Randy Richmond, QMI AGENCY
First posted: Tuesday, September 30, 2014 07:46 PM EDT | Updated: Tuesday, September 30, 2014 07:59 PM EDT
LONDON - A woman who was raped by the priest who perfomed her grandmother's funeral mass has succeeded in securing a new memorial service in what is likely a first in Canada.
"Tainted and blasphemous," is how Kelly Grenier remembers the funeral, performed by serial predator Charles Sylvestre.
"It is like a re-do in our minds," she said Tuesday of the new service. "It is respect for what meant so much to my grandmother, for what she believed in so fervently. A funeral is a sacrament."
Grenier, 48, last week and on the eve of a trial after a seven-year battle, settled a lawsuit with the Roman Catholic Diocese of London over allegations of abuse by Sylvestre. The financial settlement wasn't disclosed Tuesday.
Separate from the legal settlement is an agreement from the diocese that Bishop Ronald Fabbro will head to the community of Pain Court next October to hold a service for Loretta King, who died July 17, 1984, in a car crash.
Grenier hopes for both a mass and graveside ceremony.
Whatever the form of the service, it will be a rarity.
"That would be a first," Francis Morrisey, a canon law expert at St. Paul University in Ottawa, said.
Morrisey has written extensively about clergy abuse cases and has testified in civil cases as an expert witness about canon law.
Sylvestre was convicted in 2006 of 47 counts of indecent assault spanning four decades and involving girls in Ont. parishes in London, Sarnia, Chatham, Windsor and Pain Court, before dying a year later in prison at 84.
More than 70 civil suits involving Sylvestre have been settled.
Grenier's grandmother served as Sylvestre's housekeeper and cook, and Grenier often came from Windsor, Ont., to visit her "second mother."
Sylvestre began abusing her when she was 13.
When she was 18, her grandmother died and the family saw nothing wrong with Grenier staying overnight at the priest's house as they gathered for the funeral.
That night Sylvestre raped her. The next day he performed the funeral.
Grenier insisted the church somehow redress the spiritual stain on her grandmother's funeral.
"She was a devout Catholic," Grenier said. "She would have expected so much more."
Kelly Grace Grenier of Toronto is fighting the Roman Catholic diocese of London for 7 1/2 years over abuse she claims to have suffered as a youngster at the hands of a priest. (Mike Hensen/The London Free Press/QMI Agency)
Funeral 're-do' for raped woman's grandmother | Canada | News | Toronto Sun