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A Catholic priest has been banned by a Manitoba archdiocese from speaking publicly after accusing residential school survivors of lying about sexual abuse to get more money from court settlements, and after he joked about shooting those who wrote graffiti on churches, among other comments. The statements were made over weeks of services at St. Emile Roman Catholic Church in Winnipeg, and were included in videos on its Facebook page. During a July 10 mass Father Rhéal Forest — who was temporarily placed at St. Emile while the parish’s regular pastor, Father Gerry Sembrano, was on vacation — said residential school survivors lied about being sexually abused so they would receive more money during the settlement process with the federal government. “If they wanted extra money, from the money that was given to them, they had to lie sometimes — lie that they were abused sexually and, oop, another $50,000,” Forest said. “It’s kind of hard if you’re poor not to lie,” he continued, adding that all of the Indigenous people he knew during his 22 years working up north liked residential schools.

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