Two Quebec men charged with violating publication ban on identity of sex-crime victim

By The Canadian Press

Published 2:08 PST, Mon November 20, 2023

Quebec provincial police say two men have been charged for allegedly revealing the identity of a woman who was sexually assaulted by a former member of the legislature.

Sylvain Fortin, 61, and Stéphane Vigeant, 44, are alleged to have violated a court order by publishing the victim's name on social media during her attacker's trial.

The victim, Catherine Fournier, who is now the mayor of a Montreal suburb, had the publication ban lifted after her attacker was convicted in January, so she could speak publicly about her experience.

Fournier said in a written statement that a major factor in her decision to report the assault to police was her belief that her identity would be protected.

She says the fact two men have been charged sends the right message, but she laments how it took almost one year to bring the charges, adding that she wishes prosecutors would take publication bans more seriously.

Harold LeBel, a member of the legislature from 2014 to 2022 with the Parti Québécois, was sentenced to eight months in jail for sexually assaulting Fournier in 2017 at his condo in Rimouski, Que., about 320 kilometres northeast of Quebec City. 

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