Kingston Whig Standard
Retired Roman Catholic priest Robyn Q. Gwyn, who was found guilty in late September of sexually assaulting a Kingston man when his accuser was still a boy in the late 1980s to early 1990s, pleaded guilty Monday to victimizing a second child between 2000 and 2002.
Assistant Crown attorney Gerard Laarhuis said the second victim first came to light in May 2014 when Deacon William Gervais, the archbishop’s delegate for misconduct, filed a report with Kingston Police.
He told Superior Court Justice Brian Abrams that Gervais disclosed a former altar boy, by then in his early twenties, had revealed the abuse to church officials because he was having “flashbacks” about it.
The young man subsequently provided a statement to police in late July 2014 and officers laid additional charges against Gwyn in November that year.
According to the portion of the young man’s statement, read into the court record by Laarhuis, he’d been participating in an altar server appreciation day and was playing soccer with fellow altar boys on Frontenac Street, outside St. Francois D’Assise Catholic Church when Gwyn approached him.
He told police he was about eight years old at the time.
Gwyn was appointed to Kingston’s francophone parish in 1992 and lived in the priests residence attached to the church.
His victim recalled that Gwyn invited him into the church for a glass of water and poured it for him in the kitchen before ushering him into a ground-floor sitting room. He told police there were pictures on the walls in that room and Gwyn explained them to him, and told him that he had more interesting souvenirs upstairs.
He remembered the priest directing him up the stairs and into his bedroom, telling him to sit on the bed and sitting down next to him.
There, after a time, Gwyn “opened his pants,” the priest’s accuser told police officers, and took out his penis and “he asked if I had one, too,” the statement continues.
He recalled that Gwyn then helped him undo his own pants and they sat on the bed and played with their penises together.
Laarhuis told the judge that the priest, who’s now 68, quickly moved beyond masturbation, however.
His accuser told police that Gwyn made him perform oral sex and described choking as the adult male, guiding him with a hand on the back of his head, grew excited.
Notwithstanding Gwyn’s guilty plea, both Laarhuis and Justice Abrams conducted plea verifications with him after the facts had been read in.
Laarhuis said he wanted it clearly on record that he admits committing the acts described, and Justice Abrams wanted assurance that, in pleading guilty, Gwyn understands his legal jeopardy.
Laarhuis noted that, even though he hasn’t yet been sentenced for his September conviction, with Monday’s plea, “Mr. Gwyn is now a repeat offender.”
Superior Court Justice Wolfram Tausendfreund, who tried Gwyn on his first set of charges, has already ordered a pre-sentence report and sexual assessment of the retired priest, who now lives in Nova Scotia. His file on that conviction has been sent to an assignment court in November to set a sentencing date based, in part, on the expected completion dates of those reports.
Laarhuis and Gwyn’s lawyer, Clyde Smith, agreed the file on his second conviction should go to an assignment court in January to schedule sentencing. They anticipate by then the necessary reports will either be completed or a date for their completion will be known.