Encourages other victims to come forward
On November 30 The Current reported that as a result of an investigation of historical sexual abuse, the OPP Renfrew County Crime Unit had charged Barry’s Bay resident Alfred G. Villeneuve with sexual assault, indecent assault and gross indecency. Shortly after our report appeared online, The Current was contacted by the accused’s daughter who said she wanted us to publish more detail because “… the community should be aware of what is happening there. My father has been charged with sexual assault. He has been molesting young boys since the 70s till the present. It originally started in Barry’s Bay but also happened in Pembroke/Renfrew County and he now lives back in the Madawaska Valley. I am hoping more victims will come forward and no longer be afraid…. And maybe it will stop some from future molestation.” She expressed regret that another local media outlet had failed to include Villeneuve’s name in its report, saying “That’s a crucial piece for other victims to come forward.” She said that she believed there were more victims, including one of her relatives who, she said, was abused by him in the 1990s. She said that members of her family had been sworn to silence, and that anyone who failed to obey was banished from the family.
The Current contacted the family member she identified who confirmed that he had been subjected to sexual abuse by Villeneuve. However, when his parents learned the truth, other family members insisted they hide it. He said they “are people who were in positions of power to help. These same women didn’t even call; they could have helped.” He vividly described a conspiracy of silence and his belief that the impact of such secrecy on the victims is devastating. He told The Current that in 1994 he received a letter of confession and apology signed by Alfred Villeneuve confirming the abuse, seeking forgiveness, and acknowledging the damage his conduct had caused to others. The Current has seen a copy of the letter.
He explained that all the children in his family had received a devout Catholic upbringing, and said that corporal punishment was common among some of his relatives. He said, “It was so ingrained in us to protect our family, family was everything. How odd that we would all be suffering such abuse and then our teaching made us not want to ever speak out against it.”
Villeneuve’s daughter was in agreement and said it is important for victims to know, “At least there’s somebody out there that will believe you.”
The Current reached out to Alfred Villeneuve for comment on information it received from his daughter, but no response was received.
Readers should note that no trial has yet taken place and therefore the allegations have not been proved in Court. Villeneuve was released on conditions and is due to appear in Pembroke Court on February 8.
Support is available if you or someone you know is living in or involved in an abusive relationship:
- Bernadette McCann House 24/7 for support, advice, or the safety of a shelter at 1-800-267-4930.
- The Women’s Sexual Assault Centre of Renfrew County is also available 24/7 for information and support at 1-800-663-3060.
- You could also attend the emergency department of any hospital in Renfrew County and ask to speak to a member of the Assault Response Team.
- Victim Services of Renfrew County is also available to provide emotional and practical assistance to people who have experienced domestic violence. They can be reached at 613-649-2852 or toll free at 1-877-568-5730.
- In emergencies call 9-1-1.
Image: Alfred Villeneuve (photo Deep River Gallery 2018)