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Canadian bishop thwarted police investigation of abusive priest, judge finds

Catholic World News - November 09, 2009

A Canadian judge has determined that retired Bishop Gérard Dionne thwarted a 1983 police investigation into Father Bernard Cloutier’s sexual abuse of five teenage boys. Father Cloutier faces sentencing for his abuse today.

The judge sided with testimony by the father of one of the victims; the father testified that he, his wife, and parents of another victim were meeting with police when Bishop Dionne and Father Cloutier arrived uninvited and the bishop took over the meeting. Saying “shut up” whenever Father Cloutier attempted to speak, Bishop Dionne spoke with the boys privately, after which they said they did not wish to pursue charges.

Father Cloutier was sent away for therapy before ministering in another diocese; Bishop Dionne, then a Sault Sainte Marie auxiliary, was soon promoted to Bishop of Edmundston. He resigned in 1993 and is now 90 years old.

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