Don Grecco free after serving less than half of an 18-month sentence
St. Catharines Standard
17 April 2018 05:56 PM
Donald Grecco arrives at the St. Catharines courthouse for his sentencing on Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2017. – Julie Jocsak , The St. Catharines Standard
William O’Sullivan arrived at Penetanguishene, Ont, Friday expecting the worst but hoping he was wrong.
Donald Grecco, the former Catholic priest convicted of sexually abusing O’Sullivan as a boy, will soon be a free man.
After deliberating for more than four hours Friday, Ontario parole board members at the Central North Correctional Centre voted to grant Grecco’s request for early release after serving six months of an 18-month sentence.
The 77-year-old was sentenced in October for sexually abusing O’Sullivan and two others from 1975 to 1982. It was Grecco’s second conviction for sexually abusing children while he was a Niagara priest. His total number of known victims is six.
On Monday he will leave prison on parole.
“I’m still angry. The feeling inside me every time I think about it just makes me want to scream. I just want to scream,” O’Sullivan said in an interview. “This is just really unbelievable.”
The reasons for Grecco’s release were not immediately available Tuesday, but a government spokesperson said they should be available this week. The Standard will publish the reasons when the documents are made available.
While the priest at St. Kevin’s Roman Catholic church in Welland, Grecco abused O’Sullivan from the ages of nine to 12.
O’Sullivan said after the abuse he started acting out, eventually landing in trouble with the law.
At 16, he was sentenced for petty crimes to 18 months at the infamous St. John’s Training School for Boys in Uxbridge — the location of one of the worst sexual abuse scandals in Canadian history.
He was sexually abused repeatedly by one of the Christian Brothers running the school.
O’Sullivan, who suppressed the memories of his abuse, spent years in and out of jail. While in Niagara Detention Centre in 2010, he read an article in The Standard about Grecco being sentenced to 18 months in prison for sexually abusing three boys, and remembered what happened to him.
He reported the crimes to Niagara Regional Police, who eventually laid charges against Grecco. The former priest pleaded guilty to three counts of gross indecency for the sexual abuse last May.
In the October sentencing hearing, Grecco waived his right to early parole but made an application for release last month.
O’Sullivan attended Grecco’s hearing and said the ex-priest talked about the hardships he suffered due to the news coverage of the case.
“He said he couldn’t eat because I had made things so difficult for him in the news coverage,” O’Sullivan said. “Can you believe that? He said I was making things hard for him.”
O’Sullivan said he did not stay to hear the board’s reasons after it announced Grecco was being granted parole.
As Grecco becomes a free man, O’Sullivan is planning to go to Queen’s Park Monday to ask government ministers why a twice-convicted sex-offender should get early release.
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