In the wake of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s report, more and more survivors of residential schools are coming forward with their stories of abuse. The latest to speak out are two women who allege they were abused by a former priest at the Manitoban residential school Fort Alexander. Both women say they were sexually assaulted by the priest on multiple occasions. One of the women, who wishes to remain anonymous, says she was just seven years old when the abuse began. The other woman, Margo Wade, says she was eight years old when the priest first assaulted her. Wade says she reported the abuse to the Catholic Church in 1998, but nothing was done. These brave women have come forward in hopes that their story will help to bring justice and healing to all survivors of residential schools.
RCMP this Friday charged Father Arthur Masse, 92, with indecent assault in connection with the sexual abuse of a 10-year-old girl at the school more than 50 years ago, following a ten-year investigation. The fort was abandoned in 1970.
When Fontaine heard the news, she felt that it was finally time to publicly share her own experiences, which she had previously only shared with a therapist. On Monday, she came in contact with Powerview RCMP. Officers collected her name and informed her that the lead investigator in Winnipeg will call her, she claimed.
Even though there has only been one charge filed thus far, the MLA claimed that it is a step toward healing for survivors who felt they had not previously been heard or taken seriously.
When studying business administration at what is now Red River College Polytechnic in 1992, Maureen Fontaine says she wrote an essay and discovered a lot about the background and effects of residential schools.
On July 20, when Masse, who was freed last week with restrictions, makes his initial appearance on the charge already filed, Fontaine wants to be in court in Powerview.