Roman Catholic diocese says it's up to alleged sex abuse victims to call police

The Canadian Press
Associated Press

MONCTON, N.B. - A Roman Catholic diocese in New Brunswick that removed two priests after hearing of sexual abuse accusations last year says it is not responsible for referring the matter to police.

A spokesman for the Archdiocese of Moncton says it is up to the alleged sex abuse victims to go to the RCMP with their accusations.

Donald Langis says former Supreme Court of Canada justice Michel Bastarache informed the archdiocese of the allegations after hearing them during a reconciliation and compensation process for alleged victims of sexual abuse involving another priest.

Langis says as a result, the archdiocese is a third party in the matter and not obligated to go to police.

But Robert Talach, a lawyer representing victims of sexual abuse by a New Brunswick priest at another diocese, says the archdiocese had a responsibility to notify police immediately.

The RCMP says it can't confirm if anyone is being investigated unless a charge is laid.

The archdiocese announced last weekend that Rev. Yvon Arsenault was ordered on July 4, 2012, not to carry out any duties as a priest, as was Rev. Irois Despres, though he has been retired since 1992.

None of the allegations has been proven in court.