The Saskatoon Star Phoenix
03 October 2012
By Jason Warick, The Star Phoenix
A former Saskatoon priest who sexually abused more than a dozen children will be out of prison in time to celebrate Thanksgiving dinner.
“This is just ludicrous,” one of William Hodgson Marshall‘s alleged Saskatoon victims said Tuesday.
“I’m not afraid of him anymore, but it just pisses me off. He should spend the rest of his life behind bars.”
Marshall, who is in his early 90s, is due for statutory release from an Ontario prison Monday after reaching the two-thirds mark of his two-year sentence, according to Parole Board of Canada documents.
He was convicted of abusing 17 children while working at schools across Ontario during a 30-year period and also stands charged with abusing two Saskatoon boys at a Saskatoon high school in the 1960s.
Last month, in anticipation of Marshall’s release, the parole board imposed several conditions on him. He must avoid any locations where children are present such as schools, report any relationships with adults who care for children and avoid any contact with the victims and their families “to ensure they do not endure further trauma,” said a Sept. 21 parole board document.
“Your criminal behaviour is related to the sexual abuse of children in your care. The board has, therefore, imposed conditions.”
Marshall’s “SIR score,” a scale to measure the risk of re-offending, was blacked out of the parole board document supplied to The StarPhoenix this week.
Upon his release, Marshall’s living arrangements and expenses will be covered by his former employer and religious order, the Basilian Fathers.
Marshall is elderly and in poor health, said Basilian spokesman Rev. Timothy Scott. He will be placed in a home “to live out his life in penance and prayer,” Scott said.
Marshall was recently asked by the head of the Basilians to write to the Pope and request he be defrocked or “laicized,” Scott said. Marshall did.
If the Pope agrees, Marshall would no longer be a priest. He would, however, remain a member of the Catholic Church.
Last year, when victims were demanding Marshall be defrocked, Scott said, “We can’t throw him out. Only the Vatican can, and they won’t because of his age.” On Tuesday, Scott said the Basilians, who have since been sued by some of the victims, are hopeful this development “will be of some comfort to some of his many victims.”
Scott said Marshall’s letter to the Pope was private and he hadn’t seen it. The Basilians declined to disclose the letter.
The Saskatoon alleged victim is outraged the Basilians would house a convicted pedophile.
“He’s a monster. They’ve always been about protecting their own,” he said.
He is also skeptical of Marshall’s letter to the Pope.
“He’s manipulating things right to the end. He’s trying to get into heaven. Good luck,” he said.
Marshall’s legal battles, as well as those of his victims, are not over. Marshall stands charged with abusing two Saskatoon boys while working as the physical education teacher at the former St. Paul’s High School in the early 1960s.
After a series of delays, a hearing is scheduled for Oct. 16. The alleged Saskatoon victim said he hopes to find a sense of closure soon.
“I’m a little anxious. We’ll just have to wait and see,” said the man.
“Time is running out. I’d like to hear what he has to say.”