Kingston Whig Standard
Wednesday, April 26, 2017 7:28:00 EDT PM
A retired Roman Catholic priest convicted in September of sexually assaulting a young boy in Kingston over a period of about four years in the late 1980s and early 1990s was sentenced Wednesday to three years in prison.
Robin Quinton Gwyn, 69, has also been ordered included on the Sex Offender Information Registry for 20 years and Superior Court Justice Wolfram Tausendfreund has imposed a 20-year judge’s order that forbids the priest attending public parks, swimming areas and other places where children are or could reasonably be expected to be present, including play grounds, school grounds and community centres. He’s prohibited as well from volunteering in any capacity that places him in a position of trust or authority over anyone under 16 and is barred from having personal contact with children under 16 unless supervised by a responsible adult approved by the court.
Gwyn was a teacher for 10 years before entering seminary and while still a candidate for the priesthood in 1985 was assigned to work for a summer with the pastor at Holy Family on Wiley Street and the following summer at St. Anthony of Padua in Centreville, north of Camden East.
He served as a deacon at St. Mary’s Cathedral in 1987, was ordained there in 1988, and was then assigned to St. Francis Xavier Parish in Brockville.
Three years later, in 1991, Gwyn was appointed chaplain of Regiopolis-Notre Dame Catholic High School, a position he continued to fill after transferring in 1992 to Kingston’s francophone parish, St Francois D’Assise.
Ultimately, he left this area in 2002, however, to take over a parish in Carleton Place, then abruptly took a leave of absence and retired in 2004, moving to Nova Scotia where he’s lived for the past 10 years on a 50-acre horse farm owned by his brother.
It was disclosed during his trial that his leave of absence and retirement followed a complaint that resulted Gwyn undergoing psycho-sexual assessments in 2004 at the Royal Ottawa Hospital in Ottawa and the Southdown Institute in Aurora, north of Toronto, which specializes in treating clergy and ‘vowed religious’. Both assessments identified him as a homosexual pedophile and disclosed that he’d admitted to having had nine sexual relationships with boys between 14 and 18 years old prior to 2004, including four with teenage students when he was a teacher in his twenties.
Following his assessments Gwyn was, in his own words, “de-parished” by the church. But he continues to be a priest and according to assistant Crown attorney Gerard Laarhuis receives a pension of $2,400 a month. Laarhuis said the church also “continues to support him with respect to his legal bills.”
Notwithstanding his earlier admissions Gwyn pleaded not guilty to molesting his accuser in the trial that Justice Tausendfreund decided, requiring his victim — now in his forties — to testify in open court.
The judge commented on the rarity of having a witness so overwhelmed they bolt from the courtroom during testimony, much less having them do it twice and said Gwyn’s accuser “running out of the courtroom spoke volumes to me, at least.”
Justice Tausendfreund observed that when Gwyn met his accuser the man was a lonely, friendless boy, from an abusive family. He felt like a misfit and the judge said his vulnerability must have been apparent to the priest, yet Gwyn’s interactions with him were “akin to grooming him and that led to sexual contact.”