Assault trial told boy feared poisoning

Journal-Pioneer/September 21, 2002
By Andy Walker

Charlottetown -- A youngster who lived at a religious commune in rural Queens County feared his older brother had been poisoned by the group's leader.

The youngster testified Friday at the trial of 78-year-old Lucille Poulin, the former nun who controlled every facet of life at the commune.

She is charged with assaulting five children, aged seven through 12 years, between October of 1999 and July of 2001, when the children were seized by RCMP and Child and Family Services.

The youngster, who is now 14, told Mr. Justice David Jenkins Friday his brother began to challenge Poulin's authority. He died in December of 1999 and several witnesses have testified through the first week of the trial the beatings at the commune became more severe following the death.

The youngster said it was his belief Poulin poisoned his brother. He said Poulin always had rat poison around, and since she prepared all the meals, the youngster said she could have added it any time.

In fact, both the boy and his sister (now aged 11) are convinced that happened. The girl said she witnessed Poulin add something to the soup one day and the former nun hid the bottle when the girl asked her about it.

Her brother told the court all of the children in the compound got sick after eating the soup. The oldest boy later died in a Halifax, N.S., hospital after Poulin refused to allow him to have a blood transfusion.

The 14-year-old boy said he was scared following that incident and he eventually was thrown out of the commune when he was caught calling an older sibling in Alberta on a homemade phone.

Poulin and the commune members put the boy on a bus and sent him to Alberta. The boy is now living with a foster family.

The boy dismissed a suggestion from defence lawyer Zia Chisti that he was sent to Alberta because he was a "problem child" who was out of control. The sister told the court she escaped from the commune last year with the help of older siblings who came from out-of-province to rescue her. The mother of the children remains at the compound.

The trial will continue Monday; next week will see three other children testify before the defence begins its case. The proceeding are expected to last at least until Friday.

To see more documents/articles regarding this group/organization/subject click here.