The Frères du Sacré-Coeur has agreed to pay $60 million in damages to dozens of victims of sexual abuse at the hands of its members in connection with two class-action lawsuits.
The lawyer representing the victims says the settlement — reached Tuesday after a negotiation process — is a historic amount.
In a statement, the religious congregation extended an apology to the victims and asked for their forgiveness.
"To all the victims, the order apologizes for the abuses which have been carried out by religious educators," said Donald Bouchard, provincial superior of the Frères du Sacré-Coeur.
"We wish and hope that the victims can close a painful chapter in their lives, knowing that nothing can ever erase the wrongs that have been done to you," he added.
The first lawsuit, launched in 2016 and authorized a year later, alleged sexual assault at the former Catholic boarding school Mont-Sacré-Coeur College in Granby, Que., between 1940 and 1980.
More than 30 people came forward claiming they were abused at the school between those years.
In 2019, a second lawsuit against the Frères du Sacré-Coeur was authorized on behalf of all Quebecers who claimed to have been sexually assaulted by members of the Catholic missionary order for decades across 26 institutions in the province.
More than 200 people signed on, describing abuse that spanned over a period of more than 75 years.
Victims who experienced sexual abuse by members of the order who have not yet signed on to the class-action suit can still do so by contacting the Kugler Kandestin law firm.