Trials adjourned for Anglican priest accused of multiple sexual offences

Trials for an Anglican priest accused of sexual offences against a number of teen boys will not go ahead in the new year.

Gordon William Dominey is in ill health and can't attend his own trial

Anglican priest Gordon William Dominey, left, in the 1980s and in 2016, right, is accused of a number of sexual offences against minors in the 1980s. (Supplied)

Trials for an Anglican priest accused of sexual offences against several teen boys will not go ahead in the new year.

Gordon William Dominey, 67, faces a slew of charges related to alleged abuses against boys aged 14 to 16 who were inmates at an Edmonton youth jail in the 1980s. 

But on Tuesday his lawyer brought an adjournment application, citing his client's poor health.

"Mr. Dominey will not be in a position to travel in 2020," defence lawyer Kent Teskey told Court of Queen's Bench Justice Paul Belzil during a brief hearing.

Dominey, who lives in British Columbia, was not in attendance. In 2018, court heard he was undergoing treatment for cancer.

Belzil allowed the application, adjourning a trial on 30 counts set for January 2020, as well as a second trial on three charges scheduled for June 2020. Prosecutor Carole Godfrey said the Crown is not taking a position on the application.

The news the trial is not proceeding was frustrating for one of the many men who allege they were victims of sexual abuse at the hands of the priest when he worked at the Edmonton Youth Development Centre between 1985 and 1989.

"I'm disgusted by the system. It seems like when I went through the system, they were so gung-ho to get me in jail, get me taken care of, but this man who hurt so many of us, just gets to walk free," said the man, who cannot be named because of a publication ban.

He said he was one of the first people to file a report about Dominey back in 2016.

Initially, police announced Dominey had been charged with five counts of sexual assault, and five counts of gross indecency. The number of charges and complainants in the case climbed as more people came forward.

The man CBC spoke with said he believes the justice system could have proceeded to trial more quickly. 

"A lot of us were looking for closure on it. I think we're going to be robbed of our chance," he said. 

The man is a plaintiff in a lawsuit filed in Court of Queen's Bench that seeks reparations for the victims, not only from Dominey, but also the province and Anglican Diocese of Edmonton. The group is seeking to have the case certified as a class action lawsuit.

The lawyer representing the men in the civil case said Tuesday there aren't any developments at this time as they are waiting for the criminal matter to be resolved.

"I was angry for a lot of years," the complainant said. "It's affected every relationship that I've had, even the one with my children."

He said the civil suit is not about seeking a windfall; what he really wants is recognition of what happened to him and the other boys. He says he also wants mental health supports, something he says was never offered to him or the other complainants in the case, many of whom haven't been able to break the cycle of incarceration and remain in-and-out jail as adults.

A complainant involved in the proposed class action suit, who said he got out of the "system" when he was 18 in the late 1980s, said he channelled his anger into a goal of helping others: He's back in school, pursuing diplomas in addictions and community service, and social work. 

"I'm really sick and tired of seeing people go without, and people not getting help, and I want to get out there and help those people," he said. 

In 1990, Dominey transferred from the Diocese of Edmonton to the Diocese of New Westminster in Vancouver. He worked in numerous churches, and was the priest-in-charge at St. Catherine's Anglican Church in North Vancouver from the summer of 2015 until his February 2016 arrest when he was placed on administrative leave.

After granting the adjournment, Belzil asked the lawyers to return to court to speak to the case on Jan. 31, 2020.

Both the criminal allegations and the allegations in the lawsuit have not been proven in court.