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A Quebec priest was sentenced Wednesday to three-and-a-half years in prison for committing sex acts on a dozen minors.

Jean Pilon, a priest with the Clercs de Saint-Viateur, had pleaded guilty to 12 of the 26 counts with which he was charged.

The 79-year-old priest pleaded guilty to counts involving gross indecency, but the charges involving sexual assault and indecent assault were dropped.

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Nine of his victims delivered impact statements to the court west of Montreal, stating their lives had been stolen and that they were still living with psychological and dependency issues.

Quebec court Judge Bertrand St-Arnaud praised the courage of the victimized men and women who testified and who helped bring the case to court.

Pilon was arrested in June 2020 at the Joliette, Que., residence of the Clercs de Saint-Viateur along with four other members of the religious congregation – all in their 80s – for alleged crimes that took place between 1961 and 1989.

The five had taught and supervised minors at various colleges across the province.

About 360 alleged victims are seeking damages against the religious order through a class-action lawsuit authorized by the Quebec Superior Court in April 2019.

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