Former Tecumseh Priest Found Guilty Of Theft

Former Tecumseh priest Robert Couture leaves court after jury finds him guilty of theft over $5000, December 10, 2015. (Photo by Maureen Revait)

A jury has found former Tecumseh priest Robert Couture guilty of theft over $5,000.

The jury deliberated for less than 12 hours going over evidence presented by the crown that showed up to $230,000 was missing from Ste. Anne’s Parish.

Assistant Crown Attorney Tom Meehan says he is not surprised by the decision based on the evidence presented in the case.

“He’s a human being who was charged with doing this and the jury found that he did it. It’s difficult because he’s someone that, as a priest, is held in high esteem by the community so that might be an additional challenge, but the facts always speak for themselves,” says Meehan.

Couture could face up to ten years in prison, but Meehan says the crown has not decided what they will be asking for during sentencing.

“Your place in the community is partly why you got away with this, so I think that goes both ways. I think it’s something for and against him that he held this position because he said that the priest was like the CEO, well if he hadn’t been CEO and been trusted he wouldn’t have been able to do this,” says Meehan.

A sentencing trial will be set on February 5, 2016. Couture remains out on bail until that time.

“He’s very disappointed, it’s definitely a seriously matter for him. It’s life altering because he loves to teach and he loved what he did with the church, so all those things will probably change, but that’s what happens when you have a result like this,” says defense lawyer Patrick Ducharme.

Ducharme says Couture maintains his innocence.