Calgary

Sex assault 'just couldn't have happened,' says lawyer as charges withdrawn against Calgary priest

A Catholic priest in Calgary no longer faces allegations of sexual assault after the prosecutor withdrew the charge in court on Thursday.

Father Malcolm D'Souza, 62, had been working at St. Bernard's and Assumption parishes

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Calgary says it received allegations of sexual misconduct by a priest at St. Mark's Parish in northeast Calgary last year. (Google Maps)

A Catholic priest in Calgary no longer faces allegations of sexual assault after the prosecutor withdrew the charges in court on Thursday.

Father Malcolm D'Souza, 62, had been working at the St. Bernard's and Assumption parishes until October, when he was removed from service by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Calgary.

"They were accusations that, from our perspective, just couldn't have happened in the places, at the times that it was alleged to have occurred. And I'm sure when the prosecution examined it, they probably came to the same conclusion," said defence lawyer Balfour Der.

Prosecutor Donna Spaner confirmed there was no reasonable prospect of conviction and said it was not in the public interest to prosecute D'Souza.

D'Souza was arrested and charged in January.

At the time, the priest had already been placed on leave after the diocese said it had received allegations of sexual misconduct against the priest involving others stemming from the priest's tenure at St. Mark in northeast Calgary.

"The man was devastated by the charges in the first place and by, in essence, being removed from the church," said Der.  

"When I gave him the news that the charges were going to be withdrawn, he was very emotional, on the brink of tears."

Der said he isn't sure what the future holds for his client. 

"He's at an age, in his 60s, where it's hard to start a new career."

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Meghan Grant

CBC Calgary crime reporter

Meghan Grant is the courts and crime reporter for CBC Calgary. If you have a good story idea or tip, you can reach her at meghan.grant@cbc.ca or on Twitter at @CBCMeg.

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