Cult leader Roch Theriault killed in jail

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Infamous cult leader Roch Theriault was found dead inside his prison cell in Canada, early Saturday.

CTV Montreal reports:

A spokesman for Corrections Canada said there was evidence Theriault was the victim of an assault and that a murder investigation is now underway.

Theriault, 57, was sentenced in 1993 to life in prison after pleading guilty to second-degree murder in the death of Solange Boislard, a long-time member of the survivalist cult.

Her body was found in 1989 at the cult’s camp near Lindsay, Ont., 70 kilometres northeast of Toronto. She had been partially disemboweled with a kitchen knife during a cult ritual.

In a July, 2002 article the Canadian Press wrote:


Before his capture, Theriault proved brilliant at manipulating both the legal system and vulnerable individuals. But he also had a maniacal streak that triggered brutal punishment and even torture.

The charismatic Quebecer established a commune near Burnt River, Ont., in 1987, where he ruled over his concubines, 26 children and other followers.

His religious cult became increasingly bizarre and cruel, and soon social workers and police were investigating reports of abuse of the women and children and eventually the deaths of Boislard and an infant.

Gabrielle Lavallee, who had her right arm hacked off by Theriault in 1989, wrote a book (French) about her ordeal.

The story of Roch ‘Moses’ Theriault and Lavallee, one of his eight commune “wives,” was also told in Savage Messiah, a 2002 TV movie.

According to QMI Agency in the Toronto Sun:

In recent months, Theriault told reporters was plagued by guilt and overwhelmed with shame for the atrocities he committed.

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This post was last updated: Mar. 2, 2011