The priest who has spoken for the Diocese of Antigonish in recent years is the subject of an unspecified complaint.
There has been an unspecified complaint against Rev. Paul Abbass — who runs Talbot House — a men's addiction and rehabilitation facility outside Sydney, Cape Breton Regional Police confirmed Thursday.
The matter is being considered to determine whether there is enough information to warrant a criminal investigation, said Desiree Vasallo, a spokeswoman for the Cape Breton Regional Police. She stressed an official investigation had not been launched.
Talbot House raised concerns with the police about one of its employees, police said.
The complaint against Abbass is in his capacity as executive director, a position he's held for 17 years. It was filed with the Department of Community Services.
"The board is not going to comment on the nature of the complaints in fairness to everyone concerned," said John Gainer, chair of the Talbot House Board.
"What we can be committed to is that the alleged complaint will be properly reviewed for everyone's benefit, including Father Abbass and the residents of Talbot House, the community, we need to adhere to a proper process," he said.
Abbass was asked Feb. 3 by the board to step aside until the review was completed, Gainer said.
The Diocese of Antigonish released a statement Thursday saying it would fully co-operate with Talbot House and the department.
"We will act with the welfare of everyone in mind," Bishop Brian Dunn said in a release.
"For the complainant, that means being listened to and having their allegations investigated thoroughly. For parishioners, that means keeping them informed and providing avenues for discussion and dialogue.
"For Father Abbass, it means a fair, timely and thorough investigation to find the truth."
Talbot House has received additional clinical support from the Cape Breton District Health Authority, so Gainer said the board is confident the welfare of the 14 men at Talbot house is secure.
Abbass has been the voice of the diocese through the child pornography scandal involving Bishop Raymond Lahey and the sale of church properties to satisfy a settlement with victims of sexual abuse by priests.
"It is always difficult to hear about complaints against priests, but we must encourage that complaints be investigated thoroughly and the truth be determined," Dunn added.