Victims of sexual assault/Paul-André Harvey and the diocese of Chicoutimi
The class action seeks to obtain compensation for the victims of sexual assault committed by Paul-André Harvey, formerly a priest of the Catholic Church, on the territory of the Diocese of Chicoutimi.
The action alleges liability of the Bishop, the Fabriques, the Roman Catholic Episcopal Corporation of Chicoutimi and their insurer for the sexual abuse of Paul-André Harvey. An agreement in principle has been reached to the effect that the insurer will pay $13,750,000 to the victims. The Bishop of Chicoutimi has agreed to apologize to the victims and to institute a substantial program of reparative measures within the Diocese of Chicoutimi.
The deadline to present a claim has now expired. People wishing to submit a claim had until August 5th, 2022 to do so.
On May 3, 2022, the Honourable Sandra Bouchard of the Superior Court of Quebec approved the Settlement Agreement (French only) in the class action for the victims of Paul-André Harvey. The agreement provides for the payment of a total of $13,750,000, which will cover compensation to the victims of abuse, the fees of Trudel Johnston & Lespérance (“TJL”) as approved by the Court, and the costs of distribution to the victims. The agreement also provides for a public apology by the Bishop of Chicoutimi, as well as other remedial measures within the Diocese of Chicoutimi to prevent similar abuses in the future.
Conditions to be part of this class action
You are part of the class action if you meet the following 3 criteria:
1. You were sexually assaulted by Paul-André Harvey;
2. The abuse occurred between 1962 and 2002;
3. You were on the territory of the Chicoutimi diocese when the abuse occurred.
REMINDER! The class action is completely independent of the criminal case. You are not automatically added to our list if you were a plaintiff in the criminal case.
Please note that all communications with our office are covered by solicitor-client privilege and will remain strictly confidential. If you chose to register, your identity will remain confidential and will be protected by solicitor-client privilege.
In anticipation of the testimony of several victims at the trial, TJL obtained a Confidentiality Order preventing any publication or disclosure of the identity of any victims involved in the class action. In its decision, the Court recognized that the subject matter of the testimony directly affects the privacy of the victims, and therefore it was in the interests of justice that the victims be able to feel safe and not fear that their identities could be revealed publicly.
A toll-free information helpline exists for sexual assault victims of all ages. The service provides free, bilingual and confidential support and guidance, and is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, throughout Québec, at a toll-free number: 1 888 933-9007 or 514 933-9007 for the Montreal region.
The class action
On October 14, 2015, the Association des jeunes victimes de l’Église (AJVE) filed a motion seeking authorization to institute a class action against the pedophile Paul-André Harvey and La Corporation épiscopale catholique romaine de Chicoutimi.
The honourable Sandra Bouchard of the Superior Court of Quebec authorized the institution of the class action against Paul-André Harvey and La Corporation Épiscopale de Chicoutimi on May 3, 2016. She is the judge designated to hear all procedures relating to this file.
TJL concluded that it was necessary to add several other parties to the class action and asked to be authorized to add to the class action the following entities: the Évêque Catholique romain de Chicoutimi, all parishes of the Chicoutimi diocese in which Paul-André Harvey was assigned and the Assurance mutuelle des Fabriques de Québec (their insurer).
On January 9, 2019, Justice Bouchard ruled in favor of the plaintiff and therefore authorized the class action against these entities.
The parishes applied to the Court of Appeal for permission to appeal the judgment of Justice Bouchard authorizing the class action against them. On March 27 2019, the Honorable Justice Bélanger refused their application on the bench.
Trial and Agreement
The trial of the class action began on March 7, 2022, at the Chicoutimi courthouse. After opening statements by counsel for each party, the trial was suspended for discussions at the request of the parties. After nearly two days of discussions, an agreement in principle was reached between the plaintiff, the Association of Young Victims of the Church (“AJVE”), and the defendants, namely the Diocese of Chicoutimi, the parishes in which Harvey committed his abuses, and the Assurance Mutuelle des fabriques de Québec.
When we presented the agreement in principle to the Court on the morning of March 9, 2022, Justice Bouchard praised the courage and perseverance of the victims in their quest for justice. She added that she hoped this outcome would be a balm to the victims’ wounds and that it would allow them to turn the page on a painful past.
The parties agreed to the final text of the settlement agreement (“Settlement Agreement”) on April 4, 2022. The Settlement Agreement provides for the payment of a total amount of $13,750,000 to compensate all persons who were sexually abused by Paul-André Harvey between 1962 and 2002 on the territory of the Diocese of Chicoutimi. The agreement in principle also provides that the Bishop of Chicoutimi, Mgr René Guay, will apologize to the victims of Father Harvey.