William Joseph Allen (Father Bill)
priest, Archdiocese Ottawa, Ontario. Ordained 1955. Charged July 2010. Convicted April 2011.
According to media articles, served at Our Lady of the Annunciation RC Church in Hull Quebec, Blessed Sacrament, St. Monica’s, Holy Family Catholic Community in Hunt Club, and Immaculate Heart of Mary. Provided spiritual leadership to the Carleton Catholic Parent-Teachers Association and the lay Carmelite community.
NEXT COURT DATE: CONVICTED 19 April 2011 (09:30 am. courtroom #3. Ottawa courthouse. “to plea”);
07 March 2011 (08:30 am. Courtroom #5 [remand court]); 11 February 2011 (“to take a plea” – 9 am, Courtroom #7 [motions and guilty pleas], Ottawa courthouse); 13 December 2010 (08:30 am, courtroom # 5 – “to be spoken to”); 29 November 2010 (08:30 am, courtroom # 5 – “to be spoken to”); 26 October 2010; 04 October 2010 ; 09 August 2010
The following dates and information are drawn from available Canadian Catholic Church Directories (CCCD), media and personal contacts (PC). Additional timelines will be added as information becomes available.
06 September 1929: DOB pursued his priestly studies at St. Augustine’s Seminary, Toronto. (Graduated with Father Bob Bedard with whom he would later teach at St. Pius X prep seminary in Ottawa.)
1955: Ordained at St. Patrick’s Church, Ottawa, Ontario
1959: priest at Our Lady of Annunciation, Hull, Quebec (CCCD)
summer 1959: joined staff at St. Pius X.
“In the summer of 1959 Father Bedard and Father Gavan were joined by three new staff members; Father William Allen, Father Leonard Lunney, Father Paul Baxter. This group, later to be known as ‘the gang of five,’ spent 15 long summer weeks at the Ontario College of Eduction in Toronto.” (1958-1983 yearbook: Ad Multos Annos: 25) coached the football team in 1959.
summer 1959-1970: teaching at St. Pius X prep seminary, Ottawa (CCCD and yearbook)
(St. Pius X prep seminary was founded in 1958 with an aim to fostering vocations to the priesthood. Students were high school boys who felt they had a vocation to the priesthood, most were from the Ottawa area, but for several years the Diocese of Hamilton sent about eight young boys a year to study at Pius X. “Prospective seminarians” [students] were recommended by their parish priest. In the Hamilton diocese boys who felt they had a vocation were asked to write a letter to their bishop – the choice of which boys to send to St. Pius X was apparently based on the contents of those letters. Initially St. Pius X staff were priests who boarded at the school. The boys from Hamilton were boarders as were some other students. In 1972-1973 school year the school began accepting female students.
Father John Beahen – later Bishop John Beahen – was appointed Superior of the prep seminary in the 1963. It seems he may have served in that capacity until 1965 when the position was assumed by Father Lunney. There were many sex abuse allegations against Beahen. Beahen was a regular visitor at the St. Brigid’s summer camp founded by now convicted molester Father Ken Keeler. Beahen died in March 1998 before being charged. )
1971-1972: St. Pius X school and Pastor St. Monica Church, Ottawa (CCCD) (According to Planted by Flowing Water, from its founding in 1965 St. Monica’s was administered by “a team of priests from St. Pius X Preparatory Seminary who relied on an actively-involved laity to help run the parish,” this seems to have been the case until the parish was raised to the status of a full parish in 1988. )
1973-74: St. Pius X school and Pastor St. Monica Church, Ottawa (CCCD)
1975-1976 – Administrator Resurrection of Our Lord Church, Ottawa:
“Father William Allen left his teaching position at Pius X High School, for one year, to be Administrator at Resurrection Parish between the summers of 1975 and 1976. His term of office saw the start of construction of the Chapel on Heatherington Road and the commencement of the formation of St. Peter’s as a satellite Community of Resurrection” (Resurrection website)
1980: Listed as staff at St. Pius X (Ontario Catholic Directory) – around mid 80s to early 90s teaching at Pius X (PC)
1981-1982: St. Elizabeth Church, Ottawa (St. Elizabeth website) and then apparently back to St. Pius X teaching – around late 80s – used to say Mass at Companions of the Cross pre-seminarian house on Sunnyside (PC)
1991: address Neepawa St., Ottawa (CCCD)
1992 & 1993: address St. Theresa of the Child Jesus Church, Ottawa (Pastor Father Gahagan) (CCCD)
1994, 1995, 1996: address St. Augustine Church, Ottawa (Pastor Father Robert Latour)
1997, 1998, 1999, 2000: address Neepawa St. (different apt. number but same street number as 1991)
2010: living in John Paul II priests residence by the diocesan centre
December 2014: Died in Ottawa. To be buried from St. Patrick’s Basilica 23 December 2014
Spring & Summer 2010, Catholic Ottawa
Reverend William Joseph Allen Fr. William Joseph Allen was born on September 6, 1929 and ordained to the priesthood on June 9, 1955 at St. Patrick’s Church. After being curate at Hull’s Annunciation Parish, he taught at Ottawa’s St. Pius X High School, then exercised parish ministry at Blessed Sacrament, St. Monica’s, Resurrection of Our Lord, Holy Family Catholic Community (Hunt Club), St. Elizabeth and Immaculate Heart of Mary. Additionally, he gave spiritual leadership to the Carleton Catholic Parent-Teachers Association and the Lay Carmelite Community.
19 April 2011: Former priest, teacher sentenced for sex crimes
19 April 2011: Ottawa priest sentenced to house arrest for indecent assaults on brothers 37 years ago
19 April 2011: Ottawa priest found guilty of indecent assault
19 April 2011: Ottawa Priest Sentenced in Indecent Assault Case
11 February 2011: BLOG Two court dates
15 July 2010: Victims were St. Pius X students, police say
15 July 2010: “Justice denied” and “Another yawning failure”
15 July 2010: School never made aware of misconduct
13 July 2010: BLOG Dear Lord help us!
12 July 2010: Priest, 80, charged with sex abuse
12 July 2010: Bishop’s statement marks change in way church handles allegatios: Prof
12 July 2010: Ottawa priest, 80, facing charges
12 July 2010: Ottawa priest charged with sex offences
12 July 2010: Archbishop Terrence Prendergast press release re sex abuse charges against Father William Allan
Priest, 80, charged with sex abuse; Investigation examined ‘inappropriate acts’ between accused and two Ottawa teens in 1970s
13 July 2010
An 80-year-old Ottawa priest has been charged with three counts of indecent assault following a police investigation into alleged sexual assaults involving two teenage boys dating back 40 years.
The investigation, which began in March, examined a “series of inappropriate acts” between the Roman Catholic priest and two teenagers in Ottawa between 1970 and 1976, police said Monday.
Rev. William Joseph Allen, 80, a former teacher at St. Pius X High School, faces three counts of indecent assault. Arrested Monday, he was released with conditions. Reached at home by phone, Allen wouldn’t comment on the charges, and declined to discuss his history with the archdiocese. “I’m sorry, I don’t want to give any interviews.”
Allen lives in the John Paul II residence adjoining the archdiocese on Kilborn Place near Billings Bridge. At his home, another man who answered the buzzer said Allen had no comment.
Late Monday afternoon, the Catholic Archdiocese of Ottawa issued a statement under the name of Archbishop Terrence Prendergast, saying the archbishop was “deeply saddened” to hear criminal charges had been laid against “one of our priests.”
Prendergast added that while Allen is in failing health and withdrew from active ministry a number of years ago, he had nonetheless “formally suspended” him from “all ministry and prohibited him from presenting himself as a Catholic priest.”
A Catholic Ottawa newsletter for the spring and summer of 2010 contains a brief biography of Allen indicating that he recently celebrated his 55th year in the priesthood.
Born Sept. 6, 1929, Allen was ordained in June 1955 at St. Patrick’s Church, the newsletter said. After serving as curate at the Our Lady of the Annunciation Parish in Hull, he taught at St. Pius X High School.
A 2006 newsletter from Resurrection of Our Lord Catholic Church on Saunderson Drive indicated that Allen taught at St. Pius X in the 1970s. As well, he practised parish ministry at Blessed Sacrament, St. Monica’s, Resurrection of Our Lord, Holy Family Catholic Community in Hunt Club, St. Elizabeth and Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Allen also provided spiritual leadership to the Carleton Catholic Parent-Teachers Association and the Lay Carmelite Community.
According to the Catholic Ottawa newsletter, Allen, in marking his 55 years in the priesthood, had some advice to young seminarians entering the priesthood on how they could be “holy and happy” in their vocation.
“Prayer,” he said. “At times, priests drift away from prayer. Put yourself in the Lord’s care. He is the eternal high priest. He will look after us and will always bring us back.”
Allen was also quoted as saying a priest should not be a recluse. “It is important to get together for prayer and recreation.”
The case against Allen is the second involving an Ottawa-area priest to come to public attention in recent months.
In October, Prendergast issued an apology to a man — a 40-year-old who can only be identified as “Alex” — who’d suffered sexual abuse as a 14-year-old at the hands of Rev. Dale Crampton.
The one-time pastor at St. Maurice Church on Perry Street was found guilty in 1986 of indecently assaulting seven altar boys. He was sentenced to eight months in jail. The subsequent apology was part of an agreed-upon settlement between “Alex” and the archdiocese. In his October apology, Prendergast emphasized his “personal commitment” to creating “a safe environment in the church for young people and other vulnerable persons.”
The archbishop’s latest apology reiterates that message. “I restate our commitment to create a safe environment in the Church for children and other vulnerable persons.” The archdiocese is “committed to a process of justice and reconciliation for the victims of clergy abuse,” Prendergast said.
While a criminal investigation is an “option” for victims of abuse, the archbishop noted that it has long been church policy to advise victims that there are other alternatives available to them.
“Some victims have chosen a process outside the criminal justice system” and that process “remains a possibility,” said Prendergast, inviting victims of clergy abuse to contact church offices. “Every inquiry will be treated justly and with discretion.” _______________________________________________________
12 July 2010
An 80-year-old Ottawa Roman Catholic priest has been charged with indecent assaults dating back to the 1970s.
William Allen was charged with three counts of indecent assault Monday and released on conditions.
An investigation began in March 2010 into a series of alleged inappropriate contacts between Allen and two teenage males that occurred in Ottawa between 1970 and 1976.
When reached by telephone Monday Allen politely declined to comment on the allegations. “No, thank you,” he said. “I don’t wish to make a comment.”
The local Archbishop issued a press release Monday suspending Allen from all ministry activities and prohibiting him from presenting himself as a Catholic priest.
“I am deeply saddened to hear that criminal charges, on the basis of sexual assault, have been laid against Fr. William Allen,” said Terrence Prendergast in the release.
Allen is said to be in failing health and withdrew from active ministry a number of years ago, said Prendergast. “Justice must be done, and must be seen to be done,” said Prendergast.
In either the spring of 1969 or 1970 (before Father Lunney’s tenure). I was as a student at St. Pius X. I went to the principal/rector, Father Bedard, telling him about Father Allen’s penchant for one-on-one private wrestling sessions with boarders in his private rooms on campus. I was angry at the possibility of scandal, not fully aware of the psychological ramifications of what might have been happening. Bedard obviously talked to Allen about it and in class within a day or so, Allen confronted me in an angry outburst. It is a kind of irony. I am a gay man. I was struggling with this at the time, and I knew that what was going on was sick.
Thanks for that information Ed. I have two questions I’d like to ask:
(1) Did the “wrestling sessions” stop after you reported to Father Bedard?
(2) You say that you “were angry at the possibility of scandal, not fully aware of the psychological ramifications of what might have been happening.” Do I understand correctly that you were you one of the students involved in “one-on-one private wrestling sessions”?
I can vouch from personal experience that his ONE-ON-ONE private wrestling lessons in his room above the cafeteria were still occurring in Spring 1984. He Lured me by saying I should try out. Come to my room after school and loser buys McDonalds.
I should have spoke up then 🙁
1) I do not know whether they stopped
2)I was not one of the students involved. I was a day student. Only the boarders as far as I know were his prey.
Father Allen was long and well known for his clumsy, constant offers of private wrestling lessons in his room. It was not much of a secret and I suggest “Ed” was not the only student who complained to management in this regard.
I can assure you without reservation that Father Allen continued this improper conduct well into the years after Big Bob gave way to Father Lunney as principle.
If one takes “Ed” at his word, and I am not casting doubt on it, Father Bedard should have mentioned this complaint to Father Lunney when he took over the Principle’s office.
Failing to inform the new Principle about a situation like that between a Priest and student, especially in light of recent charges against Father Allen for alleged assaults that took place after “Ed’s” complaint, would be irresponsible to say the least and possibly much worse.
Of course, Father Bedard might well have told Father Lunney about the complaint and he deserves that supposition.
You would think that after knowing Father Allen for over fifty years and having worked closely with him, Father Lunney might have expressed shock and disbelief in the charges against Father Allen… charges and not convictions.
Nobody has come to the defense of Father Allen to so much as even ask for people to wait for his trial before jumping to condemn him.
Father Allen is an elderly man in poor health and how is it that after a lifetime of dedication to the cloth he has not been afforded even a sliver of compassion or perhaps the slightest shred of support by those like Father Lunney and Father Bedard who worked very closely to him for so many years at St. Pius X…
… but nothing.
Given “Ed’s” statement I can understand why Father Bedard is nowhere on the record in defense of Father Allen but I find Father Lunney’s response rather curious.
Sadly, the journalist did not get Father Lunney on the record regarding Father Keeler, who was convicted for offenses involving St. Pius X Students while also part of the extended staff under Father Lunney.
I wonder if Fathers Keeler and Allen were the only ones on Father Lunney’s watch getting away with this kind of behavior?
Yes, the last sentence was a cheap rhetorical device.
Good points Aardvark.
I attended Keeler’s trial but have no recollection whatsoever that the victims were Pius X students. I don’t believe it was mentioned at trial. Were they in fact Pius X students?
Aardvark strikes again. He writes “he (Father Allen) has not been afforded even a sliver of compassion or perhaps the slightest shred of support by those like Father Lunney and Father Bedard”.
Father Bedard has been in a longterm care facility for quite a while now, suffering from senile dementia. Is Aardvark really surprised then that Father Bedard has not expressed support for Father Allen? Again, Aardvark’s focus is not the actual perpetrator of these assaults but on Father Lunney, for whom he has an axe to grind.
Again, I issue the challenge to Aardvark: either present the evidence against Father Lunney or stop your attacks on him. I am no defender of priests who abuse, and I supported the victims of Father Keeler as they moved to get justice, but I have no time for those who imply improper conduct by those against whom no evidence has been presented. The majority of priests do their job well, and the vast majority are not abusers. Some want to believe that every priest is either an abuser or an abettor. That is not true.
Sylvia, to answer your question: no, the majority of those abused by Keeler were not students at St Pius. Two at least were, but there were at least seven young men prepared to testify at trial against Keeler (I know, as I was consulted by two of them when they were deciding their course of action against Keeler). The majority were students at other schools.
As well, when Aardvark describes Keeler as “part of the extended staff under Father Lunney”, he overstates Keeler’s connection with St Pius HS, in another attempt to place blame for the actions of these predators on Father Lunney’s head. The truth is that Keeler’s connections to the victims who testified (or were about to testify) against him came from their presence at St Brigid’s Camp or from the parishes where Keeler worked (St Martin de Porres being the main nexus). Keeler’s victims were not culled from St Pius, but from the camp and parish population.
Sylvia, I am correcting my last comment, as I just phoned and talked to one of Keeler’s victims (my friend). (I tend to think of these kids as they were when Keeler assaulted them.) Keeler was abusing them before they became students at Pius, but at least four did go to Pius at that point or afterward, but, again, he had chosen them as targets from his contact with them at the camp or in his parish.
Thanks for the clarification on the Keeler victims PiusGrad. That is consistent with what I recall. The Keeler victims were culled (good word) at St. Brigid’s Summer Camp and at their parishes.
Father Allen was my religion teacher in 1973-74. I very much enjoyed his jovial demeanour and his classes. He was also open to challenges and discussion about the Bible and the Catholic Church. In that way he was a good religion teacher.
However, I was not shocked when I heard about the charges against him. I recall that he made innuendos about me having a wrestling match with a friend of mine on more than one occasion. Father Allen’s boy-wrestling fascination was well-known to some of the students at the time.
Both my friend and I agreed that Father Allen was gay and we left it at that. We both agreed our parents would never believe us. Recently, an old schoolmate told me that Allen made some advances towards him many years after he left St. Pius.
Father Allen was not the only priest at that school who behaved inappropriately. There was also another priest who was known to ask inappropriate questions under the guise of a “confession”. I recall that he left the school suddenly after a few of his “chats” with the boys became part of the school “gossip.”
Crazy Joe Haley. Priests locked him up in the dorm rooms.
Does anyone have any news about yesterday’s court date?
An update on court info…
Father Allen’s 19 April 2011 court date is at 09:30 am in court room #3 “to plea.” Court room #3 is the plea court.
It sounds as though Allen will be entering a guilty plea?
CONVICTED today. Allen entered a ‘not guilty’ plea. He did not contest the evidence. A nine month conditional sentence! That means no jail. Aside reporting as required and whatever condtions are set, he is foot-loose and fancy free.
The only comfort for the victims is the conviction. Father Allen can now be referred to as a convicted child molester.
Barring that small mercy, this is truly a judicial kick in the face for any victim of clerical child sexual abuse, or any child sex abuse for that matter. The message is that if a molester can deceive the masses and live a life of lies long enough the judges will invariably be sympathetic and he won’t have to serve a single day for the destruction he has wrought.
My prayers are with the victims and their families.
Here is the first article.
And another, with more detail.
Two brothers. One molested weekly after choir practise. One molested at school.
Nine months conditional sentence!
My heart aches for those victims, and for their families. This is so wrong. It is so terribly terribly wrong. He should be locked up for the rest of his life.
And another with still more details. And, by the sound of it, he was after a third brother as well.
“You robbed me of my faith.”
Yes, indeed. That’s what these wolves in sheep’s clothing do.
The Crown said that the court must denounce Allen’s conduct in the strongest terms possible.
What am I missing? Where is the strong denunciation?
This sounds very familiar, poor old man in poor health give him a break!!!! My opimion is, you do the crime you pay the price. Poor health gets played up a lot in the court system. Sylvestre was in poor health and he spent the rest of his time in prison, these clergy seem to be made of teflon, because nothing sticks to them.
As for the survivors of this, know that there are many in your corner and you have done the right and proper thing, keep your heads up high and may strength and some sort of peace help you through this. Well done I am proud of the courage this took.
Take care, as one knows another.
Remember there was a shooting at Pius X HS in the 70’s . . . . look at that bit of history I wonder if it is connected ?
I was a student at Pius for 5 years graduating in 1974. One of my classmates use to go and wrestle with Father Allen. We knew something was up.
I can’t wait for the day that those students abused by the most popular male lay teacher come forward and charge him. This was the guy who lost his coaching privileges forever in 1969.
A friend of mine walked in on him in the shower with a young male student and was too shocked to do anything but walk by. I am going to call him and ask him to go to the police.
*Pius what did you think of Father Lunney??
*It seems Fr Lunney was surrounded by pedophilles and never had a clue hmmmm.
Father Allen is dead. According to a comment posted on the site by Orion he will be b uried from St. Patrick’s Basilica in Ottawa on Tuesday 23 December 2014. I have no further details.
Please pray for Father Allen’s victims.
I pray that before his death Father Allen made his peace with God and that God will have mercy on his soul. I wish an eternity in Hell on no one.
So, Father Allen will be buried from St Patrick’s Basilica, Ottawa.
One can only hope those planning his burial will be sensitive to the harm Allen caused during his lifetime and demonstrate this awareness by having a sober, God-focussed event, not a glossing-over, pie-in-your-eye final insult to those he so grievously harmed. Avoid an institutional response which is insensitive and defiant. The victims deserve so very much better than that.
(For many in Arctic Canada, the searing pain of the bells-and-whistles burial of Father Martin Houston, Devil of Grollier Hall, presided over by Archbishop LeGatt, of St Boniface Diocese, remains unresolved. Statements re “impaired memory” are often made to excuse the offender. In the burial of Father Houston, there was “impaired institutional memory” which was and remains a disgrace. Please do not repeat this travesty in the burial of Father Allen.)
Yes, – no putting him right into Heaven, and no euologizing what a wonderful wonderful priest he was.
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Steve – Your time spent around Allen was in a different time, and circumstances. You probably sensed (as I did in 1974) that to speak up would result in you being called a liar, and being ostracized by your “faith” community.
It’s not your fault that this happened! Please don’t allow the unfounded guilt and shame to overcome you, if that is what’s happening here.
Thank you for sharing your experience! Just by you coming forward now, you have likely helped a lot of people in this matter! Take Care! Mike.
I knew Father Allen when I was a student teacher at St Pius and the following year when I was on staff there for a year.
I never really got to know him and I never suspected that any abuse was going on. However it did not really surprise me when I read that he was involved with students sexually.
I found his religion class to be distasteful and borderline questionable. One day he had me supervise his class while he used a VCR to show a program that depicted full frontal nudity to his students. I wanted to leave the room.
He was known for constantly using the VCR in his lessons. This was a bad habit that I picked up from him.
I knew Father Bob and Father Lunney and others. The abuse was very well hidden. I never saw or heard anything.
My son was a victim of Father Crampton
Archbishop Plourde called me and told me if I spoke the the police or
Media I would be anathema
In other words excommunicated
My son had a vocation to the priesthood and was a
server for many years
Crampton became a family friend and slowly
Seduced my son who trusted and respected him
My family no longer attends church
My marriage broke up and my sons life has never
I feel the family needs to be respected by the church and
Acknowledgement of the pain we all suffered at the hands of Plouffe
I lost all my church friends as he painted us as a bunch of rednecks
Out to “get” the church
I was mortified I love my church
And Crampton passed onboys to Behan