Former priest sentenced to jail for sex assaults

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 cnews.canoe.ca

13 December 2010

By JOHN VESSOYAN, QMI Agency

HAMILTON, Ont. – Former Roman Catholic priest Donald Grecco was sentenced Monday to 18 months in jail for molesting three teenaged altar boys in the 1970s and 1980s in two Ontario communities.

He will also face a two-year probation when he is released and be on the national sex offender registry.

Grecco pleaded guilty in March to three counts of gross indecency after he was arrested in 2008 in the history cases.

Court heard that as an “expression of remorse” Grecco sent a letter of apology to his three victims, young men who served with him in churches in Welland and Cayuga, Ont.

Grecco, 70, of St. Catharines, Ont., was ordained in 1966 and served as a pastor at several churches in southern Ontario. Court heard the abuses began only after he was a priest for 12 years.

Victim Michael Blum, who was in court when the sentence was handed down, said he was pleased his former abuser is behind bars and the end of the case means he now has a sense of closure.

“I’m happy with that,” Blum said.

However, James Hennessy, another victim who now lives in England and who was unable to attend the court proceedings, was disappointed with the length of the punishment.

“To give him 18 months is a joke,” Hennessy said in a phone interview after the sentencing.

Grecco has several health problems, including cancer, colitis, arthritis and hypertension.

Court heard that Greco will be able to receive proper treatments for his ailments better by avoiding federal prison.

Faced with two separate lawsuits by Blum and Hennessy, sources say Grecco, who is no longer receiving a pension from the church, is in financial ruin.

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