PORT HAWKESURY: An Isle Madame man facing sexual assault charges involving children as young as four pleaded guilty to 10 counts and received three years probation.
In Port Hawkesbury Supreme Court on May 22, 92-year-old Delmore Boudreau of Gros Nez pleaded guilty to 10 charges of indecent assault involving eight females and one male ranging in age from four to 12, which were committed in the Petit de Grat area between 1966 and 1986.
According to the statement of facts, most of the abuse took place in the basement of Boudreau’s home, with other incidents taking place in the bathroom. The victims said Boudreau either threatened them not to disclose the incidents, or rewarded them with candy after they occurred. All victims told police they were scared and confused after the incidents, all of which were sexual in nature.
Years later, two of the victims disclosed the abuse to family members, some of whom confronted Boudreau directly, but they said he denied the allegations. In two cases, the victims confronted Boudreau directly, and they testified that he admitted to abusing them.
In the statement of facts, one of the parents explained why the abuse was not reported to the RCMP.
“In those days it was inconceivable to go to the law with this story because you were sure that you would not have been taken seriously and figured the men always won,” the statement reads.
In court last Wednesday, two female victims provided victim impact statements. One woman said while she felt safe at home with her loving family, she did not feel safe in the community, which she said seemed more concerned with protecting Boudreau than his victims. She said many residents implored her to keep her abuse secret, others “shunned” her, and she felt “backlash” from some women in the community. Noting that “time does not heal all wounds,” she said the abuse she suffered at Boudreau’s hands followed her from childhood into adulthood like “a dark cloud.”
Meanwhile, the victim told the court that Boudreau was sent for counselling with a local priest and was never held accountable for his actions. She concluded by asking that the court not take pity on Boudreau because of his age, adding that he didn’t worry about the ages of his victims.
The second victim to take the stand said the community was “ill-equipped” to deal with abuse, and many people looked at it through a “narrow lense” where the abuser was protected and the victims were not believed, even by their own families. She said many adults were “conflict averse,” preferring to keep the peace to serve what they considered the greater good, than hold Boudreau responsible. She pointed out that this “culture of silence on Isle Madame created a community of victims.”
She said he is hopeful that by coming forward, this will help the community heal and raise awareness so that future allegations are taken seriously.
The victim told the court that as a result of the abuse, she feared all grown men – even her father, she has a heightened fear of the dark, still has trust issues with men, has struggled in relationships, and suffers from depression and anxiety. As a result of her mental and physical problems, she was forced to leave the workforce. She told the court she has been receiving psychotherapy for the past five years.
The victim said she is ashamed she didn’t come forward sooner and told the court it’s hard to hear about other cases which took place after hers.
On May 9, 2018 Richmond District RCMP announced it completed an eight-month investigation into allegations of sexual assault against Boudreau.
Nova Scotia RCMP Media Relations Officer, Cpl. Jennifer Clarke, said at the time that an investigation was initiated after a victim came forward to police in September, 2017.
As the investigation progressed, the RCMP said a total of nine victims were identified with some coming forward on their own, and others making statements after being approached by police. Cpl. Clarke noted that the RCMP worked with other police agencies as part of the investigation because “some of the victims do not reside in the area.”
As a result, 12 charges involving sexual offences were laid by the RCMP. On May 16, 2018 Cpl. Clarke confirmed Boudreau was facing six counts of indecent assault; two counts of sexual intercourse with a minor; three counts of indecent assault; and one count of sexual assault.
On May 22, 2018, Boudreau selected trial by judge and jury in Port Hawkesbury Scotia Supreme Court. On June 1, Boudreau’s lawyer, Kevin Burke, appeared in court to set a date for the preliminary hearing, which was scheduled to take place on October 22, 2018 in Port Hawkesbury. Three weeks were set aside for the preliminary inquiry.
Since then, the Crown and Defence Attorneys came to an agreement on a joint sentencing recommendation of a suspended sentence; three years probation; house arrest with a strict curfew; regularly reporting to his probation officer; no contact with anyone under the age of 16 (with exceptions for his grandchildren); Boudreau cannot visit any locations frequented by children; he was given a firearms prohibition; he must submit a sample of his DNA; and he must submit his name to the national sex offender registry.
Crown Attorney Herman Felderhoff said this is the first time in his career that he made such a sentencing recommendation, noting that a trial would’ve been a challenge since the case goes back many years, involves multiple victims, the accused is of an advanced age, and has a host of medical issues.
He did tell the court this case involved a “power imbalance” between Boudreau and his young victims and entailed violent, severe abuse that has had a “serious impact” on his victims, his family and the community.
Defence lawyer Kevin Burke said Boudreau “takes no issue with the victim’s statements” and the defence recognized the “very serious” offences against Boudreau involving children, which he said traumatized his victims.
Calling Boudreau’s circumstances “exceptional,” Burke said his client has only a Grade 6 education, is 92 and has a cardiac issues – including suffering multiple heart attacks, has cognitive impairments, and suffers from significant hearing loss, all of which impair his ability to fully understand what is going on around him, and makes a lengthy trial a challenge.
Pointing out that incarceration would be a “death sentence” for his client, Burke said the Boudreau family is “devastated” by the charges and by taking full responsibility for what he did, Boudreau hopes the guilty pleas will provide some closure for all those impacted.
Acknowledging that the terms of the sentence are not stringent and it’s “not a perfect proposal,” Burke said it does reflect society’s condemnation of what Boudreau has done and “serves the interests of justice.”
In a statement to the court, just before Judge Patrick Murray gave his sentencing decision, Boudreau said, through his daughter-in-law that he is “very sorry” for all the hurt he caused through the years.
In his decision, Murray called this a “very difficult case” because Boudreau has no prior record, expressed remorse and took responsibility, but he noted that the “offences are repugnant to society.” Pointing to the “unique circumstances” in the case, Murray told the court he did carefully read the victim’s impact statements and they did weight into his decision, calling the consequences of Boudreau’s crimes “both devastating and prolonged.”
Noting Boudreau’s actions were “predatory” because he was a relative and neighbour to some of the victims, Murray said he still considered incarceration despite his advanced age and infirmity, but he finally concluded that jail time was “not a realistic option” since legal precedents have clearly established age as a mitigating factor in sentencing.