Former resident made complaint against N.S. priest

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CBC News

Posted: Feb 17, 2012 4:48 PM AT

Last Updated: Feb 17, 2012 4:00 PM AT

Rev. Paul Abbass has been asked to step down from Talbot House after a complaint was filed against him.

Rev. Paul Abbass has been asked to step down from Talbot House after a complaint was filed against him. (CBC)

A former addiction worker says a former resident of Talbot House made the complaint against a Cape Breton priest.

For 17 years, Rev. Paul Abbass has been executive director of Talbot House, an addiction and treatment facility in Frenchvale, Nova Scotia.

He’s also been the spokesman for the Diocese of Antigonish.

Dave Mantin is a former New Brunswick addiction worker, who now runs the Surivors Network for those Abused by Priests.

He said he has spoken to the former Talbot House resident who made the complaint.

“The client in question was taken directly off the street while doing hardcore prescription medications intravenously. And apparently this Abbass picked him up and took him to the treatment centre,” Mantin said.

Mantin said he thinks the man should have been taken to Addiction Services before entering Talbot House.

He said he has also spoken to another man who was at Talbot House during the same period.

“I believe it was between June and August and well actually they reported it to both us and [Department of] Community Services. So when I got ahold of that file I called Community Services to find out what was going on,” Mantin said.

He said that second resident kept a journal that contained information that could be important to the investigation.

Mantin said he passed the residents’ information on to the department.

The department would not give any details about the complaint.

Community Services provides a grant to Talbot House of about $420,000 a year.

Department spokesperson Amanda Pelham confirmed to CBC News the department is reviewing the facility, as well as the specific complaint against Abbass.

“The organizational review is expected to be completed in the coming weeks. Reviews examine the organizations to ensure that they provide the services they are receiving funding to deliver,” Pelham said.

Pelham said when the investigation results are ready, they will be given to the Board of Talbot House.

Cape Breton Regional Police say the department is still determining if the matter warrants a criminal investigation

Abbass denies there is any truth to the allegations being made.

He has stepped down from his duties at Talbot House and as a parish priest until the matter is resolved.

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