POLITICS

Lawsuits filed against New Brunswick Catholic diocese alleging sex abuse coverup

08/03/2012 12:18 EDT | Updated 10/03/2012 05:12 EDT
BATHURST, N.B. - A law firm representing sexual abuse victims of former New Brunswick priest Levi Noel has launched 11 lawsuits alleging members of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Bathurst covered up the crimes.

In January 2010, Noel was sentenced to eight years in prison after pleading guilty to 22 charges of sexual assault against 18 boys between 1958 and 1980.

A statement of claim filed today in the province's Court of Queens Bench alleges clergy failed to properly react to Noel's conduct and promoted "a culture of secrecy" that didn't help the victims.

The Ontario-based Ledroit Beckett law firm has filed 20 lawsuits in total against Noel and the diocese, but no statements of defence have been filed.

Rev. Wesley Wade, who speaks for the diocese, would not comment today on the new lawsuits because they are before the courts.

None of the allegations have been proven in court.