First Nations woman first to testify in trial for former residential school priest


A trial has begun for a man accused of assaulting a First Nations woman while she was a student at a residential school north of Winnipeg more than 50 years ago.

Arthur Masse, who is now 93, is charged with one count of indecent assault from when the woman was a 10-years-old student at the Fort Alexander Residential School.

Victoria McIntosh told a courtroom the priest allegedly cornered her in a bathroom before assaulting her.

McIntosh testified that afterward, Masse told her not to tell anyone what happened and she was left terrified.

The Canadian Press doesn’t typically name complainants in such cases, but McIntosh has said she wants to speak publicly and no publication ban was ordered.

RCMP charged Masse last summer and he has pleaded not guilty.

   The Indian Residential Schools Resolution Health Support Program has a hotline to help residential school survivors and their relatives suffering trauma invoked by the recall of past abuse. The number is 1-866-925-4419.

   This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 7, 2023.

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