Archdiocese of Montreal reacts to sex crime charges involving minors against priest

The Archdiocese of Montreal has reacted to the sex crime charges involving minors against 56-year old priest Brian Boucher.

In a statement it says "we unequivocally denounce all forms of abuse, whether physical, psychological or sexual; furthermore, anyone practising their faith within the Archdiocese of Montreal must be able to do so in total safety and without fear or misgiving." 

It goes on to say "we would like to acknowledge the courage of those who contacted the Archdiocese to report what they had experienced. They are in our thoughts and prayers, as are their families, loved ones and the communities to which they belong."

It also says "the Archdiocese would like to stress that as soon as its officials received testimony alleging misconduct by Fr. Boucher, every effort was made to shed light on these allegations. Diocesan authorities removed him from all Church ministry, launched an internal investigation, guided the alleged victims through the process, and collaborated with the police by sharing the results of its investigation." 

Montreal's Archbishop, Most Rev. Christian Lépine, established a service in June, 2016, to promote Responsible Pastoral Ministry, charged with ensuring a healthy and safe environment throughout the diocese. 

Through the decree establishing the service, the Archdiocese of Montreal applies a strict zero-tolerance policy regarding abusive behaviour of a physical, psychological or sexual nature to all those in its employ or acting on its behalf, says the statement.

Boucher was arrested in January and freed on a promise to appear at a later date.

But, he was re-arrested Wednesday after other alleged victims came forward.

Boucher appeared in court Thursday on charges of sexual assault, sexual interference, invitation to sexual touching and break and enter.

Boucher has served in 10 churches, including the West Island.