Finally!!! A Project Truth win – albeit in a Montreal courtroom. Fr. Paul Lapierre, 75, who for years practiced in our Diocese of Alexandria-Cornwall, has been sentenced to one year in jail and three years of probation by Judge Gilles Garneau of the Court of Quebec Criminal Division, for indecently assaulting a young boy some 40 years ago. However, Lapierre did not go directly to jail. He is still free waiting out the results of this, his 2nd appeal. His first consisted of charging Judge Garneau with bias in finding him guilty of the charges this past June. The Appeals Court found no bias and he was sentenced this past October 14th.He did not testify on his own behalf; a Project Truth officer was called as a witness.

 

In a Cornwall courtroom, his Project Truth trial in September 2001, found him not guilty of the same charges by the same complainant. Testifying in his Project Truth trial, Lapierre professed knowledge of the complainant as a boy and claimed that others had found that "he had become too expensive." Lapierre used "they" and "the others" frequently but we never found out who he was talking about. The prosecutor failed to probe the issue. The Crown appealed the not-guilty verdict but for unknown reasons, chose not to proceed. Throughout his testimony, Lapierre was supremely arrogant, condescending and patronizing.

 

The complainant, a student at Cornwall Classical College and a former altar boy, had been sexually abused by eight men who passed him around like their personal toy. Roch Landry was the first man to sexually abuse him. He then introduced him to Fr. Paul Lapierre who in turn introduced him to Fr. Hollis Lapierre and Fr. Don Scott. Scott then shared him with Fr. Ken Martin who introduced him to George 'Sandy' Lawrence followed by Dr. Arthur Peachey. Paul Lapierre then brought him to Montreal and allegedly shared him with Fr. René Dubé. Lapierre took pride in having such a good-looking boy to show around, much like having a trophy wife. Lapierre was in charge of this boy's life.

 

In his Montreal trial, Dubé was found not guilty for lack of evidence.  Fr. Ken Martin and Sandy Lawrence were also found not guilty in their respective Project Truth trials. The other five men died prior to their trial, some under suspicious circumstances.

Here are some facts as I heard them in court and had them verified by the court transcript.

Fr. Paul Lapierre was ordained in 1958 by Bishop Rosario Brodeur. He served as a member of the Diocesan Liturgy Commission, was responsible for the Diocese's marriage prep. program, and conducted retreats at Villa Fatima in Alexandria.  The 1973 directory of priests shows him as living with Fr. Ken Martin in Montreal. Although working at St. Jacques' Church in downtown Montreal, Lapierre often came to Cornwall to say mass at St. Columban's where he also conducted several fourty hour Devotions. Fr. Lapierre is a brother of Senator Laurier Lapierre, a self-declared homosexual and former lecturer at London, Ontario's Christ the King College, where Fr. Eugène Larocque, prior to becoming the Bishop of the Diocese of Alexandria-Cornwall, had been its Director. 

Charged by Project Truth, Lapierre's trial began in September, 2001. Upon being questioned by the Crown as to his knowledge of predator priests, he volunteered the names of Fr. Don Scott (who he said died of AIDS) Fr. Hollis Lapierre and Fr. Ken Martin as abusers of young boys. When he began to disclose Martin's name, his attorney Don Johnson objected to his naming Fr. Ken Martin. He said that he would be in a conflict of interest since he also represented Fr. Martin in his upcoming trial. The judge ruled to excise Martin's name as it was "irrelevant to these proceedings." The court transcript reflects his decision as there is no mention of Johnson's objection nor of Fr. Martin's name. At least, Lapierre should have been called as a witness for the prosecution in Fr. Martin's trial. He never was.

Lapierre admitted that he knew of past and ongoing sexual abuse of boys and the sharing of boys. He claimed that he had never abused anyone; but "the others" had. The Crown never followed up on who "the others" were. Lapierre never felt that it was his duty to report the abuse to the police. He said that he had done his reporting in confession to his Bishop, Eugène Larocque and claimed confessional privilege.

Lapierre further stated that upon the death of Fr. Hollis Lapierre in 1975, Fr.Don Scott was asked to destroy Hollis' compromising pictures and porno magazines which he had hidden behind his bed, in a cavity in the wall. The pictures were Polaroids of himself  with naked boys with their penises showing but not their faces

In his testimony, it is interesting to note who he calls his close friends, He mentions several priests, the Bishop and Sandy Lawrence and De. Arthur Peachey. By bringing up the names of Lawrence and Peachey, Paul Lapierre confirmed the existence of a special and unique relationship between the priesthood and the lay Catholic professionals of Cornwall. Given that Peachey and Lawrence were charged by Project Truth, the relationship had but one common denominator: boys.

A very close friend that Lapierre did not mention but was no doubt one of "the others" he spoke of, is Fr. Gilles Deslauriers

Bishop Adolphe Proulx was at the helm of the Alexandria-Cornwall Diocese (1967-1974); Fr. Gilles Deslauriers served as his Master Ceremonies and, for a time, lived in the Bishop's palace. In 1974, when Bishop Proulx was assigned to the neighbouring Archdiocese of Gatineau-Hull, he was replaced by Fr. Eugène Larocque, a priest from the Archdiocese of London, who was consecrated as Bishop of Alexandria.

After Bishop Larocque assumed control of the Diocese, Father Deslauriers helped out with a variety of diocesan activities. He assisted the Bishop with Religious Vocations for the French sector, serviced on the Liturgical Commission for the French sector, served on the Pastoral Ministry of Priests, and acted as chaplain in the Catholic Secondary Schools. For a number of years he was placed in charge of the diocese's French Cursillo and R3, a French youth Cursillo.

In January 1986, the parents of a young man approached Bishop Eugène Larocque alleging that their son had been sexually molested by Fr. Deslauriers. When no action was taken, the couple met with the Papal Nuncio, then Angelo Palmas. Following that visit, Bishop Larocque carried out an internal investigation, then contacted the couple and promised that Deslauriers would be kept out of active ministry and relocated to receive therapy in the Gatineau-Hull Diocese (then under the helm of Bishop Proulx).

Deslauriers supposedly resigned on the 13th of February. One week later he was discovered saying Mass in a Hull parish where he was filling in for an ailing parish priest. The couple went public as the Crown laid nine charges of indecent assault against five boys between 1978 and 1984. Deslauriers was found guilty and sentenced ONLY to two years probation, reporting to a probation officer and to Bishop Proulx.

Newspapers of the day reported that Bishop Proulx of the Gatineau-Hull Diocese had volunteered to watch over Deslauriers, an offer which the judge said, "indicates a confidence he has in the future of this person." The media also reported that Cornwall Police Chief Claude Shaver had said that Bishop Larocque had been less than cooperative during the investigation.

Fr. Deslauriers moved on to St. Adèle, Québec, and then to Verchères, Québec. In 1997 the Ottawa Sun learned that Fr. Deslauriers was under investigation for new sex allegations in St. Adèle. ( From the Files of the Orator)