Camille Piché, left, is seen with Georges Posset in Fort Simpson in 1982. NWT Archives/Rene Fumoleau fonds/N-1998-051:2762
Warning: This report contains details of sexual violence which readers may find disturbing.
A former priest who worked in Fort Simpson has been sentenced to two years for committing indecent assault in the 1980s.
Oblate Father Camille Piché, 85, worked at Sacred Heart Church in Fort Simpson from 1981 to 1986.
Late last year, he was charged with one count of indecently assaulting a girl in the community between 1981 and 1982.
According to an agreed statement of facts filed with the court, while visiting the girl’s family, Piché put his hand under a blanket and her pants and touched her genitals. He then told her not to tell anyone about what had happened.
Piché pleaded guilty to the charge and was sentenced to two years in prison by judge Robert Lane in Fort Simpson on October 23, as first reported by CBC.
He was also ordered to register as a sex offender and was given two years probation.
In a victim impact statement, the woman, whose identity is protected by a publication ban, said the assault has affected her relationship with the Catholic Church and has had long-term impacts on her mental health.
“I am reclaiming that piece of my soul that you took from me 40 years ago and my healing will start today,” she wrote. “One day I will be okay as my healing journey will be a long journey ahead of me.”
Piché was ordained to the Catholic priesthood in December 1963 and travelled to the NWT in 1964.
Father Ken Thorson, a leader with Oblates of Mary Immaculate Lacombe, Canada, has said that the Oblates removed Piché from public ministry and placed him under active monitoring once they became aware of allegations against him.