The former UQAM professor guilty of showing off in front of young girls for months implored the judge to grant him clemency on Thursday, obviously in the hope of avoiding a criminal record.
“I would never have touched the victims, I didn’t want to scare them, I know I wouldn’t do that again. I had to get a slap on the face, I received it, ”testified Benoît St-Onge, Thursday at the Montreal courthouse.
St-Onge, 56, was a geography professor at UQAM when he attacked girls aged 12 to 14 in 2018 and 2019.
Riding his bike on his way to work, he sometimes passed the Pensionnat du Saint-Nom-de-Marie in Outremont. And on occasion, he took the opportunity to take out his cock and show off in front of the young students.
He was arrested and last June, after pleading guilty to indecent acts and exhibitionism. He resigned from his post, he told the court.
Except that despite his crime, he hinted that he will ask for absolution, which would save him a criminal record.
To do this, an eligible accused must prove their “best interest” in obtaining it, and prove that it is not against the public interest. And Thursday, St-Onge spoke at length about his work as a researcher, as well as the volunteering he began after his arrest.
“I think I made contributions to science. I hope to find a way to continue to serve society, ”he said.
His wife, present at the court, for her part praised St-Onge.
“I can’t believe he’s going to be labeled a delinquent for that, that we’re being tried on this,” she said. We cannot summarize Benoît with these gestures. It was hard, I didn’t wish it on anyone, even the journalists who smeared the image of my husband without knowing him. “
But even though St-Onge prides himself on having undergone 40 therapies since his arrest, he still seems unable to say why he specifically targeted schoolgirls, especially since he swears he was acting not for a sexual purpose. , but for the “adrenaline” at a time when her son was having trouble.
This adrenaline however came at a cost for the boarding school, which had to mobilize significant resources to support the students against St-Onge, which raged for a year.
In a letter to the court, the school principal also affirmed that the crimes of St-Onge had a significant impact on the students by creating a climate of fear among the girls and the parents. Some were even afraid to leave their homes, even on weekends.
St-Onge will return to court next week for further sentencing.