Former leader of the Parti Québécois, André Boisclair, pleaded guilty Monday to two counts of sexually assaulting two young men on separate occasions.
The Crown and the Defense made a joint sentencing proposal to Judge Pierre Labelle of two years in prison less than a day.
The Quebec Court judge said he wanted to think before deciding whether or not to accept the proposal, which also includes two years’ probation and a ban on contact with the two victims.
The 56-year-old, who was Quebec’s general delegate in New York from 2012 to 2013, will therefore learn his fate on July 18.
For the Crown Prosecutor, Mr.e It was important to Jérôme Laflamme that, given the crimes committed, the criminal proceedings should end with imprisonment, which “must be punished in proportion to its seriousness”.
“Only a prison sentence sent the appropriate message of denunciation and deterrence,” he told the media after the hearing.
The ex-politician, who was standing before Judge Labelle in a courtroom at the Montreal courthouse, twice replied “guilty” when asked what pleadings he recorded for the sexual assault charge and for sexual assault with the help of another person. A conditional stay was granted on the third count of sexual assault with a weapon.
Tanned and dressed in a well-tailored blue-grey suit, André Boisclair chatted and laughed with a man who sat next to him as he waited for the hearing to begin.
But when his two victims testified, he listened intently to the story of their injuries. The identities of the two young men are protected by a publication ban.
In the first case, the attack was committed in January 2014. After talking to him on social media, the victim went to André Boisclair’s house, where other people were staying at the time. Some consensual sexual gestures are made, but at one point Mr Boisclair motioned for two men to grab and penetrate him. The victim refuses and fights back: André Boisclair holds his chest while another tries to penetrate him but fails. Eventually he tells the others to let him go. To date, the two accomplices have not been identified, Mr.e The flame. This summary of the facts was first publicly released on Monday.
In the case of the other young man, also in his 20s, he met André Boisclair through a dating application in November 2015. They chatted over beers, but André Boisclair eventually forced sexual gestures on him that he didn’t want, including digital penetration. He told him to “stop” three times before he stopped.
Marked for life
The two young men told Judge Labelle on Monday how affected they were.
The former said he lost confidence, had panic attacks, didn’t finish his studies, stopped working several times “because depression took hold” and started using drugs “to escape his distress”.
“I had plans to kill myself,” he said, crying.
Also concerned, the second explained that André Boisclair’s actions had left him with “a deep wound”. “I’m marked for life,” said the young man, who was then in a vulnerable time, having just completed his come out barely a year earlier. He recounted that he had lived with shame and fear and always had difficulty connecting with people, and that he had also withdrawn from intimate relationships.
For his part, André Boisclair’s lawyer, Mr.e Michel Massicotte indicated that at the time his client lived in fear because he had been the victim of defamation and even had to file a civil suit. The anxiety caused by that case prompted him to take medication, he said, noting that he had been taking narcotics at the same time: “His judgment was significantly impaired during the events, partly because of this interaction.”
The defense attorney insisted that he was now in therapy with a psychiatrist and psychotherapist specializing in addiction. He will continue his professional aftercare, assured Me massicote When charges were filed in the first case, Boisclair submitted his resignation to the Urban Development Institute of Quebec, of which he had chaired since 2016.
Me Massicotte also pointed out to the judge that his client’s guilty plea spared the victims the fear of testifying again.
From the beginning of the criminal proceedings, he stated “that he in no way wanted the proceedings to increase the suffering of the victims”.
Mr Boisclair chose not to speak in court or his two victims on Monday. However, he gave them “letters of apology” through the lawyers.