Priest charged with sex crimes in western Montreal; police seeking potential victims
Montreal police have arrested a priest on three sexual assault charges related to crimes alleged committed between 1994 and 2011.
Investigators believe Brian Boucher, 56, may have committed more crimes and are asking any other potential victims to come forward. Police say the victims were underage at the time of the alleged acts.
Boucher appeared in court Thursday to face charges of sexual interference, sexual contact, sexual assault and break and enter. He was released strict under conditions, most notably that he can’t be in the presence of minors.
The suspect was first arrested on Jan. 12, then released with a promise to appear with conditions.
Investigators again arrested him on March 1 in connection with two other complaints.
Police first received complaints about the priest in August 2015, and began their investigation then with the cooperation of the Archdiocese of Montreal.
Boucher worked in several English-speaking parishes between 1985 and 2015, most of them located in the western part of Montreal, specifically: Senneville, LaSalle, Dorval, the Town of Mount Royal and downtown Montreal.
He most recently worked at the Our Lady of the Annunciation church in Town of Mount Royal.
“I was definitely absolutely horrified knowing that it's so close to home, but at the same time not so surprised,” said a former alter server from that church who wished to remain anonymous.
As a parish priest, Boucher was heavily involved in all activities at the churches he worked at, including helping children with their first communions and confirmations.
Montreal police spokesperson Jean-Pierre Brabant said police hope if there are other victims out there, they will come forward.
“In the course of the investigation, investigators have reasons to believe that there could be other potential victims, so for those reasons we're asking the public, if you were a victim of Mr. Boucher or you know of someone that could be a potential victim of Mr. Boucher, comes forward to the police,” he said.
Anyone who has been a victim or who knows someone who may have been a victim of Brian Boucher is asked to contact their local police or call 911.
Carlo Tarini communications director for the Quebec Association of Victims of Priests said he has no doubt more victims will come forward.
“In such cases there are always more victims that come forward. Interviews like this one are going to lead to many people calling our committee,” he said, adding that reported cases of sexual abuse involving priests in Quebec are far too common and says the Archdiocese of Montreal should be doing more to stop them.
“They have got to put these people out on their ear. They have to remove him from the priesthood. The current situation where they claim they remove their ministry is only removing their right to say mass on Sunday,” said Tarini.
“In this case, what's really unusual is the number of churches and parishes in which this presumed pedophile was transferred from. We’re talking about 10 different churches,” he said.
In a statement issued early Thursday evening, Bishop Alain Faubert stated that the church had a zero-tolerance policy towards abuse, and offered its full cooperation with the Montreal police.
Bishop Faubert added that he acknowledged the courage of those who contacted the archdiocese to report what they had experienced, saying Boucher has since been removed from all church ministries, and that an internal investigation is also underway.
The Archdiosece also released the following statement:
"Diocesan authorities removed him from all church ministry, launched an internal investigation guided the alleged victims through the process and collaborated with police."
Boucher is now living at a Montreal monastery until his court date at the end of April.