Quebec man, 93, guilty of assaulting daughters 50 years ago
Last Updated: Tuesday, September 9, 2008 | 6:27 PM ET
An elderly Quebec man has been found guilty of sexually assaulting and beating his two daughters nearly 50 years ago.
Philippe Hamelin, 93, who is deaf and almost blind, was convicted in Montreal on Tuesday of the five charges against him, including incest, sexual molestation and assault causing bodily harm.
He arrived at the Montreal courthouse with a walker, wearing a tag indicating he's visually impaired, and wearing a large cross.
Despite the conviction, Philippe Hamelin proclaimed his innocence and said he never harmed his daughters, but said he was guilty of the crime of bringing the girls into the world.
The abuse took place in Montreal and Granby, in the Eastern Townships, between 1956 and 1963.
Daughters sworn to silence about abuse: testimony
Marcelle and Michèle Hamelin, now 62 and 63 respectively, were children entering their teenage years when the acts were committed.
Publication bans on their identities were lifted Tuesday at their own request.
His daughters testified about their religious upbringing, which included grace before meals and beatings if they didn't finish their food.
If they were caught dancing, they ran the risk of getting kicked, they told the court.
The two women testified their father would come to their beds at night and sexually assault them, then swear them to silence, warning they'd be sent to an orphanage if anyone found out.
Their mother knew what was going on and did nothing to stop her husband, the women said.
Daughter wants other abuse victims to denounce attackers
Marcelle Hamelin says she filed a complaint against her father in 2004, as she battled alcoholism and depression and after he said he felt no remorse for his actions.
She said she hopes other victims of sexual abuse will come forward, no matter what links may exist between them and their attacker.
"All I can hope to tell women who are victims of abuse is to denounce ... and liberate yourself, no matter who it is, even if it is your father," she told reporters gathered outside the courtroom.
"Your father is supposed to be the most important person in your life and mine was a monster."
In his ruling, Quebec court Judge André Perreault said the evidence against Hamelin was strong enough to find him guilty.
Marcelle Hamelin said she was pleased with the verdict but doesn't expect her father to serve any jail time, just to stay away from children.
She said he lives in a seniors' residence where he plays Santa Claus every Christmas and visiting children sit on his lap, a ritual she'd like to see end.
There was no immediate word on a sentence for Hamelin.
With files from the Canadian Press
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