the abuse, the priests were simply sent to neighboring communities, where other Indigenous children were abused in turn.
In other cases, as in that of Father Raynald Couture in Wemotaci, deeply religious elders in the community insisted on silence.
“The mushums, the kookums [grandmothers and grandfathers], they asked him to stay in the community,” said Charles Coocoo, a Wemotaci man who once demanded that Couture leave.
Mary Coon, a social worker at the time, went straight to the religious order to ask them to intervene, but without an official police complaint, the Oblates refused.
“The boys wouldn’t file a complaint,” said Coon. “We wanted to get him out of here, but how could we? There was no complaint. We had nothing.”
In 1991, Couture was sent to France, where he remained until eight of his victims pressed charges. In 2004, he was sentenced to 15 months in jail, a punishment another victim, Alex Coocoo, called so light as to be “ridiculous.”
‘A sin to talk’
Claude Niquay said he was a seven-year-old altar boy when he alleges he was first molested by Father Clément Couture, another Oblate missionary who was posted in Manawan, an Atikamekw community southwest of Wemotaci, until 1996.
Niquay was forced to see his alleged abuser every day, when he delivered meals cooked by his grandmother to the priest.
When he tried to tell his grandmother about the assaults, he was punished.
“She’d tell me to go sit in a corner, that it was a sin to talk about those things,” he said.
Before Couture’s arrival, the community had been served by two other Oblate priests, Édouard Meilleur, and later, Jean-Marc Houle, whose alleged victims — elderly now — still recall their assaults vividly.
Antoine Quitish was just five when Meilleur allegedly stripped off his cloak and forced himself on him, “poking” Quitish’s chest with his penis.
“I’m happy that [the story] is out now,” said Quitish, now 75.
Other Atikamekw elders described Meilleur as an exhibitionist who would slip his hands under girls’ dresses during confession.
Enquête heard how Houle, who was posted in Manawan from 1953 to 1970, was drawn to pregnant women: he’s alleged to have spread holy oil over the stomachs, the breasts and the genitals of his victims, explaining he was warding off the devil in their unborn children. The stories got out.
“I told the archdiocese, ‘If you don’t get that guy out of there, tomorrow morning it will be on the front page of the newspapers’,” recalls Huron-Wendat leader Max Gros-Louis, then the head of the Association of Indians of Quebec.
Houle was removed, said Gros-Louis — only to be sent to the Innu community of Pessamit, on Quebec’s North Shore.
Community warned of priest’s behaviours
Robert Dominique, then a band councillor in Pessamit, said his Atikamekw friends warned him about Houle, but the culture of the time ensured his silence.
“For elders, their faith is deeply rooted,” Dominique said. “Religion is sacred.”
Saying out loud that a priest was violating women and children was inconceivable, Gros-Louis agreed.
“You wouldn’t be allowed to go out anymore. You’d be banished, excommunicated,” he said.
There is no evidence Houle’s alleged assaults continued in Pessamit. However, people in that community recall abuse by three Oblate priests who preceded him.
Dominique’s sister, Rachelle, alleges she was first assaulted by Father Sylvio Lesage in the 1960s, and when Father Roméo Archambault replaced him in the 1970s, for her, things got worse.
He would take her into the church basement, she remembers.
“He was behind me, holding my little breasts,” she alleges, “and after I had to masturbate him in the dark.” She described feeling “broken, vilified.”
Jean-Yves Rousselot also recounted being sexually assaulted by Archambault — alleged assaults that continued when that Oblate missionary was replaced by Father René Lapointe. The young altar boy told his grandfather what had happened and was beaten.
“I had to go to confession, to confess that I had committed blasphemy,” Rousselot said.
Lapointe was his confessor.
The priest would later be relocated to another Innu community, Nutashkuan, where he remained for 30 years, allegedly paying children to masturbate him.
In 2003, provincial police launched an investigation following a complaint, but charges were never laid.
Class action suit awaits Oblates
In the Innu community of Mani-Utenam, Gérard Michel recalls community elders sending him, along with another young man, to Baie-Comeau in 1970 to ask the archbishop to remove Father Omer Provencher, who is alleged to have been sexually assaulting girls in the community.
Nothing was done.
“Nothing, nothing, nothing,” said Michel, now an elder himself.
Provencher, who left the priesthood to live with an Innu woman years ago, told Enquête he will not answer any questions until he is formally charged with a crime.
Father René Lapointe, the priest who spent three decades in Nutashkuan, denies he ever sexually assaulted children.
Now at the Oblates’ retirement home in Richelieu, he told Enquête there is absolutely no truth in any of it.
“Nothing is true in that story. These are all inventions,” he said.
Raynald Couture, the Oblate priest who was found guilty of sexually assaulting children in Wemotaci, lives in the same retirement home.
He admits his past crimes.
“I drank like a bastard, and that’s when those things happened,” he told Enquête. He called his assaults “a weakness” and then a “game with the children,” and said he sought help from his superiors, asking to see the Oblates’ psychologist.
“They never even came,” he said.
Most of the priests accused of having assaulted so many Innu and Atikamekw people as children are dead now; Father Alexis Joveneau, who died in 1992, is buried in the cemetery in Unamen Shipu, where he spent so many years.
In late March, just days after the Oblates issued their apology and set up a hotline for Joveneau’s alleged victims, a class action suit was launched in Quebec for all victims of sexual assault at the hands of Oblate priests.
Lawyer Alain Arsenault says to date, 48 victims have come forward, alleging they were assaulted by 14 different Oblate missionaries.
With the court case pending, the head of the Oblates’ Quebec office, Father Superior Luc Tardif, turned down a request to be interviewed for this story.
Regardless of the results of that lawsuit, people in Unamen Shipu are asking that Joveneau’s remains, buried next to their Innu loved ones, be exhumed and taken away.
– Based on a report by Anne Panasuk of Radio-Canada’s Enquête