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Montreal archdiocese says priest found guilty of sexual assault has been defrocked


MONTREAL — A priest sentenced in 2019 for abusing two boys has been formally stripped of his priesthood, Montreal's archdiocese said Friday.

Archbishop Christian Lepine had defrocked Brian Boucher in March 2019, following the conclusion of a church judicial process, but that decision had been subject to appeal.

The archdiocese said in statement that no appeal had been filed. "Therefore, the decision stands. Mr. Boucher is no longer a priest of the Roman Catholic Church."

Meanwhile, a review by a former Quebec Superior Court justice into how the archdiocese handled complaints against Boucher is expected to be made public next month.

Peipita G. Capriolo tabled her review in early September and Lepine said in a statement Friday he is reviewing the findings and studying the recommendations.

Lepine requested the review last November. He said in an interview at the time that he wanted to find out who knew what in relation to Boucher's crimes. 

Lepine had asked Capriolo to establish a timeline of the sexual abuse and to recommend ways the archdiocese can improve how it handles sexual abuse complaints. 

The archdiocese said it will comment once the report is made public.

Boucher was sentenced in March 2019 to eight years in prison for abusing two boys. He was found guilty in one case and pleaded guilty in the other.

He worked in 10 Montreal-area churches between 1985 and 2015. The abuse took place at two churches between 1995 and 2011.

“We are of one heart with the victims, their families, their parish communities in their pain and suffering,” Lepine said in the statement. “We will never accept that such crimes be committed and remain concealed.”

The archdiocese says it will hire a third party to audit the number and nature of sexual abuse cases against Catholic clergy since 1950.

Another former judge who had initially been tasked to handle the audit died suddenly in July 2019, delaying the matter.

"Like many organizations, one of the adverse effects of life during a pandemic is its negative impact on timelines," the archdiocese said.

"Nevertheless, once the Capriolo Report has been released publicly, the 70-year external audit is on the list of priorities to be addressed."

 This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 23, 2020.

Sidhartha Banerjee, The Canadian Press

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