Once convicted of sex crime, priest returns to church

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CTVNews.ca

Date: Wed. Feb. 1 2012 10:47 PM ET

Rev. Wayne Lynch pleaded guilty in 1999 to indecently assaulting a 13-year-old boy in the 1970s. He received a conditional sentence of two years less a day and was placed on probation for 18 months.Rev. Wayne Lynch pleaded guilty in 1999 to indecently assaulting a 13-year-old boy in the 1970s. He received a conditional sentence of two years less a day and was placed on probation for 18 months.
Rev. Wayne Lynch pleaded guilty in 1999 to indecently assaulting a 13-year-old boy in the 1970s. He received a conditional sentence of two years less a day and was placed on probation for 18 months.

Rev. Wayne Lynch pleaded guilty in 1999 to indecently assaulting a 13-year-old boy in the 1970s. He received a conditional sentence of two years less a day and was placed on probation for 18 months.

A Nova Scotia priest who sexually assaulted a young altar boy more than three decades ago is once again preaching to a small-town Anglican congregation, an upsetting revelation to his victim.

Rev. Wayne Lynch pleaded guilty in 1999 to indecently assaulting a 13-year-old boy in the 1970s. He received a conditional sentence of two years less a day and was placed on probation for 18 months.

Since then, he has been slowly regaining responsibilities at St. Luke’s Anglican Church in Annapolis Royal, N.S. The church’s decision to welcome Lynch back has upset some parishioners, and particularly his victim.

“I was beyond stunned, I couldn’t comprehend that any organization like the Anglican Church could do something like that again to me after this many years,” Glenn Johnson told CTV News.

Now living in Ottawa, Johnson has settled a lawsuit against the Church and says he was led to believe Lynch’s days within the organization were over.

Lynch is now allowed to preach and read the gospel during Sunday masses, Rev. Ron Cutler, who is the acting bishop, told CTV Atlantic on Tuesday. With permission, Lynch can also perform marriage ceremonies and officiate baptisms and funerals.

But he has no pastor responsibilities and doesn’t counsel parishioners or visit them, Culter said.

“We do believe in reconciliation if at all possible.”

Lynch voluntarily gave up his priest’s licence when he was charged. After serving his sentence, he asked to be reinstated, but he still does not have a licence and he’s not employed by the church.

Culter said he has received no official complaints against Lynch, but some parishioners said they feel uneasy about his return.

“He has done wrong, so nobody wants that back,” said one woman, while another expressed surprise that the church forgave Lynch’s crime.

“I don’t feel the same as I used to,” said another parishioner.

While it seems the Church is ready to forgive, Johnson says he still struggles.

“I don’t get anybody to help me try to work around it the way all his old buddies from the church seem to be doing,” he said.

When contacted by CTV, Lynch refused to comment. Culter said any future complaints against Lynch will be taken “very seriously.”

With a report from CTV Atlantic Bureau Chief Todd Battis

2 Responses to Once convicted of sex crime, priest returns to church

  1. Sylvia says:

    A number of people sent me this link so I decided to post it, This relates to the Anglican Church, but of interest because of the mindset which allows a convicted molester to hold a position of influence within the church. Very disturbing.

  2. Nellie in Toronto says:

    There is no reason to believe that any denomination would not do the same. What prevents and minimizes the chances of this happening is brave survivors continuing to be vigilant and reporting when churches try to “slip” these past offenders back into ministry. 

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