LONGUEUIL, Que. — Police have arrested a pastor from suburban Montreal and his wife on charges that over a 45-year period they used corporal punishment on children and encouraged their followers to do the same.
Mario Monette and Carole Van Houtte, both aged 65, are scheduled to appear in court Friday.
They face 32 charges each, including assault with a weapon, assault causing bodily harm, threats, kidnapping and incitement to commit an indictable offence.
Longueuil police say their investigation began in February 2018 after two alleged victims complained about the couple’s actions.
The acts are alleged to have occurred between 1974 and 2019 on at least eight minors.
In addition to inflicting corporal punishment on children, the couple are alleged to have encouraged parents attending their church to punish their own children. The suspects exercised significant psychological control over certain members of the church, police said.
Monette is the pastor of the South Metropolitan Bible Baptist Church, located in the St-Hubert borough of Longueuil. On its website, the church is described as an “independent, fundamental, soul-winning church.”