ST. JEAN DE DIEU, today called Louis-Hippolyte Lafontaine.
"Once you come in here, we are the ones who decide when you may be liberated," Gosselin allegedly told Labrosse.
When contacted by Freedom, Gosselin, who served as president of the Canadian Psychiatric Association in 1993, said he wouldn't comment on Labrosse's allegation. Currently practicing in Ottawa, Gosselin said he couldn't remember whether he had treated Duplessis Orphans or not.
But he admitted that during his tenure as staff psychiatrist at St. Michel Archange from 1959 to 1963, he had placed a number of patients on farms. Of note, according to former Quebec Ombudsman Daniel Jacoby and reports received by Freedom, Orphans placed on farms were also victimized.
Beatings, Torture, Sodomy
Freedom contacted psychiatrist Denis Lazure for response to allegations by Joseph Martin and others regarding abuses at St. Jean de Dieu. In addition to interning at the institution in 1952, Lazure served as its director from 1974 to 1976. In 2000, he returned to the renamed facility, Louis-Hippolyte Lafontaine, as a practicing psychiatrist.
The youngest children were kept out of sight in cells and cages at the back of St. Jean de Dieu.
According to a statement provided on Lazure's behalf by Jean Lepage, public relations director for Louis-Hippolyte Lafontaine, investigations into claims that Orphans had been severely harmed "were never proven and therefore considered unfounded."
Lepage referred to a 1997 report by the then Quebec ombudsman, Daniel Jacoby, in which the Orphans' complaints were documented.
Jacoby's report, however, does not state that the Orphans' statements of abuse were unfounded. He did indeed find evidence of such abuses as psychosurgery, electroshock, ice baths, beatings, straitjacketing, torture, sodomy and "unjustified confinement to a cell — sometimes for months or even years."13
In fact, after the Quebec attorney general announced in February 1995 that no charges would be brought, Jacoby stated, "in almost all cases, the reasons invoked by the attorney general did nothing to deny the existence of the facts. Neither the statute of limitations nor the death of a suspect or complainant throw the alleged acts into question."14
Rejecting Lazure's response to Freedom as "a pack of lies," Rod Vienneau pointed to the psychiatrist's own memoirs for corroboration of abuses. "I believe Denis Lazure should be the first one to be brought to court" for crimes against innocent children, Vienneau said.
Specific allegations by Vienneau and others, most importantly, have never been investigated by authorities empowered to bring perpetrators to justice. With no proper investigation, Vienneau said, one cannot say claims are "unfounded," particularly in the presence of eyewitnesses and other evidence.