London

Parishes where ousted priests worked identified by London lawyer

A London lawyer wants the public to know where two ousted priests worked in the Catholic Diocese of London. Both have been accused of sexual misconduct, allegations the diocese said were credible.

Frs. Andy Dwyer and Moe Charbonneau are no longer allowed to minister with the Catholic Diocese of London.

Surviving the scandals of the Catholic Church; one must be true to one's faith and respect those who've been harmed, says young Priest hopeful. (istock-852)

A London lawyer wants the public to know where two ousted priests worked and faced allegations of sexual misconduct in the Diocese of London.

Both Fr. Moe Charbonneau and Fr. Andy Dwyer have since been banned from ministering in the diocese but the organization has refused to divulge where the allegations were made. 

However, Rob Talach, partner at Beckett Personal Injuries Lawyers in London, said he's spoken to the victims and they have no problem revealing the locations. In the case of Fr. Dwyer, Talach said there are two victims:

  • Victim #1 was allegedly abused at St. Michael's parish in London and Blessed Sacrament parish in Chatham in 1982-1983, said Talach. 
  • Victim #2 was allegedly abused at Holy Name of Mary parish in Windsor in the late 1970's.
  "If they're going to be transparent as has been the almost global demand upon the Catholic church then they need to give these details," said Talach. 
Lawyer Rob Talach said he spoke with the alleged victims of Frs. Dwyer and Charbonneau and they gave him permission to publicly identify where the alleged misconduct occurred. (Mary Sheppard/CBC)

In the Charbonneau case Talach told CBC Radio's Afternoon Drive, "The Charbonneau victim was abused through his association at St. Mary's Church and St. John the Evangelist church that's in Woodslee and Maidstone." 

In a newsletter sent out to parishioners, the diocese said the priest's victim was an adult and that it was not the first incident of misconduct. The woman sued the diocese and was compensated, said Talach. 

'Quite the Sherlock Holmes'

But, the diocese maintains to reveal the locations of the allegations could lead to identifying the victims. 

"We can only follow our own policy which is in place to safeguard the privacy of the people involved," said Nelson Couto, communications officer with the Diocese of London.

He said, the diocese has released the list of where the priests served over the years, but not the specifics of where or when alleged incidents took place "...because those sorts of things can lead to people jumping to conclusions."

Talach doesn't buy it. 

"You'd have to be quite the Sherlock Holmes to put together somebody abused at St. Mary's parish in certain years to connecting that to a particular individual." 

Victims spoke out

Talach is also troubled that Dwyer's victims said they told church leaders what was going on years ago.

"This involves teen boys and I've spoken with two of them," said Talach. "The biggest fact here is they both told, as young men, the diocese in both 1994 and 1997 and little was done."

The diocese remains concerned the specifics about the years involved and locations are being made public. 

"In our opinion it's more prudent to protect that information," said Couto. 

Talach accused the diocese of keeping the information private to protect itself more than protect victims. 

"The more information, the more media coverage, the more victims and that's the last thing they want right now," said Talach. "I believe truly their motivation is to mitigate the damage to them both financially and public relations wise."

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