Retired priest jailed 15 months for sex abuse

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A retired Roman Catholic priest has been sentenced to 15 months in jail after admitting to sexually abusing a 15-year-old boy nearly 40 years ago.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 25/06/2020 (779 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

A retired Roman Catholic priest has been sentenced to 15 months in jail after admitting to sexually abusing a 15-year-old boy nearly 40 years ago.

Roland Lanoie, 72, pleaded guilty earlier this month to one count of sexual assault for offences dating back to 1982.

The abuse began shortly after the boy had been sent to live at St. Boniface Minor Seminary following the death of his mother.

Roland Lanoie was sentenced to 15 months in jail for sexually abusing a 15-year-old boy nearly 40 years ago. (Ken Gigliotti / Winnipeg Free Press files)

“Mr. Lanoie was his priest and his parents all at once,” provincial court Judge Ryan Rolston said Thursday. “It is difficult to imagine a more profound and multi-layered breach of trust.”

Lanoie was ordained in 1982, the same year he was hired as associate director at the seminary.

Court heard Lanoie would visit the boy’s bedroom at night and rub the boy’s penis over the sheets until the boy batted his hands away.

“The assault were relentless. Over the course of the school year, (the victim) was assaulted on a weekly basis, sometimes more than one night. This would leave (the victim) never knowing when the next assault would be,” Rolston said.

Lanoie left the seminary the following year, but continued to maintain contact with the victim.

In 1983, the two went out to a movie and the boy ended up sleeping at Lanoie’s home. The boy slept in a spare room and barricaded the door with furniture.

When Lanoie later tried to enter the room, he questioned the boy about the blocked door and was allowed inside. Lanoie again placed his hand over the boy’s penis over a blanket. Again, the boy swatted Lanoie’s hand away and he left the room.

The victim reported the incidents to the Archdiocese of St. Boniface in January 2017. In a subsequent interview with the archbishop, Lanoie said he interpreted the victim’s physical resistance as “playful,” not “refusal.”

Lanoie resigned from the archdiocese and was arrested in October 2018.

While Lanoie provided court some suggestion he was abused himself as a child, he showed no real insight or explanation for his actions, Rolston said.

“The court has been left with the impression that Mr. Lanoie has struggled to truly admit his guilt or appreciate that his actions caused significant damage to (the victim),” Rolston said.

Support letters from parish members testified to the high regard with which Lanoie was held in the community, Rolston said.

“But the high regard is muted by the fact that being trustworthy is necessary to achieving a position of trust,” he said.

Rolston sentenced Lanoie to an additional two years of supervised probation during which time he is not to work or volunteer in a position of trust involving children.

dean.pritchard@freepress.mb.ca

 

Dean Pritchard

Dean Pritchard
Courts reporter

Someone once said a journalist is just a reporter in a good suit. Dean Pritchard doesn’t own a good suit. But he knows a good lawsuit.

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