Click here if you don’t see subscription options
Archbishop Christian Lepine of Montreal announced March 27, 2019, that five Quebec dioceses, including Montreal, will allow an external audit in their archives for sex abuse cases. (CNS photo/Francois Gloutnay, Presence)

MONTREAL (CNS) -- Five dioceses from the province of Quebec will allow an external audit of their files regarding sex abuse cases, the Archdiocese of Montreal announced March 27.

In September, retired Quebec Superior Court Judge Anne-Marie Trahan will be able to consult the regular and secret files of five Catholic dioceses in the greater Montreal area, confirmed Montreal Archbishop Christian Lepine.

Archbishop Lepine said Trahan will be able to count on the full cooperation of the authorities of the dioceses of Montreal, Joliette, Saint-Jean-Longueuil, Saint-Jerome and Valleyfield and that she will have "complete access" the records of priests and diocesan staff for the past 70 years.

As part of the review, abuse survivors will be invited to come forward and tell their stories.

Trahan will have to submit a report within two years that will indicate "the number and nature of allegations of sexual abuse of minors by members of the Roman Catholic clergy and their staff from 1950 to the present day," Archbishop Lepine told journalists.

The diocesan reports will be made public, said Archbishop Lepine. They will offer "statistics on allegations of sexual abuse of minors of all the clerical and lay staff of the five dioceses." Each bishop will then decide, in the light of the findings, whether or not to initiate canonical trials against living priests.

"We take the allegations seriously today," said Archbishop Lepine. "But we also want to review the history of these allegations, how the complaints were received, how the victims were welcomed over the years. We want an external audit that will help us see clearly in our history while protecting innocent people."

Several American dioceses have launched audits in the wake of last summer's Pennsylvania Grand Jury report that exposed thousands of a cases of sexual assault that were covered up.

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.

The latest from america

Three actors from the HBO show Succession sitting in a patio overlooking the ocean
Am I the only person in the world who got to the end of “Succession” and wanted a happy ending?
Jim McDermottJune 01, 2023
A Reflection for the Memorial of St. Justin, martyr, by Christopher Parker
Christopher ParkerJune 01, 2023
Houses are submerged in flood waters in Lokoja, Nigeria, Oct.13, 2022. More than half of the 36 states of the country are affected. More than 600 people have died, with more than 1.4 million people displaced. (CNS photo/Afolabi Sotunde, Reuters)
The Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria launched a campaign that aims to plant 5.5 million trees over the next five years to mitigate the effects of climate change.
Ekpali SaintJune 01, 2023
a priest stands behind an altar, the camera looks from the area where the tabernacle is, out onto the congregation. only one person sits in the pews in front of the priest, signifying the low number of people attending church.
Ireland is becoming less religious, and the percentage of residents who identify as Catholic is down to 69% according to census data. More people identify with "no religion" than in previous years.