In testimony punctuated with tears, the wife of a pastor from the South Shore of Montreal blamed her children for filing a complaint against her husband and herself for abuse and for ending up in court.
“I would never have thought to bring my parents to court for that”, dropped Tuesday at the Longueuil courthouse Carole Van Houtte, admitting to have been harshly corrected during her youth.
The 66-year-old woman and her partner, Pastor Mario Monette, pleaded guilty last week to assault with a weapon of their eight children, forcible confinement and threats of death or causing bodily harm, claiming he it was an educational method. The alleged acts took place in the 1980s until 2004.
Her testimony was interrupted by heavy sobs as she became very emotional as she spoke of the events.
The mother of the family would have liked all her children to forgive her for the abuse suffered in their youth. It should be understood that some testified against their parents while others still support them today.
Ms. Van Houtte notably returned to a statement by her son Micaël Monette, who admitted that he would probably not have lodged a complaint if his parents had come to ask him for forgiveness, which they never did.
“Why didn't he come to see me instead of bringing this in public?” She said.
For the first time since the start of observations on the sentence, Mario Monette let down a few tears and took his head in his hands on Tuesday, seeing his wife testify with difficulty.
He had, however, remained impassive when he heard the horror stories of his children last week, who described a “climate of terror”, sometimes jotting down a few notes.
In the morning, the pastor continued his testimony he had started the day before.
At one point, he called a beating he had inflicted on one of his sons when a stick had broken under the force of the blows and he had pursued it with a belt as “funny”. The remark made the Crown prosecutor in the case, Me Julie Laborde, jump.
“What is funny is the change of object. I didn't remember. When it was mentioned, I remembered it ”, he justified himself.
► The cross-examination of Carole Van Houtte continues on Wednesday.