Quebec priest pleads guilty to abusing students

AP News
Posted: Jul 11, 2011 8:58 PM
Quebec priest pleads guilty to abusing students

A Quebec priest pleaded guilty Monday to sexually abusing 13 children at a Roman Catholic seminary and apologized for his crimes, but his victims were not swayed.

Rev. Raymond-Marie Lavoie, 71, pleaded guilty to all 21 charges against him for committing sexual crimes against young boys at the now-defunct St-Alphonse Seminary near Quebec City in the 1970s and 1980s.

The Redemptorist priest was accused of sexual abuse against 13 former students while he was a teacher overseeing the dormitory at the seminary.

Lavoie's plea came on what was to be the opening day of his trial. Prosecutors and defense lawyers then began debating what would be a proper sentence for his crimes.

"I slipped on a dangerous slope at a certain point and didn't have the wisdom to put on the brakes," Lavoie said. "I'm deeply disappointed in myself and I didn't act in respect and within the law."

Two victims addressed the court. One of them, Frank Tremblay, took a few moments to stare at Lavoie before reading from a letter.

"I'm disgusted by the way you carried yourselves," said Tremblay, who predicted that religious leaders who abused children would face eternal damnation.

Crown prosecutor Carmen Rioux said the maximum sentence Lavoie could receive is 10 years in prison. Lavoie will return to court in October.