Savage Messiah (2002) - full transcript

Based on real-life events in Canada in the late 1980's, social worker Paula Jackson investigated a commune run by a messiah-like figure who referred to himself as Moses. Jackson's findings uncovered disturbing mental and physical abuses of this cult's members by its maniacal leader. Soon, Jackson found herself fighting to save Moses's followers.

Hey, hey, how are
you doing, gentlemen?

Isn't it a great
day to be alive?

Hey, I betcha every
day looks good to you,

Roch, with all them beauties.

Baking bread, no less.

Oh, listen, my
friend, you come down

with a grader some day,
you know, do a little road work,

this and that.

And I promise you,
I'll give you a fair exchange.

Ask Rod over there,
he'll tell you.

You know, he brings
a load of gravel.

I supply him labor
for his fencing.

I tell ya, bartering, eh?

It's the way of the future.

All good things, organic,
very delicious, sir.

Me, I bet you can charge double
what I ask from you.

You with that bunch living out
in the bush by Church River.

Yeah, yeah, oh, we're working very
hard to make a paradise.

You should come
and visit sometime.

There's nothing funny
in the bread, is there?


Yeah, you know,
dope or something.

Oh, my god, no, never.

So sorry... sorry,
I didn't mean...


Sure, hey, I'll take
what you've got.

And if they sell, we
can work something out

on a regular basis.

Thank you, sir.

Oh, thank you.

So when did you bake these?

At 3 o'clock this morning.

There's two dozens here.

3 o'clock?

Yeah, in the morning.

That's when we wake
up to make bread.


Two dozens,
and it's $4 per dozen.

And these bread
here are $0.50 each.

They're really, really good.

Thank you very much.

Thank you so much.

Morning, Paula, can I get you anything?

Just a coffee today, thanks.

One rooster to a hen house, ah.

It's plenty.

I've got a few chickens
here and there myself.

We put them in the
same house together,

I figure they'd peck
me to death in no time.

Yeah, right.

Hey, blue eyes, blue eyes,
smoking is very bad.

You know, I used to run
the clinic to help people quit.

I had a big success rate.

It's going to kill you.

Well, we're all
going to die one day.

No, no, no, no, no, not me.

I'm never going to die.

I just want my kids back, OK.

I know... I know I'm
not good for much,

but I can take care of
my own fucking kids.

This is crazy.

Can I bum a smoke?


And Ginger, she's
the sweetest baby ever.

Hug me, mom, harder.

Come on.

Fuck off, you fuck off.

Your children will
be returned to you

when you stop using drugs.

But I did.

I quit.

I've been rehabbing,
12-stepping, fucked

over a thousand times.

Just give me a chance.

It's not for you to say, Irene.

A blood test once a
week for six months.

If you're clean, you get
your kids back, simple.

You know, I've to go.

No, no!

No, no, I'm not going
without my kids!

Give them back this minute!


No, no!

Let go of me.

I'm not going.

No, I'm not going
without my kids.

Let's go outside.

Let me go!

Get out!


They'll take your kids!

It's going to be OK.

It's going to be OK.

Suzette, Lise, my
colleague Paula Jackson.


Paula here is
from Children's Aid.

These are the last in
a long line of women

from the commune
out at Church River

to come in asking
for assistance.

I have explained again and
again ad nauseum that Toronto has

designated them an
institution, and thus they are not

eligible for welfare benefits.

Is it because we're French?

Good God, no, it's
because you call

yourselves a bloody church.

Madame, winter is coming.

Children need boots,
warm clothes, food.

How many kids are there
out there now anyway?

17 children.

We're nine women and two men.

Well, two men besides Roch.

We have a contingency
fund for emergencies.

But it's a one-time
only proposition.

We only get involved
on an ongoing basis

if you abuse your children.

It's an upside down
world all right.

I'm sorry.

Don't worry.

God will provide.



Hey, hey, hey, hey,
welcome, my friends.

Welcome, welcome to
our humble domain.

Say, Roch, I hope you think...

Or you folks don't mind
us barging in like this.

We brought up some blankets and
some canned goods, so, uh...

We've got a few bags
of clothing for the children,

snowsuits, some mitts.

You know, winter's coming, eh.

All highly unofficially
but, hey, wanted to help

you out however we could.

No, no, no, it's a pleasure.

It's a pleasure.

You know, we're not
that foolish that we

would look a gift horse
in the mouth, even

an English gift horse.

You know, we were starting
to think that maybe, you know, you

people, you turned your
back on us because we're

ignorant French-Canadians.

Oh, that's ridiculous.

Why would you
think such a thing?

Where is the check?

I'm just joking
with you, Blue Eyes.

Everybody knows money is shit.

The best things
in life are free.

Oh, I want to show you
the school room, nice school room.

Come, come with me.

Tomato, potato,
tomatoes, potatoes.


See, the schoolhouse is
one of the first things

we built. Hey, we may
be savages who live in the bush,

but education is
very important to us.

And here is Marie-Claude.

Come, come, come.

Marie-Claude has a
very, very special

gift for teaching children.

She worked for a long time in
a kindergarten in Quebec.

And there is Alinne...

She's my daughter
from Marie-Claude.

Will you show our
guests into the house?

- OK.
- OK.


Well, let's eat.

This looks fabulous,
quite the feast.

Thank you.

You're welcome, my friend.

Oh, this is my wife, Suzette.

She's been all over the world.

She's a professional
nurse, invaluable to us.

Please, please, my
darlings, please, please, sit.

Sit, my sweets, come, come.

I want to introduce
you properly.

These are my concubines.

What about Alphonse and Danny?

Well, Danny is with Jeanette,

and Alphonse over here,
he's married to Marie-Claude.

But, um, Jeanette
and Marie-Claude

are still your concubines?

Well, yes, why not?

You can't get too much love, eh?

We came here to create a
new world, to make it our own.

We work hard, yes, but
we work with our hands,

and we create beautiful things.

We love God and, of
course, we love one another.

It is a Garden of Eden,
not at all an institution, eh.

Marie, Marie, come see Papa.

Come, come here.

I want to show you my babies.

Marie, Marc, Jacques.

Jacques, go get my guitar.

These are my babies.

They are the love of my
life, the eyes of my soul.

Give me that, give me that.

You have any
children, Blue Eyes.


You married?

Not anymore.

Oh, how long have
you been divorced?

Not long enough.

Listen to this.

I'm sure you never
heard this one before.

What are they trying to say? What is it?

What does it mean?

Guys going off to war.

Uh, both of you are
under arrest for attempted singing.

It was really bad.

Oh, look, we went out
to the commune today

doing all good works, and
Terry will start singing that song.

Come on, Paula, the
guy's pretty good.

I mean, at least he
didn't start singing

"Michael Row the Boat Ashore."

He makes my skin crawl.

Oh, she's full of shit.

If half our clients was
half as industrious,

we'd have half the workload.

I mean, maybe they've
got the answer.

Maybe they will make
it a better world, huh?

How come it gives
you the creeps?

I don't know.

It's the whole set-up.

It sort of reminds
me of the Waltons.

Yeah, that's...
That's creepy, Paula.

Look, the Waltons is TV.

But I see something that
plays like TV in real life, it's...

It's... it's bullshit.

Shut up, shut up, you, run.



You OK?

Yes, um, daydreaming.

One of the babies out
of the commune has died.


I thought since you've
already been out there,

you might go out again,
talk to the mother,

see how she's doing.

The coroner's done an
autopsy already, crib death apparently.

Lise, how are you?

I heard about the baby.

Who's the mother?

I just want to see
that she's all right.

Uh, um, me, I don't know.

You don't know
who the mother is?

I must ask Moses.

Moses, what are
you talking about?

Who's Moses?

Roch, Roch is Moses.

Lise, I just want
to talk to her.

This way.

Danielle, this is a
worker from the government.

She wants to talk with you.

Me, I'll take care of it, OK.

I'm so sorry, Danielle.

What happened?

Can you tell me what happened?

It's all for the best, Madame.

Guillaume is with God now.

Yes, yes, of course, he is.

It didn't seem so cold
when we put him outside.

You put Guillaume outside?

He was crying and crying.

And he would not
stop, not even when

Moses tell him to be quiet.

We are mourning the death of
our dear baby, Guillaume.

It's not a good time
for you to call.

Take her to the house.

Mourning his death by making his
mother scrub the floor, hm?

Sometimes work is
the best medicine.

You know, you have to look
to the future and let the past go.

You get the fuck off
my land right now.

I can repeat myself till I'm blue
in the face, Mrs. Jackson,

but my findings won't change.

That baby died of
SIDS, crib death.

There's not a shred
of doubt in my mind.

Yes, but in light of
what the mother told me,

maybe you'll want to reconsider.

Were there any signs
of hypothermia, for instance,

that you might have overlooked?

Are you questioning
my expertise?

No, of course not.

I was only...

I have a lot ahead
of me today, please.

Good day.

Pompous old fart.

Crib death, yes,
of course, that's

what happens when you put a
crib outside in freezing weather.

That's hearsay.

Well, it's hearsay from the
horse's mouth, Gayle.

What more do we need?

We need a horse who
would say it in court.

God, I'm sorry to
be such a nuisance.

I was really afraid,
you know, of Roch.

Such malevolence.

And the worst thing
was, I knew in my bones

that none of the others
would help me, no matter what.

The thing is you can't
help them either, Paula,

not until they want it.

Excuse me.

Hi, Gayle.

Quebec police have a
file on him a mile long.

Roch Theriault,
also known as Moses,

lived in relative
isolation in the Gaspe

with a band of
dedicated followers,

nine women and two men,
ranging in age from 25 to 34.

Five of those women had
born children while in Quebec.

After one of the infants,
a boy, had died of a beating,

questions were raised
about Roch's role in his death,

and he served 18 months
in jail for criminal negligence.

After which, he was
released on probation.

At this time, he
and his followers

disappeared into thin air.

Thin air, being Church River.

He broke the conditions
of his probation, Vern.

Can we pick him up on that?

Not a chance.

Quebec's a different

They don't seem to
be interested in him anymore.

They're probably
glad to get rid of him.

But now that we
have this information,

surely we have the right
Togo out there and investigate.

Not without a complaint.

Or evidence of some kind,
a doctor or teacher,

anyone who witnessed anything.

Well, they don't
see a doctor on this.

They're dead apparently, and
the teacher is part of the commune.

But they have neighbors,
huh, don't they?

Hi, how are you?

Pretty good.

I'm Paula Jackson
from Children's Aid.

I'm just doing a little background
check on the people

over at the commune.

Have you noticed
anything peculiar, anything disturbing

about the kids?

Piss off, all right.

So you want to know how
things sit with me and those freaks,


Well, I'm particularly interested
in the children,

of course. Have you seen much of them?

Do you have any thoughts about...

Rod, that's my husband.

He's something of a
big shot around here.

Only lumber mill worth its
weight in gold for 100

miles, big shot, busy man.

Of course, any free
time, and he's hauling

wood to the commune for free.

Why would he do that then?

I mean, haul lumber
up there for free?

For all the French
pussy that's on offer.

That's why, lady.

And don't be thinking that
my old man is the only bastard

sniffing around up there.

Roch's got them all
coming and going.

Anything he wants for
services rendered.

And the kids, anything?

Kids, who needs 'em.

Fought the first war, I want no
income tax, no passports,


A man could come and
go as he pleases.

Yes, he must have
been wonderful.

But do you have
any thoughts about the people

over at the commune?

Ah, no government
handouts for welfare bums.

No government
interference either.

Eh, a man worked hard,
by his wits,

no how, looked after his
own like God intended.

Oh, you should quit with them, little lady.

You should spend some
time up in the commune.

I had that ignorant
habit for 52 years and Roch,

he got me to quit, yes, sir.

Yes, but do you have
any insight into the goings

on at the commune?

You come up to the house
when I'm done here, I'll show you.

I got lots of reading material.

I know who's behind this mess.

It's the international
and the multi-nationals,

and the Jews with their banks.

Senior men's hockey
is coming to town, OK.

I mean, this is big,
lots of excitement.

I mean, these guys
had actually... they'd

been something in their day.

We're talking N-H-L, all right.

Now Bruce and me'd been
separated for what,

like about...

I don't know... two
years at this point.

I mean, I was so horny.

I'd find myself fondling
the cucumbers at Shop Easy, OK.

So the game is a
one-up kind of thing.

And I say to myself, I am going
to get me one of them big

strapping hockey
players, you know,

the kind who knows a thing or
two, you know what I mean,


So I get myself all
dolled up, right.

I'm looking real good.

I go to this stupid game.

I get invited back to
the bar and the party.

And suddenly I'm getting down
and serious... you know,

not too serious.

You don't want to
scare them off...

With Mr. Big, OK.

The guy has shoulders
out to here.

His forearm is the
size of my thigh.

So he buys me a drink,
buys me a fucking rose.

So I take him home.

The girls are at my
sisters for the night.

You know, you've got
to plan these things.

So we have another drink,
start to dance, a little necking.

The next thing you
know, we're tearing

each other's clothes off.

We get buck naked.

The guy's dick...

I kid you not...

His dick is this big.

Anybody home?

What did you do?

What are you going to do?

You don't laugh at
a guy's dick, never.

I fucked him and pretended it
was the lay of a lifetime.

And then I went back to
the produce department.

To big dicks.

Ooh, yeah.

So, Paula, you've
been out to the commune.

What's your guess?

Roch got a big dick.

I've seen it.

- You devil.
- No.

Full of surprises.

It's not what you think, Lana.

Wayne and I went down there,
and he was waving it around.

I was too embarrassed
to really look.

I'm sorry.

I wouldn't care anyway
if it was a foot long.

I think he's a pumped up moron.

Hey, Blue Eyes,
how are you doing?

You know what?

I hear you've been
asking all around about me.

I've got to tell you, Blue
Eyes, there's always

space in my heart for one more.

I could bring you back to life.

Oh, come on, give us
a smile, or give us a dance.

They're playing our song.

You see, she's
very sweet, but she

breaks my heart all the time.

Would you ladies
mind if I should

sit with you for a minute?

No, not at all.

Thank you very much.

Can we get another
glass over here?

Whoa, ladies curling,
you ladies celebrating tonight?

Win or lose, we
always celebrate.

That's good.

I like that.

Celebrate life, no matter what.

You know you have a
very beautiful face.

No, really, it's very strong.

You have a lot of strength.

You must take care of a
lot of people, but you're lonely.

You're carrying too
much weight on your shoulders.

How do you know that?

It's in your eyes, Miss.

It's in your eyes.

Excuse me.

Well, what's the
matter, Darling.

You seem to be in terrible pain.

You got that right, buddy.

You know what?

I can help you.


You going to do
my shift tonight?

Well, no, no, really,
really, I can help you.

People say I have a
gift with my hands.

Can I try?

I mean, you have nothing
to lose, like humor me,

indulge me.

I'll just try, two minutes.

All right.


I have to get my
hands warm first.

Now I have to put my
hands directly on your skin.

Is that all right?

Show me the pain, where it is.


Just relax.

It's OK.

Good, just breathe.

Relax, it's OK.

Now look at me,
look into my eyes.

Give me your pain.

Give it to me.

I'm open.

Give it to me.

Give me your pain.

Give it to me now.

It's gone.

The pain is gone.


Isn't that great?

Tonight, all your
drinks are on me, OK?

That's good.

I like that.
That's a good idea.

He doesn't look
like a moron to me.

Looks aren't everything.

You stupid fucking bitch.

See, I think that
we all have a gift.

And our job in life
is fairly simple.

It is just to try and become
what we already are

and to share that
gift with others.

Anyway, that's what I think.

Hey, Blue eyes, how
come you left your home

to come and live so far away?

Not because I was breaking the
conditions of my parole.

To remember me by.

It's big.



Ma'am, you OK?

Oh, man.

Ma'am, it's all right.

We're here to help you.

It's OK.

You're OK.

Take a deep breath.

Who did this to you?


I told them already,
nobody did this.

I was lost in the bush.

It must be I fell and
cut myself like that.

Sometimes when you
love somebody and they hurt you,

it just seems like
part of the deal.

But it isn't.

Love isn't about being
hurt or hurting someone else.

How many children do you
have, Lise, out at the commune?

Baby Maria, Yvonne, and Marc.

Well, maybe you don't
care about yourself.

But how do you
imagine they must feel

to see their mother so hurt?

What effect do you think that's
going to have on them

their whole lives?
- I don't know.

I don't know what to think.

Well, the hospital is going to
discharge you later today.

There's a place at
the women's shelter

for you to stay, to recuperate.

Do you understand?


Will you go there?

You need to sleep, some
good food, time to heal, to think.

Will you go?

Yes, I'll go.

Thank you.

It was Moses who did
this to you, wasn't it?


Moses is a good man.

Don't say such a thing.

I'll see you tomorrow.

There you go.

Lise, I can't understand.

You're a beautiful
and bright woman.

You don't deserve to
be treated so badly.

I mean, he keeps you
a virtual prisoner out there.

No, we are not prisoners.

We can go any time.

Marie-Claude left a week
past to her parents in St. Felicien.

Good, I'm glad to hear that.

But you understand, Lise,
it's not right for one man

to control and manipulate.

Roch is not a man.

He's the prophet Moses.

No, he's... he's just a man.


How did they find you?

They are my family.

They will always find me.

Lise, Lise, what's her last name,
Marie-Claude's last name?


So what I need from
you is permission

to drive up there
and meet with her

and find out what
she's got to say.

- No.
- What do you mean, no?

No means no around here.

Is there some ambivalence
about the word where you come from?

No, I do not give you permission
to go traipsing about

in Quebec, outside
our jurisdiction,

to find somebody who
is unlikely to talk to you anyway.

We have got cases up
our yin-yang, Paula,

not enough hours in the day,
not near enough money

to do our job properly.

Roch's harem isn't
even a fucking case.

Where's your head?

Did you see the photographs of
that woman's back?

I have seen hundreds
of photographs,

hundreds in the flesh.

I don't think that
there's an atrocity that you

could name that I haven't seen.

And what's more, I've managed
to keep my professional wits

about me all these years.

You're too involved, Paula.

You're going to get hurt,
and you're going to hurt the people

that you most want to help.

Think about it.


Perhaps you're
unaware of the fact

that I've not taken any
leave from this job for 22 months.

This is in flagrant
disregard of my rights

as a member of the
public sector service union.

So I'm taking one week
of the six owed me,

and I'm taking it out.

Then fuck off, you
pretentious English...

Oh, fuck off, yourself,
you ignorant bohunk.


Fuck off, then, and good luck.

They were a sight for
sore eyes when they'd come in.

The seven-year-old, he
just crawled around on all fours,

made noises like an animal.

My granddaughter, she didn't
even know how to eat,


I'd like to kill that bastard.

Hello, Marie-Claude.

I'm Paula.

Do you remember me?

She was very badly beaten,
whipped by the looks of it.

And there were old
scars as well as new.

Do you remember such
beatings taking place?

What do you want from me?

I want you to come forward and
tell me and tell the police

what you saw at the commune.

I want you go to court
and tell the judge,

tell the truth about
Roch and what he did to you

and what he continues
to do to the others.

No, I can't do that.

That would be the end of me.

What are you afraid
of, Marie-Claude?

You're safe.

Your children are safe.

My children are not safe.

Alinne, my daughter,
is still there.

Oh, I'm sorry.

I didn't know.
- Didn't know.

I can get her out.


You have to press
charges against Roch.

I'm afraid it's too late.

She's almost dead.

Do you understand
me, Marie-Claude.

I can get her out.

I can get them all
out, but you'll

have to testify in court.


OK, I'll do it.

I don't care.

If I don't get her out,
that will be the end of her.

Roch's children were
the privileged ones.

The others fathered by Danny and
Alphonse were the slaves.

Roch is like god, you see.

The slaves, they had to
do whatever the others tell them.

Suzette wanted to run away,
but Lynne and Magdalene told Roch,

so Roch gave them
some of his beer,

and he made love with
them in the kitchen.

And he asked them to
beat Suzette with the chairs.

And would the children be there

when he made love to the
women in the kitchen,

when he beat Suzette?

Yes, of course, the children
were always there

so they couldn't leave.

And was there anybody else,
Marie-Claude, who wanted

to leave and was punished?

Almost everyone at
one time or another.

One time, Lise, she was making plans

to go to her grandparents.

She didn't tell
anyone except Marc.

He's her oldest.

He's only seven.

So Marc went right away
to Roch to tell him.

Marc, I want you to stand
in front of your mother.

Now your mother's been bad.

And you know what
we do to bad people.

I want you to punish
your mother now.





I'm so afraid.

If I see him again,
he will pull me back.

He's so strong.

He knows everything.

Where are we going, Mama?

Now this is very important.

You can keep your
children with you if you

agree to leave the commune.

Do you understand
what I'm saying?

As long as you agree
to have nothing more

to do with Mr. Theriault, we will not take

the children away from you.

Lise, what are you thinking?


Suzette Gillman,
Jacques, nine, Silvie, eight,

Fredrick, seven, Martin, two.

Suzette, you know you
can keep them with you.

What are you thinking?

I'm thinking you have a
worm's eye view, Madame.

For us, the picture
is much bigger.

Moses shows us the way
to God, to our higher selves,

if you like.

You and the others,
the bureaucracies

and the governments,
are blinkered

by your own fear of life.
That's what I'm thinking.


Leah, four years old,
Emily, seven years old.

Take my children away from me?

Mother fucker!

Damn you!

Damn you.


Mr. Theriault,
I'm Rene Juneau.

These are my colleagues,
Colette Plamondon.

Very nice to meet you.

Marcelle Martin.

Well, Mrs. Jackson has
shown us the way here.

But we are
independent assessors,

and we have nothing to
do with Children's Aid.

We're here at the demand
of the court in in order

to evaluate the situation.

Yes, yes, of course,
I know, I know.

I understand.

Please, meet everyone.

Come, come, come.

Let's go in.

Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Yeah, bravo, bravo, my friend.

Hey, tonight we will feast
on your labors, eh.

Hey, looks like it.

Oh, it's a nice one.

This is how God intended
a man to live, to fish, to hunt,

to grow your own food, to
be close to nature, respected

by our women and
our children, free,

not like a slave to a
machine of bureaucracy,

petty office politics, eh?



You know, like the English,
they're not bad people.

But a lot of the time
they treat us like shit, no?

They're prejudiced.

They make us out to be
stupid, simple-minded.

Yes, yes, my grandmother,
she had to work for Anglos.

Yeah, yeah, you see, and
it's not really different today.

They don't understand
our language.

So they can't be bothered
trying to understand who we are, you

know, what we dream of,
how we want to change

the world for the better.

It's a damn shame, you know.

People can't make a go of
it without two paychecks anymore.

And even so, the government takes
half of it in taxes, no?

You see, I think and God thinks
that the job of a woman

is to take care of her children,
take care of a man.

Nobody's got a
proper life anymore.

There's no time.

Everybody's tired.

See, we live in an age where
to be a good citizen,

we have to give up our
rights, not like in the '60s, eh.

Oh, my, those were
the days, for sure.

Paris, '68, my sister
and I lived in a commune

just outside.

Nearly 200 people,
everything was possible.

Everything was allowed.

Yes, exactly as God intended.

See, you're very
lucky, Marcelle.

Most people, you know,
they're afraid of what's most natural.

Ashamed of their bodies,
ashamed of their thoughts even.

Yet, nature herself is
sexual, the life force,

Marcelle, the life force.

Those government workers,
you know, they're like eunuchs.

They're afraid of what they've
never experienced.

They think I'm a bad man,
that I'm a monster because I

make love to so many women.

But I love my wives.

I don't lie to them.

I have the deepest respect,
the deepest affection for them.

You know, not like
those upstanding men,

you know, with the ties.

And they have one
wife but plenty of mistresses.

I have to hand it to you,
Roch, you're not a hypocrite.

What is it...
What's it all about?

Ross Johnson, assistant
therewith the deputy minister's

office in Toronto.

This has just come in
from the independent assessors.

They are unanimous
in their report.

They find that the
children should

be returned to Roch and their
mothers without delay.

Are they all mad?

All right, everybody, please.

I'm sorry.

I mean to cast no aspersions
on the court-appointed assessors,

but I am surprised
by their findings, that's all.

Paula Jackson is the head
of our Children's Aid division.


There's something else.

Would you mind repeating
what you told me?


We have decided not to
proceed with the judicial hearing.

The children shall
be returned to their parents.

I beg your pardon.

What did you say?

Mrs. Jackson, never
has a judge overturned

a unanimous report from
an independent assessment team

in this province ever.

To proceed would be
a waste of taxpayers' money.

As a matter of curiosity, have you
watched any of the 30-some

odd hours of videotape
that we've compiled of the children

currently in care, or read
the transcripts to Marie-Claude

Gauthier's testimony?

What would be the point?

Well, the point would
be that our findings

contradict the assessor's unanimous report.

Our unanimous findings are
that the children from the Church

River commune were...
Are victims of systematic physical

and mental and sexual abuse.

The point would
be that in washing

your hands of this
particular case,

you would, in fact, be throwing
innocent children back

into the jaws of hell.

And I'm not being
overly dramatic.

Mrs. Jackson.

Just one more point to
make, sir, Mr. Johnson, isn't it?


Should these children
be returned to Roch Theriault

and his followers, I guarantee that
the abuse will continue

and will eventually come
to light in the press

and in the courts.

And I will see to it
personally that blame is laid where

it most belongs, on
the government, on the department,

on the minister, and
you, both of you.


Mrs. Jackson, you've
made a very strong case.

Therefore, the hearing
will go forward.

The slaves, they had to
do whatever the others tell them.

Many times, they didn't
get enough to eat.

Sometimes when he was drinking,
he was taking two of the babies

by the legs and holding
them over the fire.

The mothers, me, I was one,
wept and begged him for mercy.

Did he ever drop a baby in
the fire, Mrs. Gauthier?


When a baby cried too much, he...

He would take them by the
feet and throw them in the snowbank.

All the babies, they
learned real fast not to cry.

Please go on.

Sometimes he was
crucify the children

by hanging them in the bush
with nails through their clothes.

Then he would call everyone
to come and throw stones to them

until they're dead.

And did he ever follow through?

No, nobody ever got
killed, like he said.

Thank you.

Over this past week, I have,
of course, read the report

of the independent assessors.

I have also read the
written testimony

of the foster parents of
those children currently in care.

And I have watched many,
many hours of videotape

of the children in question,
compiled by the Children's

Aid workers in this district.

Have you by any chance
watched these tapes yourselves?

No, your Honor.

We'll give you a taste.

No, no, no!






No, no!

I don't understand, Marie.

Why is it that you
and Richard have

such wonderful manners,
and your brother

Leon won't even sit at
the table for lunch.

Leon is a slave.

Why is that?

Why is he a slave, and
you and Richard aren't?

Moses isn't his Poppy.

You just tell us in your own
words what went on.

You're a very bright,
well-spoken girl.

Sometimes the
adults, they'd dance

in a big circle with
their pants off around a fire.

Next, us kids would
join in the dancing.

Then, a whole bunch of adults,
they'd like naked on the ground

and touch each other.

What about you kids, Alinne?

Did the adults ever
touch you in funny ways?

Or did they ever want
you to touch them?

Poppy likes me to
pull on his penis.

Everybody's doing
it, including mom.

Mom and me would take turns.

And when white stuff
came out, Poppy would get up.

But Poppy likes the
really little kids

to play with his penis.

He thinks I'm too old now.

He's ready.

It's time.

It is extremely
rare for the court

to find against the
unanimous recommendation

of an independent
assessment team

that the court has
itself appointed.

In this case, however,
the court finds

the submission to be the
most deplorable it has ever seen.

Their findings are
both disconcerting and illogical.

The finding of the court is
clear and unequivocal.

Roch Theriault is a
calculating dictator,

who has taken over the
lives of his followers

and controls them like sheep.

There is no doubt in my
mind that the children, should they

be returned, run a
substantial risk of being

sexually molested or exploited.

And I hereby order
that they be made

permanent wards of the
crown with no parental access.

The exception is
Alinne Gauthier,

who shall be returned to
her mother Marie-Claude

on condition that the
two accept any form of therapy

or psychiatric care that might be
recommended by the CAS.

Furthermore, any future children born
to members of the commune

will be apprehended
at once and placed

into the permanent
wardship of the state.

This court is adjourned.

I just can't believe that you're
not going to proceed.

Look, can you try
to lighten up, please?

I mean, tonight we've
got a... we've got a real reason

to celebrate here.

Tomorrow's another day.

I'm such a bore.

I just, uh... I can't help thinking
that things are going

to get worse for
the women out there

now that the kids are gone.

I mean, there's over
100 documented offenses

that you could charge him with,
physical, sexual, mental abuse,

abandonment, neglect,
each one worse then the next.

Look, the guy should
be drawn and quartered,

as far as I'm concerned.

But that's not going to happen.

I mean, to charge
Theriault would

be nothing but a nightmare.

The only adult witness we've
got is Marie-Claude.

She's a complete basket case.

Want to drag those
kids through months of court dates

and contradictory evidence, huh?

I guarantee you,
the only upshot is

going to be increased
trauma for those kids

and nothing else, Paula.

Yeah, but it's not right.

It's not fair that Roch
should go unpunished.

Of course, it's not fair.

Life isn't fair.
- But?

What is it that you want?

I want the women...

I want the women
safe, too, dammit.

Leave it alone, Do you hear me?

Please drop it.

You can't help people that
won't help themselves.

But that's what we're
here for, isn't it?

Isn't it?

Hello, Lise.

Takes all of you with him
wherever he goes now.

I'm surprised you're not
shackled one to another.

Where's Suzette?


Oh, Suzette.

She's having a
little holiday with her parents.


What the fuck more do
you want from us, eh?


All of you, come here.


I want you to look at this.

She's the devil's bitch herself,
always looking for trouble,

always in heat, eh, Blue Eyes.

Get in the van now.

Get in the goddamn van.

Now, faster, shit.

Get in the van.

You stupid bitch.

Huh, you stupid bitch.

You stupid fucking
bitch, stupid bitch.

You'll be back.

You'll be back,
you stupid bitch.

You'll be back.

I'm sorry, Paula, I'm sorry.

I love you so much.

I'm sorry.

Please don't be frightened.

There's no one else, only me.

I just want to talk
to you as a woman.

Perhaps we could
have a cup of tea?

I'm here because I worry
about you, all of you.

I can't stop thinking about the
situation you're in here.

And... and I know
something about you all

that perhaps the others don't.

I know that when you met
Roch, each one of you separately,

you felt completely
in love with him

because he saw who
you really were.

He saw your loneliness
and longing,

your lack of direction,
your sorrow, anxiety.

He saw you, and he
loved you because of

and in spite of who you were.

He promised to cherish
you and protect you forever.

He promised to show you
the way with only one

small condition, that
you give yourself over to him


You surrender yourself to
his love, his vision, his genius.

And even only on, before
the physical violence,

he could look at you
with such cold contempt.

It was like a
knife in the heart,

always judging you for what
you wore, a contrary opinion,

the way you put butter
on the toast in the morning.

And so the fear
begins, doesn't it?

Fear that he'll stop loving you,
throw you out of the safety net

that he's wrapped you in.

Fear that makes you
walk on eggshells,

watching and listening
for the slightest hint

of disapproval or annoyance.

Always tense, afraid
that you're going

to say or do the wrong
thing at the wrong time.

And the first time he
actually hits you, oh, it's a relief.

And afterwards, he's so sorry,
and his declarations of love

are so sincere that, yes,
you love him more than ever.

Loving him is your life's work.

So it goes on.

The beatings get worse.

His odd sadistic
pleasures, he hurts

and manipulates your children,
and he turns them against you.

And he keeps you underfed
and underslept and overworked.

And some days, you don't
even know your own name.

Paula, how do you
know all these things?

Hm, I know because
I've been there.

I was married to
a man like Roch.

I was beaten senseless
more times than I can remember.

And through it all, I
still thought he loves me.

He really loves me, this I know.

And then, one day,
I understood, he didn't love me.

He didn't know me at all.

He was just in love
with my fear of him.

And without it, he
was nothing, no one.

And I realized then that
I'd rather be dead than spend

another second with him.

I wasn't afraid anymore.

I was free.

Speak of the devil.

You stupid bitch.

I should kill you.

You're trespassing
on my property,

trying to steal my things.

These aren't things, Roch.

They're human beings.

They're not things.

I will kill you.

And nobody's ever
going to find you.

Well, what's stopping you?

Go ahead.

Look, kitchen knives
over there, take your pick.

You see, I'm not afraid of him.

I'm not afraid, so
he can't hurt me.

He's not Moses.

He's not God.

He's just another
fucking asshole.

Please, get out now and
go, go, for us, please.

It looks bad.

I think the arm has got to go.

It's a good thing I'm here, no?

Oh, my god.

What happened to you?

Oh, oh!


Clear the way, please,
clear the way, please.

Please, back up.

OK, please give her some air.

Let us deal with this.

Just back away,
please, back away.

It was Moses who did
this to you, wasn't it?

Come on, Lise, you must tell me.

It was Roch, wasn't it?


Call Vern.

Oh, my god, what have I done?

Let's go.




Anybody in here?

Anybody home?


It doesn't look like anyone's
been here for a week.

Police officer.


Stove's still warm.

They can't be far.

We're going to need more men.

Over here.

Mr. Theriault, come out now.

Mr. Theriault, come out now.

Remove your belt.
Remove your knife.

Let them drop.

But I'll do that, Officer,
but if my pants fall off,

you'll soon learn that my
eyes are not the best part of me.

You are under arrest
for the aggravated...

I'm guilty.

I confess.

I'm guilty.

Guilty, guilty, guilty.


That looks terrible.

What is it?

I don't know.

But if I eat, they
promise to take this out.

You won't believe this.

I don't believe this.

But Roch pleaded guilty
to aggravated assault

at the preliminary hearing.

He's being sentenced
to 12 years in prison.

You're free now.

He can't hurt you anymore.

It's a mystery, though, why
he would forego a proper trial.

Well, I suppose
we should just be

thankful and leave it at that.

At least you don't have to go
to court and testify against him.

I've got something for you.

I'd better go.

Oh, by the way, I did manage to
contact Suzette's parents.

They said they hadn't
heard from her in years.

Any thoughts on where
she might have gone?

Paula, is Rochy...

He's really going to jail?


He's really gone for
a long, long time.

I must tell you then.

Roch, he killed Suzette.

We've been digging
along time, but it's weird.

A lot of bones are missing.



We've got Lise's
testimony, and we have

a dead body, what's left of it.

It'd be nice to get
some corroboration.

Come on.

We found Suzette's body.

We know that Roch killed her.

We need you to come forward and
tell us what you witnessed,

what you saw that night.


You're free now.

Roch's in prison.

He can't hurt you anymore.

What are you frightened of?

You are my sisters, everyone.

I love you.

I'll love you always,
no matter what happened.

What Moses teach
us, he was wrong.

Love is not to hurt people
or make them do what you want.

This is not the will of God.

Love is a better
thing than that.

Suzette was made to work very
hard with a wheelbarrow

and a shovel.

She was working so hard it
was affecting her breathing.

Roch was mad at her.

He thought she
was too outspoken.

She had stomach
problems for some time.

He didn't like this either.

Roch thinks nobody
should be sick but him.

He asked me to prepare
a solution of molasses and water.

He had a red rubber
bag made for enemas.

He, erm... he put the enema
tube in and moved it in and out.

It was very rough.

After that, he cut
her with a knife

and pull out some intestines.

She never cried out, not once.

She died the day after.

We buried her.

But after, we dig
her up three times.

Roch was mad.

He was crazy for missing her.

He made a necklace from her
rib, so she could rest on his heart.

Some of the others
made necklaces, too.

He slammed Marie-Claude
on the floor when

she was six months pregnant.

He poured boiling
water on Danny's back.

He shoot Magdalene
on her shoulder.

He belt the Belgian
workhorse to death with

a chain and made.

On his arm with a broken bottle.

He cut Lena's finger off
with the wire cutters.

Well, good day, my friend.

Please sit down.

I'm sorry, but I can't
offer you anything,

not even a glass of water.

I'm not here for
the hospitality, Roch.

I'm here to charge you with the
murder of Suzette Gillman.



Suzette was my wife, my beloved.

I wouldn't have hurt
her for the world.

What kind of sick
country is this when

you can fabricate lies and...

That's mine!

You want to tell me
Suzette's walking around minus a rib?

Please, please, it's
all I have left of her.

Please give it to me.

Please, please, it's mine. It's mine!

It's mine!
It's mine!

I loved her, you understand?

I loved her.

I tried to save her by
giving her an operation.

But please, please,
please, let me hold her.

Let me hold her, please.


OK, look, just try to relax, OK.

Like I said, because
of the plea bargain,

you won't have to testify.

You don't have to
do anything at all.

I don't know, I'm...

I'm afraid just to see him.

Tell you what, if he looks
at you, just do this.


You did the right thing.

Everything's going
to be all right.

Mr. Theriault, you
have anything to say to this court

before sentencing?


I do, your Honor, I do.

I do come before
you in good faith.

I realize that the
justice system did its duty

by placing me behind bars.

Over several years, I have
made an odious character of myself,

a cruel master,
undetectably compelled by my own will,

by debauchery, by the oddities
of my way of thinking

into which I mixed
love, hate, religion,

alcohol, and violence.

I have inflicted on
myself and others

mental wounds which
have left invisible scars that I

will carry inside forever.

Some of these scars will
remain vivid, such as the ones created

when I carried out
the folly of my fury,

traumatizing, mutilating,
inflicting pain and suffering

on the members of my
entourage and, more specifically,

the events that led to the
death of my beloved wife, Suzette.

I have made a
criminal of myself,

but please, please allow me
to plead clemency for those who

may have put themselves
at risk before the law

and before society
by coming to live

in the slavery of that hell.

I, and I alone, was the
leader of that commune,

and I take full responsibility for
any and all misdeeds

that were committed
during its existence.

With dignity and I think a
new sense of integrity,

I will serve any sentence this
court deems suitable.

This court sentences
you to life in prison

with no possibility of
parole for 10 years.

What's wrong?

Nothing is wrong, Vern.

It's all over now.

They're back in the
land of the living.