Ontario Chaldean priest charged with fraud

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After a 4-5 month police investigation, Father Amer Saka, a Chaldean priest in Canada, has been charged with fraud over $5,000 and possessing proceeds of property or thing exceeding $5,000.

14 July 2016:  “Parish priest charged with fraud after allegedly gambling away more than $500,000 meant for Syrian refugees” & related articles & VIDEO

By way of explanation, the Chaldean rite is in communion with the Roman Catholic Church, but it has it’s own diocese andbishops.  There is one, and only one, Chaldean diocese in Canada, that being in the Eparchy of Mar Addai of Toronto.  All Chaldean Catholics in Canada are part of that eparchy.

Father Saka served as pastor at St. Joseph’s Chaldean Catholic Church in London, Ontario for about eight years and also administrator for an unknown period of time at the Mar Ouraha parish in Kitchener.  Neither parish is part of the Dioceses of London or Hamilton Ontario. – they are part of the Eparchy of Mar Addai of Toronto.  The bishop of the eparchy, and hence Father Sakas’ bishop is Emmanuel Hanna Challita.

Saka was, however,  participating in the Canadian government’s refugee-sponsorship program through the Hamilton Roman Catholic Diocese.  The Hamilton Diocese, by the way, is  the diocese headed by Bishop Doug Crosby omi, the Oblate bishop who last year welcomed into his diocese Father Joe LeClair,  an Ottawa Archdiocese  priest with a gambling problem convicted in 2014 of fraud and theft .  In fact, Father LeClair was recycled to the Hamilton Diocese after he suffered a ‘relapse’ after being recycled into the  Archdiocese of Moncton, New Brunswick.  It was after that New Brunswick ‘relapse’ that Bishop Crosby took LeClair in to assist at St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church in Guelph, Ontario.   And, yes, that’s the same Father Joe LeClair who is now facing charges  of impaired driving, but who still, thanks to the Bishop’s Crosby’s ‘charity,’ is  serving as a parish priest.

As for Father Saka,  police  will say only that the total sum of money ‘lost’ was in excess of $500,000.  When word of 51-year-old Father Saka’s ‘problems’ first broke his bishop, Emmanuel Challita , was quoted as saying that  Saka told him he, Saka, gambled away more than $500,000 given by families to hold for refugees relatives under a private sponsorship program.

You may recall that when the allegations first came to light Father Saka was whipped off to Southdown  in Holland Landing, Ont.  Southdown, which used to located in Aurora Ontario,  is a treatment centre for priests with alcohol, gambling, sex problems.  (Father LeClair also spent time at Southdown –  for treatment of his gambling problems\)

Saka’s lawyer is quoted in today’s London Free Press as saying that the priest “does have some health issues that have been addressed in the last few months. We don’t know how serious they are, but he was taken to Victoria hospital and will be released.”

Who knows where this one will go?

I will check on his next court date tomorrow.  Those dates are never available on the same day as a court appearance – usually mid afternoon the following day is the best time to update.

Enough for now,

Sylvia

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