Quebec judge authorizes class action on behalf of alleged victims of ex-hockey coach

LONGUEUIL — A Quebec Superior Court justice has authorized a class-action lawsuit on behalf of victims of a former Montreal police officer and minor hockey coach who died awaiting trial on sex-related charges.

Justice Pierre Gagnon on Thursday authorized the $11-million lawsuit against the estate of François Lamarre and the City of Longueuil, Que., on Montreal's south shore.

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The court filing alleges Lamarre sexually abused dozens or possibly hundreds of children over a 30-year span, including when he worked as a minor hockey coach in the former city of Greenfield Park, Que., which has since been absorbed by Longueuil.

Pierre Boivin, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, says hundreds of victims suffered at the hands of Lamarre, who was arrested and charged with gross indecency, indecent exposure, sexual assault, sexual touching and invitation to sexual touching, involving four alleged male victims between the ages of nine and 16.

Already ill at the time of his arrest, Lamarre died in July 2020. He had retired from the Montreal police force in 1994. None of his alleged crimes were alleged to have occurred while he was on duty.

Boivin says the city has argued the only people who can sue are members of hockey teams coached by Lamarre, but the lawsuit includes alleged victims that lived in Lamarre's neighbourhood and never encountered him at the hockey rink.

The lead plaintiff in the case is a man who was allegedly abused by Lamarre in the 1970s, starting when he was a 10-year-old hockey player.

Boivin said in an interview he's happy the victims will be able to seek justice.

A trial date has not been set.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 7, 2021.

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