Wearing a floor-length brown robe, and a large crucifix around his neck, the leader of a Saint-Jovite-based cult turned himself into police yesterday and was arraigned on charges of sexually assaulting minors going back more than 30 years.
A Canada-wide arrest warrant was issued two weeks ago for Jean-Gaston Tremblay, the leader of the Apostles of Infinite Love.
Mr. Tremblay, 70, was also known as Father Jean Gregoire de la Trinite. His followers believed he was the real Roman Catholic pope, calling Mr. Tremblay Pope Gregory XVII.
His lawyer, Michel Massicotte, said yesterday that the frail, bearded man was in France visiting the cult's missions when police raided the cult's Saint-Jovite compound two weeks ago.
The Surete du Quebec searched the sprawling Laurentian monastery, looking for Mr. Tremblay and three other cult members in connection with allegations of sexual abuse dating from between 1965 to 1985.
Fifteen sect members have filed complaints with the SQ, which began an investigation into sexual and physical abuse at the monastery six years ago.