Windsor

Former Windsor priest sentenced for abuse

John Duarte, a former priest from Windsor, Ont., was sentenced to 18 months in jail Thursday after pleading guilty to sexual interference charges involving three Haitian teenagers.
A photo of John Duarte shows him in Haiti, where he did charity and missionary work. ((CBC))

John Duarte, a former priest from Windsor, Ont.,  was sentenced to 18 months in jail Thursday after pleading guilty to sexual interference charges involving three Haitian teenagers.

Duarte will serve eight months after credit for time served.

Ontario Superior Court Judge Bruce Thomas also sentenced Duarte to three years probation to be served after his release and required Duarte's name and DNA to be added to a sex offenders registry, where it will remain on file for 20 years.

Duarte was originally charged with nine counts of sexual exploitation involving teenaged boys in Haiti, but he pleaded guilty to three of the charges involving abuse of Haitian teens between 2000 and 2006.

Most of the incidents occurred in the tiny fishing village of Labadie, where Duarte worked with a Windsor-based charity group, Hearts Together for Haiti.

He was arrested in late October at a beach village in the Dominican Republic following an investigation by the Ontario Provincial Police and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

Victims need support

Steve McDougall, chairman of the Windsor-based organization, was in court for the sentencing. He said his concern now is for the abuse victims.

There aren’t many services in Haiti to help abuse victims, McDougall said.

"This isn't of our doing and we will definitely help the kids because we won't abandon them," McDougall said. "But something else has to be done here. It's not really over yet," he said.

He told CBC News he plans on looking to the Catholic church and the Canadian government to help support the victims.

"I think there's other people need to step up, other organizations need to step up and help with this," he said.

Duarte was ordained as a Catholic priest in 1996 and served at a number of parishes in the diocese of London, Ont., including Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Windsor and St. Gregory the Great in Tecumseh, Ont.

now