Leroux found guilty

by Phil Ambroziak

Paul Leroux, the 73-year-old Vancouver, B.C. man who was charged in connection with a series of sexual abuse charges dating back to the 1960s, was found guilty in Battleford Court of Queen’s Bench last week.

The decision came Nov. 5 after several weeks of testimony from former students and staff at the Beauval Indian Residential School, as well as Leroux himself. Of the 17 charges filed against him, Leroux was found guilty of eight counts of sexual assault and two counts of gross indecency.

“It (verdict) gives everyone a sense of relief because finally, after more than 50 years, the stories that have been known about sexual predication were verified by the judicial system,” remarked Waterhen Lake First Nation member and former Beauval Indian Residential School student Sid Fiddler.

Leroux worked as a dormitory supervisor at the former residential school at the time the crimes took place. The charges stemmed from allegations Leroux molested a number of former male students between 1960 and 1967. And, although he wasn’t one of the victims to file charges, Fiddler said he was directly impacted by Leroux’s actions during his tenure as a student in Beauval from 1958 to 1966.

“I was sexually fondled by Paul Leroux – a lot of us were – and a lot of us were in the courthouse to give our support to those who came forward,” he said. “The court only brought the more serious cases forward, but we wanted to be there because we knew what really happened.”

When the trial began, Leroux pleaded not guilty. He also represented himself throughout the duration of the proceedings, defending his innocence at one point by stating he viewed himself as a fatherly figure to the students.

According to reports, judge Murray Acton agreed Leroux likely believed this to be true, but the close relationships he developed with some of the students soon led to sexual assault. Acton also said some witness testimony contained inconsistencies because the incidents themselves took place so long ago, but added there was also a number of commonalities presented.

“It’s unfortunate the individuals’ whose cases were eventually dismissed weren’t properly prepared in terms of the court process,” Fiddler said. “I don’t think they ever processed the trauma well enough to talk about it. If that had been the case, he may have been found guilty on all counts.”

Leroux, who was committed to stand trial in the spring of 2012 following a preliminary hearing in Meadow Lake, was previously convicted of child molestation at a residential school in the Northwest Territories. He served a 10-year prison sentence for that crime.

Sentencing for his recent conviction will take place Dec. 5. Leroux was taken into custody until the sentencing date.

“I think we’ll know how we truly feel about this whole thing once the sentencing is rendered,” Fiddler said. “But, I won’t be in court that day. When you go through a court situation like this, you go through all the emotional ups and downs. It was very stressful, especially when the judge was weighing the pros and cons before announcing his decision.”

Fiddler went on to reiterate, however, how proud he is of those who did make an effort to bring the charges forward.

“For those who testified, it took a tremendous sense of strength and courage,” he noted. “For them to disclose the sexual abuse they endured, relive it and try to piece the trauma together once again shows a lot of resiliency. I think, by doing this, they’ll really come out stronger in the end.”

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Comments
2 Responses to “Leroux found guilty”
  1. I think the whole situation is outrageous! Especially how long it took for Leroux to actually be convicted! At least he was found guilty, even though it was 50 years later? Better late than never right? But then, there was more kids he molested in the process, which is NOT okay. But he’s getting what he deserves!

    • Heather says:

      It’s unbelievable that this man who had already served 10 years for child molestation was allowed to work with children or be anywhere near them, oh well that’s the Roman Catholic Church sending out their known and convicted pedophiles out to unknowing parishioners so the sick monsters can molest again I don’t understand why more Catholics are not upset by this I just don’t get it.

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