The number of alleged victims and assailants has risen rapidly since the filing of the request for collective action against the Servite congregation about three weeks ago. The new denunciations prompted the Kugler Kandestin law firm to file a second version of its application in the Superior Court.
In the first version of the application for collective action, an alleged victim, a man now in his 50s, claimed that Father Jacques Desgrandchamps sexually assaulted him many times during his teenage years.
The second version of the application points to a total of nine fathers who allegedly committed sexual assault at Servite College, located in Ayer’s Cliff. A total of some 20 victims contacted Kugler Kandestin to report the beatings they had inflicted on them.
The new version of the text argues that Father Bernard Lajeunesse “often look for children in the dormitory to bring them to his room.” He allegedly taught different subjects at the school.
A student was reportedly assaulted many times by Father Lajeunesse. The latter would have begun by performing “simple touching and then fellatio until one evening he tries to sodomize. The 12-year-old would then leave the room crying and shouting in the fathers’ wing. ”
Subsequently, even if he had not told this traumatic episode to anyone, the child would have been summoned to the office of the Director General, which would have enjoined him to forget what had happened otherwise he was would kick out of school. He would not have been readmitted to Servite College the following year.
Bernard Lajeunesse taught for 27 years at the Servite College. He later became vicar in various parishes in the Montreal area.
Another student was reported to have been masturbated many times by Father André Cotton, whose room was adjacent to the dormitory of the boarders. After a while, this teenager would have “had the courage to tell his attacker to stop.” His intervention resulted in his being denied the right to continue his studies at Servite College in Secondary IV.
According to the information in the class action petition, André Cotton often hosted first, second and third year secondary school students in his room. He had worked for at least two decades at Servite College before leaving Canada to become a missionary in Africa.
In his application, Kugler Kandestin speculates that more than 100 former students were sexually assaulted at Servite College.
Attorney Robert Kugler believes that the new version of the class action petition is “surely stronger” because it is bigger than the first one. He also believes that publicly naming the names of new alleged abusers in his office will encourage additional victims to come out of the shadows.
According to information obtained by La Tribune , three of the religious targeted by the new request for collective action, including Father Lajeunesse, have already died. Those who are still alive would have been relieved of their “pastoral ministry” on the spot once the allegations became public.
In a statement, the Servites of Mary assured Friday late afternoon, “treat this case with the utmost attention and condemn any abusive behavior of a physical, psychological or sexual. As the courts have been seized of an application, we will reserve our comments for the court “,