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Elderly Ontario priest charged with sexual assault

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Residents of Toronto may be interested to know that a 72-year-old priest was charged with sexual assault and gross indecency last week. The Arnprior, Ontario, priest had a 37-year career, serving as parishioners in Westmeath, La Passe, Braeside, and Sheenboro. He had retired eight years ago from Our Lady of Lourdes Church due to coronary artery disease.

The alleged sexual assault occurred while the priest was serving in Pembroke, Ontario, at Holy Name Parish. He had also worked as a youth probation officer and as a chaplain for the Pembroke Jail and the Pembroke Police Service during his career. The priest was ordained in 1968 and said he didn’t consider his work done when he retired in 2005.

The Bishop of Pembroke said in a statement that the truth concerning the charges will be brought to life. The diocese remarked that they are cooperating with officials, and they expressed their support and encouraged healing for the parties of the case. The priest was released from jail on a promise to appear in court next month.

Sexual assaults charges are extremely serious. These charges are also some of the most common criminal charges one can be accused of. There are severe penalties and sentencing guidelines that are associated with sexual assault crimes, so it is important that the accused have aggressive representation to fight the charges.

Often, these types of charges are based simply on the testimony of the accuser with the absence of physical evidence. These cases can be difficult for the prosecution to prove. A criminal defense lawyer may help an accused person defend themselves in court.

Source: Sun News, “Retired priest in Pembroke, Ontario faces sex assault charges”, Kelly Rochie, July 30, 2013

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