Accused priest ends posting in Hull church

The Ottawa Citizen

30 May 1986

Jacquie Miller and Anne McIlroy Citizen Staff writers

The Catholic priest a Cornwall family said sexually molested their son has left a Hull parish and entered a religious retreat.

Officials at the Gatineau-Hull diocese continue to refuse all comment on the affair, but a member of the church’s parishioners’ committee confirmed Thursday that the priest was no longer at the church.

In Nepean, meanwhile, police detectives have returned empty-handed from Michigan where they were sent to interview a Nepean Catholic priest alleged to have molested four boys.

Insp. Ron Lamont said Thursday the priest refused to talk to police about the complaints. He said he was acting on the advice of his lawyer.

The priest is at a centre in Michigan for alcohol abuse treatment and a psychological assessment.

Cornwall police Insp. Rick Trew said Thursday charges may be laid against the priest who has just ended a temporary assignment in the Hull parish.

At the Hull church involved, parishioners are still awaiting an explanation from Bishop Adolphe Proulx, one member said.

The priest was an assistant to Proulx before he went to Cornwall a number of years ago.

Earlier this month a Cornwall family accused church officials of breaking a promise to keep the priest out of active church duties after disclosure of alleged sexual improprieties with Cornwall youngsters eight years ago.

On Feb. 13, the priest resigned from a Cornwall parish.

Alexandria-Cornwall Bishop Eugene LaRocque told the Brisson family the priest had been removed from the ministry to receive corrective therapy in the Gatineau-Hull diocese.

When the family discovered the priest was working in the Hull parish, the Brissons decided to go public.

Asked Thursday if he deliberately misled the Brissons, LaRoque said he had no comment, and hung up on a Citizen reporter.

Lise Brisson, who says her son was sexually assaulted by the priest eight years ago, said she is satisfied now the man has left the Hull parish.

“We’re not so much concerned with him as we are with the victims. We hope he can be healed,” said Brisson.

The priest, who refused to comment on the complaints, left the Hull parish last Friday, the parishioner said. He said the parish will hold a meeting shortly on the matter.

A 22-year-old Vancouver man, who once lived in Cornwall, has also told The Citizen the priest sexually assaulted him four years ago at a weekend religious retreat.

On the same day the priest left the Hull parish, Proulx released a short statement saying he was looking into the allegations and had no comment to make on the matter.

Nepean police say the priest who has gone to Michigan was not legally obliged to answer questions from police or make a statement.

Even if he is charged, he can refuse to speak to police, said Lamont.

The detectives went to Michigan Tuesday and returned Wednesday night.

Lamont said it will likely be Monday before police decide whether sexual abuse charges will be laid against the priest. The Crown attorney handling the case is away at a conference this week, said Lamont. Police don’t want to complete their investigation without consulting with the Crown’s office, he said.

The police investigation began in April when a group of parents complained to Nepean police.