Justin Bertrand, who was a priest with the Diocese of Pembroke and was previously stationed in Fort-Coulonge, has parted ways with the diocese and the priesthood. In a Facebook post he published on November 20, Bertrand announced his decision and gave an explanation for his departure:
“I was the victim of workplace harassment and abuse - psychological and sexual - and no longer felt safe and properly supported,” he wrote.
When contacted by CHIP 101.9 on November 29, Bertrand declined to comment further, stating that he was taking his complaints to police.
The Bishop of the Pembroke Diocese, Guy Desrochers, issued a statement on November 26, confirming Bertrand’s resignation and his allegations of harassment and abuse.
“I want to assure the faithful of the Diocese of Pembroke that I take these matters very seriously. Diocesan authorities examined the allegations when they surfaced and heard at length both Fr. Justin and the person who was the object of the allegations. Diocesan authorities involved Fr. Justin in the decision-making process. A canonical preliminary investigation is being launched, and the gathering of information will be made by an independent third party. I will determine if any action needs to be taken based on the findings of the canonical preliminary investigation. To my knowledge, there is no criminal investigation,” the statement reads.