Hell underground, punched and malnutrition: a Baptist pastor beaten and mistreated for years many young boys he kept prisoner in his basement, in a residential area of Quebec.
The religious leader, denied by the official Protestant networks, is now the subject of a criminal investigation by the Service de police de la Ville de Québec, La Presse has learned.
Young victims – at least seven – were entrusted to him by their parents, followers of the Evangelical Baptist Church of Quebec East. The boys then were subjected to violence and inhuman treatment, and never left the basement housing paired for religious ceremonies, “establishing no form of contact with the outside world,” according to court decisions.
The pastor generously distributed “punched in the face and blows to the abdomen,” according judgments in youth protection.
A 15 or 16 years was forced to perform “8000 adjustments” up-and-down “during a single day, without food or water.” The exercise, also called “burpee” consists of a push-up and a jump in the air. The same boy, who spent six years in the basement of the pastor, “was deprived of food for ten consecutive meals.”
Another victim has spent “more than ten years” with the pastor. He said he had been punished through “about 41 days” stand facing a wall, which put him “in a state of exhaustion as presented vomiting.” Consumption of water was rationed to the point that his visits to the bathroom had to be “door ajar so that ensures he does not drink out of the faucet.”
“Slavery” and “torture”
Both youths were entrusted to foster care because their parents deemed incapable of taking responsibility. They approved – fully or partially – the fate of their children.
A young man who escaped from the basement of the pastor in August 2014, at the age of 21 years, described his detention as “slavery” and “torture”.
The DPJ had already opened an investigation into one of the young in 2013, before closing. The organization swear doing his job and argues that we should not interpret his past with the information available to the authorities now.
A neighbor, who “suspected something” but had never alerted the authorities cracked when La Presse revealed to him the fate of these young people who virtually never went out of the house.
“I find it appalling that I have not seen that.”
The law prohibits us from naming the youth involved and the pastor at the center of the record. It did not call La Presse. The woman who answered the call routed to his home declined to comment on the situation.
History of “abusive practices”
The Evangelical Baptist Church of Quebec East has a very small group of faithful.
Gilles Lapierre, Executive Director of the Evangelical Baptist Churches Association of Quebec (AEBEQ), said in an interview that the group’s pastor is no longer a member of the official religious networks for several years. Mr. Lapierre denounced the “sectarianism” of the group and its leader likened to a “guru”.
He had a history of abuse, according to a judgment of the Court of Québec published last April.
He “was first associated with a Baptist church in [unknown region of Quebec] where he was fired because of his abusive practices with regard to young children and their extreme rigidity,” wrote the Judge Andrée Bergeron, 21 April. He then combined with another group, “but he had to, again, leave the movement because of its extreme rigidity and its questionable practices.”
“Very isolated environments”
The DPJ had opened a file on the situation in August 2013, before closing it.
Yesterday, a spokesman for the organization defended the intervention, arguing that the available information had been changed between 2013 and the end of 2014.
The files related to “religious organizations which may be likened to a kind of cult” are taken very seriously and are subject to “multiple interventions,” said Patrick Corriveau. “The difficulties we encounter is that often very isolated environments. […] Often children have been prepared in advance for the arrival of the director of youth protection. ”
According to Mr. Corriveau, he is “certain” that the basement of the pastor had been visited by the DPJ in 2013. “There is a very well done by the stakeholders,” he said.