A 76-year-old retired Roman Catholic priest facing charges related to the alleged sexual assault of a boy in the early 1970s has been released on bail after appearing in court Thursday.
Ottawa police arrested Jacques Faucher of Gatineau, Que., on Wednesday and charged him with gross indecency and indecent assault on a male. The incidents are alleged to have occurred in Ottawa between 1971 and 1973.
The complainant was seven years old in 1971, police said.
Faucher was released after posting a $3,000 bail bond with a number of conditions. Faucher is not to have contact with the victim or their family, is not be with a child under 16 years old without the supervision of the child's parent or guardian and is not allowed to frequent pools, libraries, parks, schools —and other places where there are children.
He also cannot possess an electronic device such as a computer, cell phone or camera.
His next court appearance is scheduled for March 12.
Suspended from Ottawa Archdiocese
Earlier Thursday Terrence Prendergast, the Archbishop of Ottawa, issued a statement saying Faucher has been suspended from all ministry and prohibited from representing himself as a Catholic priest.
"Our diocese is committed to creating a safe environment in the Church for minors and other vulnerable persons. We are also committed to a process of justice and reconciliation for the victims of clergy abuse," said Prendergast.
The police investigation into the complaint began in November and continues.
Involved in Lowertown, francophone community
Ordained in 1960, Faucher served at four parishes: Notre Dame-des-Anges, Saint-Louis-Marie-deMontfort, Sainte-Jeanne-d’Arc and Christ-Roi.
He taught at the Grand Séminaire as well as several high schools and served as a French language consultant, according to his profile with the Archdiocese of Ottawa.
Catholic Immigration Board executive director Carl Nicholson confirmed Faucher once served on the board, and described him as a prominent voice on francophone issues in Ottawa.
Faucher also wrote a book about the history of Ottawa's Lowertown.
Faucher is expected to appear at a bail hearing later Thursday morning.
Police are asking anyone with information about this incident or other incidents to contact Ottawa police at 613-236-1222, ext. 5944, or Crime Stoppers at 613-233-8477.