The class action concerns Jean- Pierre Colas, who taught at Le Carrefour high school in Val-d'Or from 1972 to 1993. (File photo)
The Superior Court authorizes the class action filed against the Center de services scolaire de l'Or-et-des-Bois (CSSOB) for sexual assaults committed by former teacher Jean-Pierre Colas.
The application was filed in June 2022 by Jacinthe Boisvert St-Laurent, a woman who says she was sexually assaulted by the French teacher at Le Carrefour high school in Val-d'Or in 1987 when she was 17.
Ms. Boisvert St-Laurent claims that her mother had reported this situation to a high school leader a few days after the attack. He would have admitted that the problem was known to the high school but that nothing could be done.
Jean-Pierre Colas, who had remained in office, was accused and found guilty sexually touching another underage student six years later. He was sentenced to 20 months in prison. He died in 2017 at the age of 76.
The class action authorized by Judge Marie-Hélène Montminy alleges that the management of the School Board at the time demonstrated willful blindness and negligence. This is the first authorized class action against a Francophone school service center in Quebec for a case of sexual assault committed by a teacher.
“This is an important case that will allow the courts to rule on the legal responsibility of educational institutions towards children who attend schools with regard to the duties to protect them against sexual assault by persons in authority. »
— Me Maryse Lapointe, of Lapointe Légal
Lapointe Légal filed the action with Arsenault Dufresne Wee. The authorization of the class action was not challenged by the CSSOB.
This legal action aims to obtain financial compensation of $600,000 in damages for each of the victims who were allegedly sexually assaulted by Jean-Pierre Colas while he was employed by the high school Le Carrefour, between 1972 and 1993.
The lawyers in the file claim that six victims of Jean-Pierre Colas have been identified so far.
In terms of sexual assault, it there is no list of persons concerned, adds Me Lapointe. For us to know if they are targeted, these people must contact us so that we take their information to include them. Some people may wonder if it was a sexual assault, but since we are talking about a situation of authority, it should be noted that any consent given by a student would be vitiated. These are elements that can be analyzed with them for free.
The case will be heard at the Val-d'Or courthouse. If no out-of-court settlement occurs by then, hearings could be held next winter.