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Ex-PQ leader André Boisclair gets jail term for sex assaults

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WATCH: André Boisclair has been sentenced to two years less a day in jail. This comes after the former Parti Québécois leader pleaded guilty in June to two counts of sexual assault dating back to 2014 and 2015.The 56 year-old's victims told the court that the incidents continue to haunt them – Jul 18, 2022

Former Parti Québécois leader André Boisclair was sentenced on Monday to two years less a day in jail after pleading guilty to sexually assaulting two young men in his Montreal apartment.

Quebec court Judge Pierre Labelle said Boisclair’s acts had “devastating consequences” on the two victims, adding that the sentence is sufficiently severe and takes into account the fact that the former politician has shown remorse and pleaded guilty.

“The acts committed by the offender are highly reprehensible,” Labelle said. “Attacking people like this profoundly wounds their physical integrity and their dignity.”

Read more: Former PQ leader André Boisclair pleads guilty to sex assaults

The sentence of two years less a day — meaning Boisclair will serve his sentence in a provincial jail rather than a federal prison — was jointly recommended by the Crown and Boisclair’s lawyer. It also includes two years’ probation.

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Labelle, however, conducted his own analysis of the facts and came to the same conclusion, describing the sentence as “fair, proportional and personalized.”

Boisclair, 56, pleaded guilty on June 20 to one count of sexual assault with the participation of another person and one count of sexual assault. The two assaults took place in January 2014 and November 2015 at Boisclair’s Montreal apartment, and both involved men in their early 20s whom Boisclair met online.

His two victims, whose identities are protected by a publication ban, were both present at the sentencing.

Read more: André Boisclair, ex-PQ leader, shows up at police station after arrest warrant for sex assault charges

Prosecutor Jérôme Laflamme said he thinks the victims are starting to feel relief.

“We can only hope that from now on, life will be sweeter for them,” Laflamme told reporters after the sentencing.

The sentence, he said, “sends a message that offences like these offences are serious and they are harshly punished; two years less a day is an important sentence.”

In court on Monday, Labelle praised the two victims for their courage at the June 20 hearing, when they testified that their encounters with the former politician continue to haunt them.

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“Unfortunately, there is nothing I can say in this decision that can change anything or ease their suffering,” Labelle said. “I hope this (suffering) will diminish and that they will meet kind people in the future.”

One of the men testified that he suffers from depression and social anxiety and that the ambitious young man he was in 2014 “doesn’t exist anymore.” The man said he dropped out of university and gave up on dreams of entering politics as a result of the assault.

The other man described his assault as an “open wound that has not healed to this day.”

Boisclair will be banned from contacting his victims or mentioning them on social media during his probation. He will also be banned from possessing or using drugs, including cannabis, during the first year of his probation.

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Labelle also ordered a DNA sample from Boisclair, who will be registered for life as a sex offender.

The former politician was taken into custody immediately after Labelle delivered the sentence.

Boisclair’s lawyer, Michel Massicotte, declined to comment as he left the courtroom.

Boisclair, who was first elected to the provincial legislature at age 23, was once considered a rising political star. He was a provincial cabinet minister and served as PQ leader between 2005 and 2007 when the party was in opposition. He was later Quebec’s delegate general in New York from 2012 to 2013 and was president of the Urban Development Institute of Quebec from 2016 until his arrest.

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