$65 million settlement: “We feel relieved,” say Mont D’Youville victims

$65 million settlement: “We feel relieved,” say Mont D’Youville victims
$65 million settlement: “We feel relieved,” say Mont D’Youville victims

The victims of the Mont D’Youville orphanage are mostly satisfied with the announcement of the $65 million settlement which will allow them to turn the page on the abuse they suffered.

• Read also: Mont d’Youville: victims obtain a record amount of $65 million

Jean Simard, who has long acted as their spokesperson, spoke Thursday with several of the former residents.

“We feel relieved, it puts a balm on the wounds,” he explains. Several told me that they were happy that the page had turned, that we were moving on. We felt re-attacked with each legal procedure. It was difficult for everyone for six years.

“It is also a relief because the victims will not have to testify. It was planned to have around 40 testify,” added M.e Simon St-Gelais, spokesperson for the lawyers.

Even if the religious congregation continues to deny any responsibility, Mr. Simard remains calm.

Jean Simard in front of the Mont D’Youville building. in September 2022.

Stevens LeBlanc/JOURNAL DE QUEBEC

“It was never a vendetta and we cannot generalize about the Sisters of Charity for the slip-ups either. They have done good in the past. But we suffered irreparable damage and there had to be compensation,” he said.

A torturer

The abuse suffered by Mr. Simard took place over a period of six months when he was 12 years old. In 2010, he and four other former residents testified to get John-Anthony O’Reilly sentenced to two years in prison. The latter will be accused again this fall for abuse of another person.

“He asked me to kiss him after beating me savagely. It doesn’t matter how many times he beat me. He was a sadist, I saw his madness in his eyes.”

Mr. Simard also highlighted the contribution of Christian Burgos, also a victim of the executioner, with whom he launched this cause.

Half satisfied

A victim who asked not to be named, however, said she had mixed feelings.

“In one sense, I’m happy, but in the other, no. I think it’s too easy for them, they still do well,” said the lady.

“In a month, we will no longer talk about it. It will be forgotten again. This is the part that I find difficult. Basically, the lawyers did a great job, but I’m not jumping for joy,” she adds.

Victim of a father who repeatedly raped her, the lady arrived at the Mont d’Youville orphanage at the end of the 1970s at the age of 9 and a half.

But it was not the respite to which she was entitled that she found there. Instead, his nightmare continued for five more years.

“I was raped hundreds of times by two educators. One of them even became friends with my father whom I was forced to meet every weekend. I no longer trusted adults,” she describes.

“This appeal gives hope that administrations will realize that the slippages of their members will catch up with them. And the abusers will know that children become adults and talk at some point. This is the hope I have,” concludes Jean Simard.

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