“Ex-priest, Surrey resident, faces seven more sex charges” and other articles re former Anglican priest Ralph Rowe

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SurreyLeader.com

Published: May 09, 2012 4:00 PM
Updated: May 09, 2012 4:42 PM

By Kevin Diakiw – Surrey North Delta Leader

Rowe--web.jpg

Ralph Rowe, former Anglican priest and scout leader

Rowe file photo courtesy Kenora Daily Miner & News

A Surrey man described in court as one of the most prolific sex offenders in Canada faces seven more charges of sexually assaulting young people.

The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) have charged former Anglican priest and scout leader Ralph Rowe with five new counts of sexual assault and two counts of indecent assault.

The charges, laid on April 22 by the OPP North West Region Crime Unit in Thunder Bay, relate to incidents that allegedly occurred in northwestern Ontario between 1973 and 1986 in the First Nations communities of Fort Severn, Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug, Wunnumin Lake and Kingfisher Lake.

Rowe, 72, currently lives in Surrey.

An OPP statement issued Tuesday (May 8) said Rowe was served a summons by an RCMP officer and is scheduled to appear in court in Kenora, Ont. on May 31.

He has been incarcerated twice before, serving more than six years in jail for multiple counts of sex-related crimes involving boys as young as six.

The incidents occurred during the 1970s and 1980s while Rowe was travelling to remote First Nations communities in Manitoba and Ontario to conduct church services and youth events.

Rowe was described by a Crown prosecutor as one of the “most prolific” sex offenders Canada has ever seen.

At his first trial in Kenora, Ontario Superior Court in 1994, Rowe pleaded guilty to 39 counts of indecent assault involving 19 boys and was sentenced to six years.

Under the terms of his plea bargain, Rowe would serve no additional jail time if convicted of other similar offences.

So later in 1994, when Rowe pleaded guilty to molesting three other boys, there was no time added to his sentence because of the plea bargain.

After Rowe served four-and-a-half years of his six-year sentence, he was released on parole.

Rowe left his home in Thompson, Man. and went to live in Surrey, where his older brother, Ernest “Art” Rowe – a retired minister from Fort. St. John – worked as a fill-in minister at St. Michael’s Anglican church in Newton at 12996 60 Ave.

At the time, members of the St. Michael’s congregation remembered Ralph Rowe as a soft-spoken person who maintained a low profile until his brother’s death in 2003.

After that, they said, Rowe began to take a more prominent role, singing with the church choir and occasionally delivering prayers from the front of the church, not as a minister but as a lay member of the church.

The congregation was never formally informed of Rowe’s criminal convictions.

At the time, Canadian police did not routinely notify communities about the presence of a potentially dangerous sexual offender.

However, police and parole officers did know about Rowe’s presence, and so did the local diocese.

Rowe was supposed to avoid contact with young people and to regularly report to the local parole office.

In a 2007 interview with The Surrey-North Delta Leader, Ronald Harrison, executive archdeacon for the Diocese of New Westminster, said steps were taken to limit Rowe’s involvement, especially with children, but the church could not exclude him altogether.

“As Christians, we believe in forgiveness,” Harrison said.

Rowe’s past did not come to light until he was arrested in 2007 on new charges of forcible rape and attempted rape.

He was convicted and sentenced to another three years in jail.

He was released on parole in 2009, one day after he was found guilty on seven new charges – six counts of indecent assault and one count of sexual assault.

At the time, the deputy grand chief of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation in northern Ontario, Alvin Fiddler, said Rowe should have remained in prison because of the new convictions.

However, the Kenora, Ont. Superior Court judge who found Rowe guilty decided he should not serve any more time in prison because the “serial prosecution” of the elderly former priest amounted to a harsh punishment.

@diakiw

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24 more native men come forward in Boy Scout leader’s sex abuse case

The Toronto Star (thestar.com)

Published On Tue Nov 8 2011

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By Tanya Talaga Queen’s Park Bureau

Ralph Rowe was a burly Anglican priest who flew himself across northern Ontario for almost two decades, tending to churches in 20 First Nations communities.

He had the perfect cover for a pedophile.

The churchman was also a Scout leader who used his positions to surround himself with his prey.

But in 1994, his crimes caught up with him at Wunnumin Lake, a fly-in reserve 360 kilometres north of Sioux Lookout. Convicted on 39 counts of indecent assault against 15 boys aged 8 to 14, Rowe was sentenced to six years and served four and a half.

Now, 24 First Nations men have gone to the Ontario Provincial Police to complain that they, too, were molested by Rowe.

But part of his 1994 plea deal may prevent Rowe from being sentenced to more time. The Crown agreed that any other cases that surfaced would not result in more jail time as long as they predated the offence and involved no more serious behaviour.

That’s not good enough for Nishnawbe Aski Nation Deputy Grand Chief Mike Metatawabin.

NAN, a political organization representing 49 northern First Nations, fears the 24 men will not get their day in court because of the deal.

“These men definitely want to go to trial,” Metatawabin said. “They want to face Rowe.”

Rowe is now 72 and believed to be living in Surrey, B.C. He could not be reached for comment. The Anglican Church of Canada’s Paul Feheley, principal secretary to the primate, said Rowe resigned from the Anglican clergy in 1988.

The Rowe case has revived memories north of the 48th parallel since the CBC and Los Angeles Times joint investigation uncovered news that the Boy Scouts of America kept more than 5,000 suspected child molesters named in confidential files.

In light of the recent 24 allegations, the attorney general’s office in Toronto said it is up to police to determine whether to investigate further.

“The Crown has not made a decision with respect to prosecuting any future charges, should they be laid,” said Brendan Crawley of the Ministry of the Attorney General.

For the last several years, NAN has run a support group for 131 men they call the Ralph Rowe Survivors Network. Since 2005, the ministry has provided $1.5 million in funding to the group.

“The damage this person did to many innocent young men while he was working has caused so much dysfunction to many families,” Metatawabin said.

While they do not have direct proof, NAN believes 18 suicides can be indirectly traced to Rowe’s abuse. They also think more victims are out there.

“This is like the residential school scenario, only there has been no official apology or acknowledgment by both government and the communities,” Metatawabin said.

Scouts Canada spokesman John Petitti said “it is a matter of public record” Rowe used his position of trust as an Anglican priest to commit terrible crimes during the 1970s and 1980s.

“He also abused his community status to gain entry and then betray the values of Scouts Canada,” Petitti said in a statement to the Star. “Tragically some of his victims were also Scouters.

“Although we are constrained in our ability to speak to past legal settlements, his crimes were obviously horrendous and our deepest sympathies and concern extend to all those who suffered harm.”

Rowe has been brought forward before the courts since 1994.

In 2006, Rowe faced another 31 alleged victims and 75 charges “spread over a vast expanse of Northwestern Ontario constituting more than 60,000 square miles in size,” wrote Justice Erwin Stach in a July 2006 court document.

Preliminary hearings winnowed the number of charges against Rowe from 75 to 57 and complainants from 31 to 25.

Most charges concerned sexual assault and indecent assault and in the vast majority he pleaded guilty, said Robert Sinding, his lawyer at the time.

Of the 31, five went to trial. “The ones that went to trial was where the Crown alleged they didn’t fit within the plea agreement because they were more serious,” he said.

According to the evidence in three trials, the sexual offences involved inappropriate sexual fondling, masturbation and mutual masturbation.

Two cases ended up in convictions. Rowe was sentenced to three years in prison — one three-year sentence and another one-year concurrent.

In 2009, he was brought before the courts again on six new charges of indecent assault and one count of sexual assault. But those charges were similar to what he faced before, said Sinding.

So the Kenora judge sentenced him to a one-year sentence concurrent to what he was already serving. As a result, he only spent one additional night in jail.

Between 1971 and 1986, Rowe travelled throughout 18 isolated First Nations communities north of Thunder Bay flying into Fort Severn, Fort Hope, Sachigo Lake First Nation and Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug.

He learned Oji-Cree so he could communicate with the community elders and their children.

Rowe would take the boys on scout jamborees or trips across the country. Some of the abuse happened on planes, in the mission houses and on camping trips.

Don Hewitt is a former Ontario Provincial Police officer who originally worked with Rowe victims since the first cases were uncovered at Wunnumin Lake in 1992.

He is retired now and living in Prince Edward Island but he still flies to Thunder Bay every month to help the victims face the justice system.

“You know, with child abuse, there isn’t a quick end to this. It takes a long time to come out and a lot of courage,” he said.

“If this case was happening anywhere else, there would be hell to pay. Look at Cornwall, look at that investigation. But we don’t have that in Thunder Bay. They are forgotten.”

The Cornwall public inquiry, established in 2005, examined allegations of abuse involving youth but the 4-year, $53 million inquiry failed to show a pedophile ring.

A disturbing factor in the Rowe case is that a 1994 deal with the Crown prevents new victims from coming forward, said Toronto lawyer Julian Falconer.

“The Crown, by agreeing to seek concurrent sentences, if ‘substantially similar allegations’ arise, they are clearly sending the message that there is a one-size fits all approach to sexual abuse against First Nations children,” he said from Toronto.

“If you are guilty of one count of sexual abusing a First Nations child it is the equivalent of being guilty of 10 or 20 or 30,” Falconer said.

“This is a classic example, in my opinion, of what never would have happened if this kind of tragedy happened among white kids.”

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Pedophile on parole: Court decides to free Ralph Rowe despite new convictions

Ralph Rowe molested dozens of First Nations boys, some as young as six.

http://web.bcnewsgroup.com/portals-code/searchd.cgi?sid=25795876&papername=surrey&id=1593730

23 July 2009

By Dan Ferguson

A Surrey man who molested dozens of boys in the 1970s and 1980s has been granted parole.

The decision to release Ralph Rowe has drawn outrage from the 18 small First Nations communities in Ontario where the attacks took place.

Nishnawbe Aski Nation Deputy Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler said Rowe should have remained in prison because he was recently convicted of seven more sexual assaults that occurred during those years.

However, the Kenora, Ontario Superior Court judge who convicted Rowe decided he should not serve any more time in prison because the “serial prosecution” of the 69-year-old former priest amounted to a harsh punishment.

Rowe was released July 2, one day after he was convicted on the new charges – six counts of indecent assault and one count of sexual assault.

On Wednesday, Fiddler said the decision to free the convicted pedophile was an “insult” to the young men who testified against Rowe at his most recent trial.

Fiddler urged the Crown prosecutor’s office to appeal the decision.

“He is not rehabilitated,” Fiddler told The Leader, noting that Rowe failed to complete counselling courses for sex offenders while in jail.

“This [Rowe’s release] should be a concern to all the families where he might reside.”

Rowe has been convicted three times for molesting boys as young as six during the late 1970s and 1980s while he was working as a travelling minister to remote First Nations communities in Northern Ontario.

He came to live in Surrey after his first conviction in 1994.

The former Boy Scout leader had pleaded guilty to 39 counts of indecent assault and served four-and-a-half years of a six-year sentence.

At the time, one Crown prosecutor described Rowe as one of the most prolific pedophiles Canada has ever seen.

After he was granted parole, Rowe left his home in Thompson, Manitoba and went to live in Surrey, where his older brother Ernest “Art” Rowe, a retired minister from Fort. St. John worked as a fill-in minister at St. Michael’s Anglican church in Newton.

Members of the St. Michael’s congregation remember Ralph Rowe as a soft-spoken person who maintained a low profile until his brother’s death in 2003.

After that, they said Rowe began to take a more prominent role, singing with the church choir and occasionally delivering prayers from the front of the church, not as a minister but as a lay member of the church.

The congregation was never informed of Rowe’s criminal convictions.

At the time, Canadian police did not routinely notify communities about the presence of a potentially dangerous sexual offender.

Rowe’s past did not come to light until he was arrested in 2007 on new charges of forcible rape and attempted rape.

He was convicted and sentenced to another three years in jail.

[email protected]

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Ralph Rowe found guilty

Wawatay News Online

Thursday July 9, 2009

Although he was convicted of six new counts of indecent assault and one count of sexual assault July 2, Ralph Rowe was made a free man the next day.

Rowe, a former minister, pilot and Scout leader, faced the charges in Kenora before Justice Erwin Stach.

Stach sentenced Rowe to a concurrent sentence of one year. This meant the sentence he was currently serving, which was imposed by Stach July 7, 2007, was not extended.

Nishnawbe Aski Nation Deputy Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler expressed disappointment with Stach’s decision, saying Rowe should be spending considerable more time in prison for the effect he’s had on First Nation families.

“Based on the damage he’s done to the lives of these men and the communities (a concurrent sentence) just isn’t enough,” Fiddler said. “Ralph Rowe has shown no remorse and he hasn’t been rehabilitated. He will always be a threat to children.”

Rowe worked in 18 NAN First Nation communities between 1971 and 1986.

These are the sixth set of sexual-related charges he’s faced, dating back to incidents in the late 1970s and 1980s.

Rowe faced 21 charges at the onset of the trial. Most of those were indecent assault. The remaining three were sexual assault. His victims were all First Nations boys who were younger than 12 at the time.

Six charges were withdrawn prior to the trial’s launch when some of the victims decided against testifying.

Four other were acquitted when the alleged victim left the courtroom in the midst of testimony.

Two other charges were dropped when the complainant failed to attend the trial.

Rowe was also found not-guilty of two charges, one each of sexual assault and indecent assault.

Fiddler praised the strength of those men who faced their abuser.

“I admire the men who have gone through this,” he said.

In total, Rowe has been sentenced to 10-and-a-half years, having already served seven.

In the years since his first conviction, the Ralph Rowe Survivor’s Network was formed.

“The group is still active,” Fiddler said. “They’ve found the best support they can get is themselves through peer support.”

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New probe of predator

http://web.bcnewsgroup.com/portals-code/searchd.cgi?sid=25795876&papername=surrey&id=1048933

Aug 22 2007

By Dan Ferguson

Police are investigating the West Coast activities of Ralph Rowe, a 67-year-old Surrey resident described by one Crown prosecutor as one of the most prolific pedophiles Canada has ever seen.

The Leader has learned that police and parole officers are attempting to reconstruct where Rowe went and what the former Anglican minister and Scout leader did while he was attending church in Newton.

Rowe resided in Surrey for a period of time between 1998, when he finished serving his first jail sentence for sexually assaulting several young boys, and 2007, when he was convicted of additional charges and sent back to jail.

All of the sexual assault cases involved First Nations boys aged between six and 16 in remote northern Ontario communities from 1971 to 1986.

Last week, investigators went to the Surrey church that Rowe attended for several years, St. Michael’s Anglican church at 12996 60 Ave.

The pastor at St. Michael’s, Rev. Paul Illical, declined to discuss the visit.

“I have been instructed not to comment,” Illical told The Leader Monday. “I can’t say anything more.”

A source close to the investigation told The Leader the officers are reviewing Rowe’s conduct during his Surrey stay to see if he violated his terms of release.

Rowe was supposed to avoid contact with young people and to regularly report to the local parole office.

Some members of the congregation at St. Michael’s have told The Leader that Rowe was seen more than once in the company of a young Caucasian male who seemed to be in his early to mid-teens.

The boy did not appear to be a member of the congregation.

Rowe served four-and-a-half years of a six-year jail sentence after he pleaded guilty in a Kenora Ontario Superior Court trial in 1994 to 39 counts of indecent assault involving 19 boys.

After he was released from prison, Rowe went to live in Surrey where his older brother Ernest “Art” Rowe, a retired Anglican minister, worked as a fill-in minister at St. Michael’s.

Members of St. Michael’s congregation said Rowe kept a low profile until his brother’s death in 2003. After that, Rowe began to take a more prominent role, singing with the church choir and occasionally delivering prayers from the front of the church (not as a minister, but as a lay member of the church).

The congregation was not informed of Rowe’s record. At the time, police did not routinely notify communities about potentially dangerous sexual offenders.

However, police and parole officers did know about Rowe’s presence, and so did the local diocese.

Ronald Harrison, the Executive Archdeacon for the Diocese of New Westminster, said steps were taken to limit Rowe’s involvement, especially with children, but the church could not exclude him altogether.

“As Christians, we believe in forgiveness,” Harrison said.

Church members in Surrey were startled to discover that the soft-spoken man with the greying hair who helped out with church garage sales and construction projects was a notorious pedophile.

Barb and Neil Long learned about Rowe’s past during a vacation trip from their B.C. home to a vacation cabin near Kenora.

“It was in the Kenora Miner and News (the local newspaper),” Neil Long said.

The Longs said the congregation should have been told and Rowe should not have been allowed to sing with the choir and deliver prayers from the front of the church.

[email protected]

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Ralph Rowe trial begins in Kenora for abuse in First Nations

http://media.knet.ca/node/2728

May 8, 2007 – 7:52am | by Anonymous

From the Associated Content online …

Ralph Rowe Pleads Guilty to 20 Charges of Sexual Offenses
By Znuage – May 08, 2007

On Monday, May 7, 2007, the trial of a convicted sex offender Ralph Rowe, who was once an Anglican minister, began at the Superior Court of Justice in a Northwestern Ontario city. Rowe plead guilty to 20 charges of sexual offenses involving First Nation boys in Northern Ontario between 1977 and 1987. The counts are 10 counts of sexual assault and 10 counts of indecent assault.

There were actually 24 further counts involving the same victims, but since Rowe’s guilty pleas were to one count for each of the 20 victims. The Crown decided that there was no point in getting into a fight over a line in his criminal record. The trial will instead focus on 12 counts involving five different complainants, which was whittled down from a total of 56 charges originally on the indictment. The victims are from First Nation communities such as Muskrat Damn, Wunnumin Lake and Big Trout Lake.

The 20 counts Rowe pled to on Monday involved the fondling of and having boys masturbate him. The age of the boys range from five to fifteen years old. In most incidents, Ralph Rowe was the boys’ care giver, and the boys would frequently sleep overnight at his Anglican Church Mission House in the communities. On these nights, he would pick different boys to come and sleep in his bed each night. Rowe was also a Boy Scout Master, and would sexually assault the boys on Boy Scout camping trips.

“They were young kids, they had faith in the church and a belief in Mr. Rowe and it’s been a real betrayal of trust,” Alvin Fiddler, deputy grand chief for the Nishnawbe Aski Nation told CBC News.

In 1994, Ralph Rowe, who now lives in Surrey, B.C., also faced similar sexual offenses involving 16 aboriginal boys between 1976 and 1982. He faced the charges at the Wunnumin Lake courtroom, and was sentenced to six years of jail time. He only served four and a half years. Superior Court Justice Erwin Statch announced that because of the plea agreement made in 1994, Rowe will not be sentenced to additional prison time for these twenty convictions, only concurrent time on his previous jail sentence. However Statch said for more serious charges, he could impose additional jail time if Ralph Rowe is convicted.

Justice Erwin Stach adjourned the proceedings until this morning, Tuesday, May 8 2007, where the victim impact statements from many of the twenty victims will be read in court.

1 Response to “Ex-priest, Surrey resident, faces seven more sex charges” and other articles re former Anglican priest Ralph Rowe

  1. Dana Cohen says:

    He should be serving life. People have killed themselves as a result of his actions. A society that does not protect its children is a society not worth having. Crimes against children require stronger laws and are in a different category altogether. I don’t care about forgiving him. I want Justice for these children!! What does the church say about the community in Surrey not even knowing about him in their midst? Where is their moral spine?

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