Seven brothers appeared in youth court on Wednesday to face charges of sexually assaulting four children several decades ago.

The brothers, now aged between 59 and 71 years old, appeared stunned and shocked as they filed into a youth courtroom and were charged. 

Five of the men are accused of molesting others after they turned 18, and so also face charges in adult court of sexual assault, rape and gross indecency.

The alleged crimes, which are not subject to a statute of limitations, took place between 1964 and 1976.

The victims include relatives, all of whom were minors at the time, and so the seven men cannot be identified. The four victims were between the ages of 9 and 16 when the assaults occurred and are now in their 60s. 

According to the prosecution, the victims finally decided to come forward with their history of abuse by contacting Longueuil police, who, along with Crown prosecutors, were able to build a case against the seven men.

“The victims have to be ready to go through with the process, that's the main reason why it can take time, but whenever they're ready to face the procedures. There's nothing that stops us from authorizing the infractions,” said prosecutor Christel D’Auteuil-Jobin.

Even if the accused have been adults for decades they were still charged under Youth Protection Law in youth court, because the alleged crimes took place when they were minors. That is also the reason they can’t be identified.

Five of the seven brothers are also accused of continuing to abuse the victims even after they turned 18, so they were also charged in adult court with the same charges.  

The seven accused were all released on bail Wednesday afternoon pending their next court appearance, on Feb. 8, 2016, but have to abide by a series of conditions including not contacting each other, the alleged victims, and not being in the presence of any minors.

They’ll be expected to enter a plea on Feb. 8.