British Columbia

Catholic Archdiocese of Vancouver names 9 clergymen in sex abuse scandal

The Catholic Archdiocese of Vancouver has named nine clergymen who have criminal convictions or lawsuits settled against them after an internal investigation of cases of sexual abuse dating back to the 1950s.

Archdiocese was aware of 36 cases since the 1950s, including 26 involving children

The Archdiocese of Vancouver was aware of 36 cases of abuse since the 1950s by its clergy, including 26 involving children. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

The Catholic Archdiocese of Vancouver has named nine clergymen who have criminal convictions or lawsuits settled against them related to cases of sexual abuse dating back to the 1950s.

In a report published Friday morning, the diocese revealed the results of a months-long investigation into cases of sexual abuse by its clergy, but says it can't name all the accused because of privacy laws.

"I realize that no expression of regret can repair the horror of what happened," Archbishop Michael Miller said in a letter introducing the report.

"For those occasions when we failed to protect you or when we were more concerned with the Church's reputation than with your suffering, I am truly sorry and ask for your forgiveness as I strive to make amends and bind your wounds."

CBC's The Fifth Estate has reported that this is the first of Canada's 60 Latin Rite archdioceses and dioceses to make information about convicted priests public.

Clergy who were criminally convicted:

  • Paul J. Blancard
  • George Gordon 
  • John McCann, OMI 
  • Harold McIntee, OMI 
  • Alfred Frank Louis Sasso 

Clergy with lawsuits settled:

  • Lawrence Edward (Damian) Cooper 
  • Antero Sarmiento 

Clergy named in other public cases:

  • Edwin Budiman 
  • John Eason 

Some of the charges against the men date back to the 1950s and involve child victims as young as six or seven.

McIntee, who worked in parishes in Ucluelet and Tofino, in the Diocese of Victoria, was charged with multiple counts of sexual abuse in 1989. He served two years in jail for abusing 17 boys in British Columbia over 25 years. Many of his victims were boys in residential schools in Kamloops, Prince George, and Victoria.

McCann was convicted in 1991 of six counts of sex abuse of girls under 16 in the 1970s when he was serving at St. Augustine's Parish and St. Peter's in New Westminster. After serving 10 months in jail, he served as a priest in the Diocese of Victoria and the Archdiocese of Ottawa.

31 recommendations for reform

The 31 recommendations in the document are the result of an internal review commissioned in 2018 by Miller to examine church files dating back to the 1950s. 

In July, the committee reviewing the files submitted its recommendations, including that it was essential for the names of clergy who were deemed "credibly accused" be released publicly. 

However, the chair of the committee, lawyer Mary Margaret MacKinnon, explains in Friday's report that those names can't be published because of Canadian privacy legislation, notably B.C.'s Personal Information and Protection Act.

She says discussions are ongoing about setting up administrative tribunals to determine probable wrongdoing and what can be made public in Canada.

"We should be able to disclose the names in a limited fashion, perhaps in the parish where that offence has alleged to have occurred, to see if there are other people who have been affected," said MacKinnon in the report. "We can also publish factual findings — for example, that somebody has been removed from ministry."

A statue of Pope John Paul II welcomes visitors to the Catholic Archdiocese of Vancouver. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

The information contained in the internal review was uncovered in an investigation by The Fifth Estate that aired on Nov. 17 into how the church has dealt with abuse allegations over the years.

The internal review showed the archdiocese was aware of 36 cases of abuse since the 1950s by its clergy, including 26 involving children.

The review also found three of their priests had fathered children.

Miller created a working group in September to come up with responses to those recommendations, including a pledge by the archdiocese to create an independent intake office to receive new allegations of abuse.

About the Author

Eva Uguen-Csenge is a multimedia reporter for CBC News in Vancouver. Get in touch with her at eva.uguen-csenge@cbc.ca or on Twitter @evacsenge for story tips.