Prominent pastor of Toronto’s Metropolitan Community Church charged

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Several people sent links regarding the  sex abuse charges laid against gay rights activist Brent Hawkes, pastor of Toronto’s Metropolitan Community Church.

Brent Hawkes is not Roman Catholic priest  A 1972 graduate of Mount Allison University in Nova Scotia, Hawkes attained a Doctorate of Divinity from the University of Toronto in 1986.  I have no idea what religion he was before he joined the Metropolitan Community Church.  I thought he was Anglican, but can find nothing to confirm or refute my recollection.

Anyway, he is now facing sex abuse charges dating to the 2970s in Kings Country Nova Scotia.  he denies the allegations.  I normally do not post articles regarding charges against non-Catholics, but, in this instance, because he is such a prominent figure in Canada and because of the interest, here it is:

03 February 2015:  “Rev. Brent Hawkes supported by friends, churchgoers after sex charges” & related articles

Enough for now,


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56 Responses to Prominent pastor of Toronto’s Metropolitan Community Church charged

  1. George says:


    I know this is ‘late’ but twice in your article, you call him “Brian Hawkes”, despite having copied and pasted his correct name – “Brent Hawkes”.

    And, he was raised Pentecostal/Baptist, having one parent from each faith.

    Just an ‘FYI’ for accuracy.

    P.S. You may want to ‘update’ your column with a report on his “Not guilty” decision, lest you leave a false impression


    • Sylvia says:

      Thanks George. Corrected.

      Yes, I saw the news re acquittal. I am anxious to see the ruling itself posted but, pending that will post several articles.

  2. George says:

    P.S. Please also ‘update’ your other article:

    People should have the results of the case there, too.


    • Geenda says:

      Sylvia as always will do the right thing and post the “not guilty” verdict. And he has indeed been found not guilty in a court of law. However, many priests were found “not guilty” who were guilty as sin and I dare say I believe the complainants in this case.

      • George says:

        You are, of course, free to “believe the complainants in this case”, Geenda.

        But please note, there was only one “complainant. And he (along with the two witnesses) admit they were”blind drunk” on the night in question.

        There were too many inconsistencies in their testimony. At first the complainant said he was “coerced” into going into the trailer, and then later said he could not remember that happening. He said he was taken into the bedroom, while one of the witnesses said the alleged activity took place in the living room. They said the defendant supplied the booze when in fact they admitted they had brought it themselves.

        The complainant’s testimony sounded like it had been pulled out of a lurid romance novel or two. (I can quote some if you’d like.) He had had 40 years to practice his testimony. And to do so (and possibly to collude) with his buddies, the witnesses, to ensure their testimonies ‘matched’.

        He had also been in therapy. The judge pointed out that “reconstructed memories” are often based on “feelings” and “emotions” rather than facts.

        Et cetera.

        All of this together amounts to a “reasonable doubt” that the event occurred as the complainant testified, and that is the benchmark that was (and always must be) applied. It boils down to ‘he said/he said’. Even the charge of “gross indecency” no longer exists in Canada (and hasn’t since the 1980s).

        Sorry, but blurry ‘memories’ from a very drunk 17 year old from a night 40 years ago is not even close to the systemic abuse of adolescent boys by Catholic priests. Nor was the defendant a clergyperson at the time.

        My $.02.

        • Geenda says:

          No doubt that there was reasonable doubt and that’s the test… but ask yourself why a young man would wait 40 years to charge someone with a crime.. and why someone would “scheme” to ruin someone’s life… these complainants wait 40 years because they are too emotionally damaged to do anything about it earlier…

          • George says:

            I have my own theories about that, but they do not coincide with your particular view.

            At any rate, if he could wait 40 years and function in society for that long, he wasn’t very “damaged”. I suspect he may well have been a closeted homosexual himself and couldn’t accept that fact. It happens a lot, sadly, due to various societal/familial pressures.

  3. Sylvia says:

    You are so right Geenda.

    I often encourage people to attend trials, both to support the victim/complainant and to see and hear first-hand what happens at trial, which includes, but is not limited to, what high-priced defense lawyers do and say to deliberately rattle and/or confuse and/or deceive and/or denigrate a witness. The amazing thing is that it’s all legal.

    I urge people to attend. Not just one trial, but two or more. After a while I am sure that you will start to grasp what is happening, all in the name of justice. In the process you will realize I am sure that a good Crown is worth his or her weight in gold, and also that, sad to say, complainants./victims have no choice in the Crown. Yes, the accused can shop for the best that money can ‘buy,’ the complainant gets whoever is assigned. I personally have discovered that, from my perspective, it’s not always a level playing field in there. To the contrary, and, often, far from it.

    I wasn’t at the trial in Kentville. I have my thoughts. I agree with you Geenda. It is well known that it takes a long long time for complainants to first deal with the abuse and to then muster up the courage to go to police. I think the ones who do so readily are extremely rare – as those who have been through it have discovered, it is a difficult, emotional and painful process.

    And so, now we wait to see the judge’s explanation of his decision. Meanwhile, keep the complainant in your prayers.

    • George says:

      Your “prayers” are extremely selective, to say the least. It dumps on the premise of innocent until proven guilty. The anguish of being falsely accused is similarly “a difficult, emotional and painful process” for the defendant. And, as you admit, you weren’t even there at the trial. (Nor did it seem you had kept up with the testimony during the trial – which was reported on.)

      It seems you start with the assumption of guilt. Sad.

      I strongly suspect the ‘complainant’ was/is a severely closeted homosexual and is projecting what he (feared or wanted – take your pick).

      • 1 abandonedsheep says:

        And, just how did you arrive at that conclusion George? Are you personally involved with the Pastor? Do you have knowledge he has confided in you?

        • George says:

          It wasn’t a “conclusion”. I said “I strongly suspect” it. Lots of gay men aren’t happy that they’re gay. Witness the Orlando assassin. He hated that he was gay and knew he would never be accepted by either his family nor his faith community. Such people often lash out and try to harm others rather than accept themselves as a gay person, fully capable of having loving, fulfilling relationships.

          I also pointed out how selective the ‘prayers’ are – they presume guilt and ignore the pain the accused is put through.

        • George says:

          Yes, I am sympathetic – to the wrongly accused and to the actually ‘wronged’.

  4. Sylvia says:

    In response to your comment to me re prayer George, I am sure you will agree that there were many supporters of Rev. Hawkes praying for Rev. Hawkes. That seems to be the norm: the assumption on the part of parishioners and friends of the Accused that the complainant is lying. I always ask for prayers for the complainant, both because I am aware that there are rarely calls to pray for them, and because I believe that those who find the courage to step into a legal system where almost invariably all rights go to the Accused and none to the Complainant in pursuit of justice needs those prayers .

    As for your comment that “I strongly suspect the ‘complainant’ was/is a severely closeted homosexual and is projecting what he (feared or wanted – take your pick)” – disgusting! Really really disgusting. Sick!

    • 1 abandonedsheep says:

      Sylvia, I think he is saying, or trying to indicate that he believes we do not understand what the poor gay person goes through during his chosen life style !
      Frankly, I do not have much sympathy there.

      • Sylvia says:

        What disgusts me is the inference that (1)the complainant is or must be homosexual,and (2) that the complainant,at age 16, wanted to be sexually accosted /abused/assaulted by Hawkes.


        • George says:

          I said he likely is. And said why I think that might be true, complete with examples.

          But, being gay is NOT “sick”. That you find that he might be homosexual “sick and disgusting” speaks volumes about how you were raised.

          The complainant was 17 at the time (per the trial transcripts). No one wants to be “accosted” or “abused” or “assaulted”. This wasn’t that. And your inference that it IS is pretty “sick” and “disgusting” too.

          Go back to exposing child-raping priests. This isn’t that.

      • George says:

        Homosexuality is neither “chosen” NOR a “lifestyle”.

        And boy, did you EVER get what I was “saying” wrong.

        The complainant is, very, very likely gay himself. For many people, that is not an easy thing to admit or embrace – and that’s largely due to the propagation of your “chosen lifestyle” nonsense. He has been taught it is something or which to be ashamed. It is not.

        To say that one’ sexual orientation is a “choice” means that YOU, yourself, are attracted to others of the same gender but you choose not to act on that attraction and choose instead to live a heterosexual lifestyle. At the very least, it would make you bisexual.

        Either one is or one is not attracted to others of the same sex, and no one has ever offered a ‘signing bonus’ big enough to make heterosexuals ‘choose’ to be attracted to people they are not attracted to. Human sexuality just doesn’t work that way.

        You had me when you admitted you “do not have much sympathy”. You made that perfectly clear.

    • George says:

      The complainant got repeated prayers too – from Hawkes’ congregants, no less. And from me, personally.

      I’m sorry you found my comment both “sick” and “disgusting”. It is often the case, and I even gave an example of one ‘in extremis’.

      Gay people raised in right-wing households are often told THEY are “disgusting” and “sick” … and, all too often, get kicked out of the home by their (self-)righteous parents. And, they need – and get – prayers from me all the time.

      The guilt can be severe. I didn’t accept the fact that I was gay until I was 17, and I even carried on some of the ‘guilting’ myself. I was President of the Inter-School Christian Fellowship in high school, and was doing MUCH condemning homosexuals and homosexuality – so very deep in denial of my very humanity.

      If someone came out of the blue and accused me of doing something 40 years ago, I would be hard-pressed to remember any details at all. And, I wouldn’t have been “blind drunk” either – I was raised a teetotaller.

      One important part of the problem is the conflation with being gay and being a child molester. The laws that helped to perpetuate that and were used to hurt gay people were done away with in the 1980s, thanks be to God. The smear seemed to stick then and it’s columns like this that extend the smear, despite the fact that Hawkes was found not guilty.

      We are going to have to agree to disagree on this. My comment was not meant to be ‘disagreeable’, only a hunch based on observation, testimony and experienced lived lives.

      This site seems dedicated to exposing the systemic rape of minors that the RCC let happen – and covered up. I hope your prayers will lead you to continue to focus on that because Hawke’s case is not that.

      Peace be unto you.

      • 1 abandonedsheep says:

        George you made your choice.
        Cry me a river.

      • Sylvia says:

        First of all George, I don’t believe you identified yourself as homosexual in any of your comments, did you?

        Finally, I think you must agree that many homosexuals do molest. Not all. But, many do.

        • JoeB says:

          Many straight people molest, not all but many do. This is a human problem not a sexual orientation problem.

        • George says:

          So, I outed myself. Again. ;{O)

          And no, I do NOT “agree” that “many homosexuals do molest”. I suspect that it would be about the same ‘rate’ as it would be for heterosexuals.

          It would be like me saying, ‘I think you must agree that many heterosexuals do molest. Not all. But, many do.’ It’s a useless ‘factoid’ that is irrelevant because we aren’t talking about “many homosexuals”. We are talking about one in particular (who was found not guilty) and possibly another who could not (cannot still?) accept that he is, and lashed out in frustrated anger. Like I said, been there and done that. The main difference being that I came to accept that my sexual orientation is every bit the gift from God that healthy heterosexuals consider their orientation to be, and is neither something to be ashamed of, nor something that is anything remotely connected to rape or child-molestation.

          • Sylvia says:

            The bottom line is that there are homosexuals who molest children. That’s all I was getting at. And honestly George, I think you know that’s what I meant.

          • Geenda says:

            While I do believe that heterosexuals molest children just as much as homosexuals, in the case of the clergy it is almost always grown adult men molesting boys. (I am an exception to this). Having said that you should read about Newton and Truong….

        • George says:

          Who is “pushing” the notion “that paedophilia is a sexual orientation”?

        • George says:

          Re: “there are homosexuals who molest children”

          No one here has said otherwise. But it’s a useless fact, since many heterosexuals also molest children.

          It is gratuitous of you to say that because the implication is that it is THE predilection of homosexuals, and it simply is not.

          • 1 abandonedsheep says:

            George, you seem to know much about the practice of homosexuals, do yo work for the CBC, or did you up until last Summer?
            Possibly you could get on W5, they are usually interested in modern day happenings.
            Sleep tight !

  5. George says:

    What a strange post, sheep.

    Being gay, it is only natural for me to know a fair bit about homosexuals.

    No, I’ve never worked for the CBC. (What happened “last Summer” that makes it relevant?)

    We all live in “modern day” times. Why you (or anyone else) might not be “interested in modern day happenings” is a mystery.

    Slept like a baby, thanks for your ‘concern’.

    But how your post is relevant to or advances the discussion on this particular trial is also a mystery.

    Peace be unto you, sheep.

    • 1 abandonedsheep says:

      For a self-indentified homosexual to call a post from a normal person is really weird !!
      If you are relying on *modern day thinking* you indeed are in a very strange world !
      You obviously try to portray yourself as an intelligent man, yet are quickly ready to cast aside the teachings, lessons, and history of more than 20 centuries in favour of the latest trends ! Never before in the history of the World in these last 2o centuries has the World been so confused, off track, and aimless !
      It is evident you think that * particular trial* is of historical importance. It is or was not. It was just a continuation of people trying to right what they believe a terrible wrong, and, in the outcome so far, have lost their case.
      It is an old and tried saying that * the only way great evil can triumph is for good people to do nothing*.
      You claim, by your Church attendance, to be interested in the Word, which is JESUS CHRIST Himself. Wake up and smell the coffee- it was brewed more than 2,000 years ago !!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • George says:

        Like the one above it, your new post is filled with unwarranted, false and personal attacks on me (and not a few cliches).

        Much of your surmisals are simply incorrect and without merit or factual basis. You know me so little.

        And, you’re still unable/unwilling to explain what “choice” I’ve made.

        You’re a crappy preacher. Have a nice lifestyle.

        P.S. You seem to have confused “normal” for ‘the norm’. They’re not the same thing. Heterosexuality isn’t so much “normal” as it is … ‘COMMON’.


      • JoeB says:

        1as are you really this intolerant? If this is the way your god teaches you to treat other humans, then I for one want nothing to do with it. BTW the history of the world goes back much further than 20 centuries, but you probably are not interested in that.

        • George says:

          I should have said “witness”, not “preacher”.

          I’ve found in untold conversations that witnesses such as
          1 a sheep’s turn far more away from Christ and His message than draw them to Him.

          Blessings to all.

  6. Mike Fitzgerald says:

    You know folks, I don’t parade up and down public streets (nor does my wife) loudly proclaiming to the world my personal sexual orientation. I find this personally offensive and I wish this new “orientation syndrome” would stop. My personal sexual ityou is just that – it’s personal and should be no one else’s business. Also, I do not have the right to force my personal sexual ityou on others, and I expect others to do likewise. I am quite secure in my personal sexuality, and do not feel the need to justify it by a silly public display. Mike.

    • George says:


      You don’t NEED a parade. You’re heterosexual. Every time you talk about your wife, you are publicly declaring your heterosexuality. When I speak of my husband, it gets called ‘flaunting my sexuality’. Sorry you can’t discern the difference.

      I have no idea what you even mean by “orientation syndrome”. Either one is or one is not attracted to others of the opposite sex, and nothing has ever changed that.

      You are semi-correct that it SHOULDN’T be anyone else’s business. But, sadly, every day in almost every circumstance, some people DO make other people’s sexuality their ‘business’.

      I also have absolutely no idea what you mean by ‘forcing’ … anything … on others. If you entered my bakery and asked for, say, a Valentine’s Day cake for your wife, you’re “proclaiming your personal sexual orientation”. It’s none of my business if you’re gay or str8 – you still get to buy the cake. You have no reason to make such a “silly public display”, and yet you do it.

      Hmmm …

      But, what your post has to do with the topic is a mystery.

      P.S. What’s a “sexual ityou”?

  7. Mike Fitzgerald says:

    George – I personally despise your comment about the complainant not being “damaged” after 40 years of waiting! I waited 40 years – are you saying I wasn’t damaged either? You have put yourself forward as an expert on these matters, but you really aren’t (obviously). Mike.

  8. George says:

    I don’t know your circumstances, Mike. You’d need to tell me why you “waited 40 years” for me to understand. I have no idea of how you coped with life for that long.

    But, please note, I didn’t say he “wasn’t damaged”. I questioned just how “damaged” he is. I will assume you were a victim of sexual abuse. (You didn’t specify.)

    What I do know is that the defendant was found not guilty in a court of law. Do you presume to know the details of this case if you weren’t there on the night of the alleged incident? I read the transcripts of the trial, and I do not believe the complainant (for several reasons, explained elsewhere). But, it’s interesting you tried to make this case about you.

    Peace be unto you.

  9. George says:

    @ Geenda,

    Re: “While I do believe that heterosexuals molest children just as much as homosexuals, in the case of the clergy it is almost always grown adult men molesting boys. (I am an exception to this). Having said that you should read about Newton and Truong….”

    I am truly and deeply sorry to hear you were molested, Geenda. But this case isn’t about you. Nor is it about “Newton and Truong”. Nor was yours (unless you are one of those two persons).

    Every case is individual.

    Also, Hawkes was not a clergy person when this incident allegedly took place.

    Could we please stick to specifics and avoid all these generalizations about population segments?

    • Geenda says:

      I agree that every case is different, I am not intentionally generalizing.. I firmly believe that both heterosexuals and homosexuals molest children, and I certainly don’t believe there is any greater propensity in the homosexual population. I was merely suggesting that in the priesthood it is mostly (male) priests molesting boys..they may not be homosexual but….

  10. JoeB says:

    Last week I spoke to Phil Saviano (Spotlight) for a couple of hours on the phone …. he makes a great argument for why sexual orientation shouldn’t even be in the conversation when discussing abuse in the RCC. I wish I had the ability to craft the argument the way he does.
    My abuser is a serial rapist, yes he targeted boys, but he didn’t start that way. I don’t believe the first victim to come forward was his first victim, but she is female and spoke up right away (of course the RCC covered it up and moved the priest to another province) I think he realized that boys were easier to shame into keeping silent.
    I don’t believe he targeted children because he is attracted to children, he targeted children because he saw a way to keep them silent. These are not the actions of someone who is sexually attracted to children. These are the actions of an opportunist who cares only about themselves and their own personal gratification.

    • George says:

      I agree that “sexual orientation shouldn’t even be in the conversation”.

      Sadly, it perpetuates the myth that homosexuality = pedophilia. (Sadly, so many religious still seem to believe it does.)

      This is why I ignored Sylvia’s unhelpful links to opinion pieces.

      I had typed, “Who is “pushing” the notion “that paedophilia is a sexual orientation”?” and I meant here on this site. I should have made that clearer, because no one (until she posted them) HAD pushed such a notion here.

  11. Mike Fitzgerald says:

    By the way George, you have mentioned that the complainant did not appear credible
    You have neglected to mention that the judge did not believe some of Brent Hawke’s testimony either. Mike

  12. Mike Fitzgerald says:

    If you couldn’t figure it out on your own, sexual ityou is a typing error. I make mistakes sometimes – strange eh? It was meant to read “sexuality”, as you already knew. Mike.

    • George says:

      No Mike, I didn’t “already” know that. Not until you clarified just now.

      It was there twice, so I presumed you meant to type it.

      Thanks for clarifying it now. I appreciate it.

      Have a blessed day.

  13. Bob LeDrew says:

    Can I step in for a moment?

    I really don’t have a dog in this fight, so maybe I can be a bit of a mediator. I’m an straight atheist who has no direct experience of abuse. I come at this from having been a journalist back in the early 1990s and interviewing Michael Harris after he published “Unholy Orders.” Since then, I’ve followed the issue of sexual abuse within (mostly) the Catholic Church as an interest. The thing that interests me is the dynamic of institutions in reacting to the actions of their representatives. Whether it was Jimmy Saville in the UK, or what happened in Newfoundland, or Boston, or the Magdalen Laundries, there’s a conjunction of power dynamics and institutional self-interest that is at the heart of things. I’m also a friend to many people of various orientations, and volunteer some of my time supporting a choir made up of people who are part of or allied with the GLBTQ community.

    So first: the Hawkes case is a pretty problematic one. As noted elsewhere, he was not a member of the clergy when the events happened. He’s also become a leading figure in the GLBTQ community since the events which the trial examined. The trial had, to my reading of it, some of the classic issues that happen when long-ago events are put under the microscope: varying memories, little ability to verify, etc. etc.

    There’s been discussion of members of the GLBTQ community “flaunting” their ‘orientation.’ I’m assuming this is related to Pride parades. The standard argument against that is that oppressed minorities feel a need to assert their presence and visibility in society that those who are the ‘norm’ do not. It can also be argued that heterosexuality is the default position in our society. Look at TV, movies, books, popular culture in all its variations, and the vast people portrayed are straight. This creates a sense of invisibility for GLBTQ folks. One of my other personal interests is the writing of Stephen King. I can tell you with complete certainty (because I’ve closely read everything he’s written) that there is exactly ONE gay character who is a ‘hero’ in his fictional output. When you think of his productivity, that’s not much.

    My _personal_ feeling when it comes to such things as parades is that they are for those who wish to participate. I don’t often go to Pride parades. Of course, I don’t go to St. Patrick’s, Christmas, or any other parades either. But none of those events that don’t speak to me bother or threaten me in the least. As a cliché goes, “someone else having rights doesn’t mean you have fewer: it’s not pie.”

    Others have made clear, and I would reinforce the point: pedophilia and homosexuality are simply not linked. This is a fairly comprehensive review of research on that subject :

    Finally, the pedophilia = sexual orientation hypothesis. It’s beyond my ability to say whether that is the case or not; the science that I’ve seen seems unclear. But there’s a fundamental difference between it and other sexual orientations, and it’s simply described: in our world, we give adults the opportunity to consent to sexual acts with each other; we don’t see children as being able to provide consent. And I think that’s just fine. One other difference is the inherent power imbalance between adult and child that makes any such contact abusive (in my opinion).

    I’ve probably already gone on too long.

    • George says:

      I found your analysis to be straightforward and sober, and with no emotional baggage attached whatsoever.

      Thanks for that.

      Re: “Finally, the pedophilia = sexual orientation hypothesis. ”

      That was brought into this by Sylvia when it had not been part of this thread up until then.

      I don’t think it describes the relevant details pertinent to this case. It’s certainly not something that was argued in the court.

  14. Sylvia says:

    Here is the decision by Justice Alan T. Tufts.

    31 January 2017: Her Majesty the Queen v Brent Leroy Hawkes (DECISION)

    I’ve read it through it once. I will do so again. See how you fare.

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