A judge has authorized a class action lawsuit against the College Mont Sacre Coeur in Granby.

The suit alleges the sexual abuse and mistreatment of more than 70 students at the school, by priests, over a span of 70 years.

When the law firm initially filed the request for class action, more alleged victims stepped forward.

The number of suspects has grown from one priest to 11, and the firm is hoping that more victims will step forward in the coming weeks.

Lawyer Robert Kugler alleges the instances of abuse can be traced back to the school’s founding in 1932, and may have continued until 2008, when the Brothers of the Sacred Heart ceased managing it.

Constructed in the midst of the Great Depression, College Mont Sacre Coeur's website boasts its intent, at the time, to be a "beacon of hope" for young boys and men looking to attend school and eventually join the clergy. 

One of the victims, a man in his 50’s, endured sexual abuse on more than 300 occasions by a man working as a dormitory supervisor.

As a result of the abuse, Kugler explained, many victims will suffer life-long consequences, have difficulty with personal relationships, and will sometimes deal with drug and alcohol dependency.

Another complicated emotional hurdle for survivors of abuse is managing feelings of shame, he added.

In this instance, abuse by the people in charge – such as what was committed allegedly by one college employee named in the suit -- was “brutal.”

“The man who was responsible for educating and taking care of the kids was sexually abusing the kids, is what we are intending to prove,” Kugler said.

“He used to have [the] class representative and other children in the dormitory line up outside of his room, which was adjacent to the dormitory, and one by one, they would go in to get sexually abused.”

The class-action suit will take at least a year to make its way to court, and if successful, victims could receive compensation – and as Kugler hopes for the plaintiffs— a sense of relief, and justice.