Windsor

Ex-Windsor priest faces extradition from D.R.

A former Windsor priest arrested in the Dominican Republic and accused of sexually abusing teenage boys in Haiti will be tried in Ontario, the provincial police say.

John Duarte charged with 9 counts of sexual exploitation

A former Windsor priest arrested in the Dominican Republic and accused of sexually abusing teenage boys in Haiti will be tried in Ontario, a spokeswoman for the Ontario Provincial Police confirmed Thursday.

John Duarte, 44, is currently being held in custody in the D.R. awaiting extradition to Canada, according to Const. Shawna Coulter. He has been charged with nine counts of sexual exploitation, she said.

The charges against Duarte are related to allegations involving "a number of male youths in Haiti during the years 1995 to 2005," Coulter said.

A photo of John Duarte shows him in Haiti, where he did charity and missionary work. ((CBC))

He was arrested on Tuesday at a hotel in Sosua, D.R., a beach village on the country's northern coast, following an investigation by the OPP and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

Duarte was ordained as a Catholic priest in 1996 and served at a number of parishes in the Roman Catholic Diocese of London, including Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Windsor and St. Gregory the Great in Tecumseh, according to Frank Chauvin, who knew Duarte through his own charity work in Haiti.

He left the priesthood in 2003 to move to Labadie, Haiti, where he worked for a Windsor-based charity group, Hearts Together for Haiti (HTFHaiti), which he co-founded, Chauvin said.

But in June 2006, HTFHaiti's chairman, Steve McDougall, received an email from a villager in Labadie, a northern coastal town, making "a very serious complaint" about Duarte, McDougall said.

Duarte denied the allegations but resigned from HTFHaiti almost immediately, McDougall said.

He then left Haiti and moved to Dominican Republic, Chauvin said.

"The news of the arrest of John Duarte for allegations of sexual abuse that happened in Haiti is devastating," the director of communications for the Diocese of London said in a press release.

"Anyone with information about this case is encouraged to come forward," Mark Adkinson said.