Former priest Grecco released; whereabouts unknown

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Dunnville Chronicle (

Thursday, April 12, 2012 5:33:11 EDT PM

By Maryanne Firth, The Tribune

Donald Grecco

Donald Grecco

WELLAND – Convicted child molester and former Roman Catholic priest Donald Grecco is no longer in jail.

The Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services has confirmed Grecco is no longer in custody, but the date and terms of his release have not been made public.

“I’m not able to confirm any specific release conditions related to Mr. Grecco as it would be a breach of his privacy under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act,” ministry spokesperson Greg Flood wrote in an e-mail to The Tribune.

In March 2010 Grecco pleaded guilty to three counts of gross indecency after he sexually abused three teenaged altar boys in the 1970s and parts of the 1980s in Welland and Cayuga.

In December 2010 Ontario Superior Court Judge Kathryn Hawke sentenced Grecco to 18 months behind bars and two years’ probation. He was scheduled to serve his time in a Brampton jail.

As a result of his charges, Grecco, now in his early 70s, is on the national sex offender registry and his DNA is on file.

According to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police website, the database provides Canadian police services with important information that will improve their ability to investigate crimes of sexual nature.

It is not accessible by the public, however, leaving Grecco’s whereabouts upon release still unknown to the general public.

Grecco, who was first arrested for his crimes in 2008, previously served as a pastor at St. Mary’s and St. Kevin’s churches in Welland, St. Alexander in Fonthill, St. George’s in Crystal Beach, St. Thomas More in Niagara Falls, St. Vincent de Paul in Niagara-on-the-Lake and St. Stephen’s in Cayuga. He was ordained in 1966.

He has many health problems, including cancer and colitis — two life-threatening ailments — as well as arthritis, hypertension and anxiety.

Two of Grecco’s victims — Dunnville’s Michael Blum and former Welland resident James Hennessy — launched civil lawsuits in 2010 against the St. Catharines native, the Roman Catholic Diocese of St. Catharines and its former bishop, James Wingle. Each lawsuit is in the amount of $3 million.

In a move that shocked the diocese, Wingle resigned from his position as bishop by letter on April 7, 2010. He has not been heard from publicly since.

In the resignation letter, Wingle said he no longer has the stamina required to be the bishop of a diocese, asked for understanding of his shortcomings and said he is taking a sabbatical focused on “prayer and personal renewal.”

That same day, Pope Benedict XVI accepted Wingle’s resignation due to unknown health issues. It is not known if Wingle’s resignation was related in any way to the Grecco case.

Wingle’s whereabouts also remain unknown to the public.

“I have had brief contact with Bishop Wingle,” said the current head of the St. Catharines Diocese, Bishop Gerard Bergie, in an e-mail response when an interview was requested.

“He continues to focus on his spiritual and personal well-being.

“Respecting his desire for privacy, there is nothing more that I can add to what has already been stated.”

11 Responses to Former priest Grecco released; whereabouts unknown

  1. Sylvia says:

    Ex priest and convicted child molester is out and about, .. somewhere. We don’t know where he is. We are not allowed to know where he is. It would, we are told, be a “breach of his privacy under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act” to know where this convicted child molester is residing right now.

    Meanwhile our abdicating bishop is also out and about, …somewhere. For whatever the reason we don’t know where he is either. Nor for some strange reason are we allowed to know where he is. We can be told that Bishop Wingle “continues to focus on his spiritual and personal well-being,” but that’s it. The rest is top secret because, we are told, Church officials who know where he is are “respecting his desire for privacy.”

    What’s the message here? I don’t know. I really don’t, but I do know that something is seriously amiss, both in the Church and out of the Church.

  2. Mike Blum says:

    Just find Jim Kneale and you will probably find Grecco

  3. Sylvia says:

    You are probably absolutely right Mike.

    Do you know Mike when Grecco was released? Were you, as a victim, contacted?

  4. Mike Blum says:

    Hi Sylvia,
    He was released yesterday, and I was not informed. I found out on your site this morning.


  5. Sylvia says:

    I heard from a reliable source Mike that Grecco was actually released early December. I am bothered that you and his other victims were not informed. I think that if anyone is entitled to know that a convicted molester is about to be or has just been released back into the community it is the victims. And, I don’t believe that victims should have to ask to be given this information. It seems to me that courtesy and common sense would dictate that victims should be alerted.

  6. Mike Blum says:

    Thank’s Sylvia, pretty sad taht he only served about a year of his sentence. I do have to be thankfull though that he did not get the same sentence as Borne which I was told was possible.

  7. RealityChecker says:

    Psssst…..hey Mike why don’t you see if you can volunteer for the federal elections in Niagara West – [deleted ]Get to know [deleted]. I am sure she is someone who can provide you with lots of info on Kneale and possibly Grecco. I am positive she can!!! 100% certain she can!!!


  8. RealityChecker says:

    She lives right nect door to Kneale and has for years!!!!!

  9. RealityChecker says:

    I hear you Sylvia – pass it on to Mile pls.

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