Religioso canadiense condenado por abuso sexual

EVREUX, France – A court on Wednesday convicted a Canadian priest of raping a teenage member of his Normandy parish and sentenced him to 12 years in prison — the second conviction for the clergyman who went to jail for similar crimes in Quebec.
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The trial of the Rev. Denis Vadeboncoeur rattled the northern France community where he had worked for more than a decade and sparked outrage over how he was hired and why his past conviction was kept secret.
Vadeboncoeur, 65, moved to France in 1988 after serving a 20-month sentence in Quebec, after he pleaded guilty to sexual abuse and sodomy of four teenage boys there.
On Monday, he testified to repeatedly sexually abusing a boy under 15 in his French parish. The abuse occurred from February 1990 to August 1993 while Vadeboncoeur was a priest in the village of Lieurey, according to the prosecution.
Vadeboncoeur’s face tightened when the verdict was read out. He did not speak.
«This is very hard on Father Vadeboncoeur. He is having a hard time accepting it. He is devastated,» said his attorney, Xavier Hubert.
Prosecutor Jean Berkani had requested a sentence of 12-15 years in prison followed by a ban from French territory.
The victim took the stand Tuesday, saying that he initially sought Vadeboncoeur’s guidance at his mother’s urging because he was having problems at home.
«He was an adult who wasn’t strict and understood kids. We could talk about everything with him,» the 30-year-old testified. He said their relationship quickly turned inappropriate, with Vadeboncoeur giving him massages and, eventually, making him feel like a «prostitute.»
«Today, for the first time in a while, I don’t feel guilty about my existence,» he told the court. «With this trial, I finally respect myself and I understand that I was not guilty.»
Vadeboncoeur had risked a 20-year sentence for charges of raping a minor and having abused his position of authority.
Former Evreux Bishop Jacques Gaillot, 70, said he had learned from Canadian religious leaders of Vadeboncoeur’s criminal past a few months after the new priest’s arrival.
«It’s true that I knew. I was worried about the appointment of Denis Vadeboncoeur and I named him to Lieurey with hesitation,» said Gaillot, who drew media attention in 1995 when the Vatican stripped him of his diocese because he challenged the church’s stand on homosexuality and the celibacy of priests.

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