BATHURST, N.B. – Eleven lawsuits have been launched against a former New Brunswick priest alleging members of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Bathurst covered up sexual assault crimes against boys.

Levi Noel was sentenced to eight years in prison in 2010 after pleading guilty to 22 charges of sexual assault against 18 boys between 1958 and 1980.

A statement of claim filed today in the province’s Court of Queens Bench alleges clergy failed to properly react to Noel’s
conduct and promoted “a culture of secrecy” that didn’t help the victims.

The Ontario-based Ledroit Beckett law firm has filed 20 lawsuits in total against Noel and the diocese, but no statements of defence have been filed.