Quebec Government Widens Investigation Into Abuse Allegations At
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
December 1, 2003
MONTREAL, QUEBEC--Health Minister Philippe Couillard said Monday that new allegations of abuse at a Montreal institution housing people with mental disabilities would be investigated.
The sisters of a 51-year-old resident of St-Charles-Borromée Hospital said last week that they had audio tape recordings of hospital staff verbally abusing their sister. They claimed that the secretly-recorded tapes reveal that their sister was threatened and intimidated by orderlies several times.
Two days after the allegations came to light, Leon Lafleur, the hospital's general manager, was found dead of an apparent suicide. In a letter apparently written the day before his body was found, Lafleur accused government health officials, including Couillard, of failing to support him during the investigation.
As officials began investigating the allegations, more residents and their families came forward at the end of the week with their own stories of abuse and neglect at the facility.
"Other handicapped people are going through the same thing as my sister," said Lorraine, whose has asked that her last name be withheld to protect her sister's privacy. "Staying silent won't help or change anything. I know it's scary to speak out against this but people have to do it."