The Regina Leader Post
03 January 2014
Photograph by: Dan Janisse , The Windsor Star
More than six decades after William Hodgson Marshall began sexually abusing male students, the former priest has lost his licence to teach.
The Ontario College of Teachers announced in December it has revoked Marshall’s credentials. The college began disciplinary proceedings against the retired teacher and principal after he pleaded guilty in 2011 to 16 counts of indecent assault of minors and one count of sexual assault for incidents that occurred between 1952 and 1986 while Marshall taught at Assumption and Holy Names in Windsor and other Catholic high schools in Toronto and Sudbury.
Marshall later pleaded guilty to further counts related to assaults on two boys in Saskatoon.
Marshall pleaded guilty to two counts of indecent assault, as the crime was known under Canada’s Criminal Code at the time.
The two victims – former students at St. Paul’s High School, an all-male school in Saskatoon – came forward in 2011, about a month after Marshall was sentenced to two years in a federal penitentiary for sexually abusing 16 boys and one young woman in Ontario.
The first Saskatoon victim said he was in his first year of high school in 1959 when Marshall, his gym teacher, called him in to his office under the guise of “checking his muscles.”
Marshall had the 14-year-old boy sit on his knee and lean back over his lap. Marshall groped the boy’s genitals.
Marshall instructed the boy to come see him again the next day. The boy did not and spent his entire first year of high school avoiding Marshall.
The second victim was 15 when he found himself alone with Marshall in a hospital room in 1961. The boy had broken his finger in a school football game.
The boy’s father was at the game, but Marshall insisted, as a teacher, it was his responsibility to take the boy to hospital.
While the boy was awaiting treatment, his finger bleeding through the towel he was holding over it, Marshall slipped his hand down the front of the boy’s football pants and under his jock strap.
Marshall is 91 and is said to have cancer. He hasn’t taught in decades. But that shouldn’t preclude the college from going after his licence, said spokesman Brian Jamieson.
“We will pursue that until it comes to its rightful end,” Jamieson said Thursday.
“The actions for which the persons were found guilty of professional misconduct stand regardless.”
Marshall’s court proceedings were heard in Windsor in 2011 and 2013. Court heard that Marshall, a gym teacher, began sexually touching his students under the guise of “checking” their muscles. His groping would progress to their genitals.
He abused children in his office, in school showers, in dormitories and the church rectory. Victims told of other priests walking in on the assaults, but never reporting what they saw.
For the children whose families he befriended, the abuse would take place at his cottage and in the children’s homes while their parents were in other parts of the house.
Some of Marshall’s victims were the children of married couples he befriended. The youngest was seven years old.
Knowledge of Marshall’s predilection for touching boys was widespread through the schools where he taught. Behind his back, students called him “Happy Hands.”
Marshall was sentenced to two years in a federal penitentiary for his crimes, then later, another six months of house arrest for the charges out of Saskatchewan. He is currently on probation.
Rev. Timothy Scott, spokesman for the Congregation of St. Basil, more commonly known as the Basilian Fathers, said Marshall continues to reside at Cardinal Flahiff Basilian Centre in Toronto, a home for retired and infirm priests. This is despite the fact that Marshall is no longer a priest.
“He has been laicized,” Scott said. “He is now a former Roman Catholic priest.”
Marshall himself asked to be removed from the priesthood, a request granted by the Pope several months ago, Scott said.
“We made a commitment publicly that we’d give him a place to live until the end of his life.”
The disciplinary committee of the college held a hearing in June. Marshall did not attend but was represented by a lawyer. The college, in its December publication of Professionally Speaking, announced that the committee had found Marshall guilty of professional misconduct and ordered that his certificate be revoked.
“The committee found that Marshall had brought shame and disrepute to the profession through his abuse of power and sexual exploitation of students, and that such behaviour can only be characterized as reprehensible, debauched and entirely shameful.”
Thanks to the reader who sent me the link to this article. There is an answer here to a question which I had regarding news that Hod Marshall has been laicized. Here it is:
Father Marshall asked to be laicized?! After all these years, he asked to be laicized? I’m still happy with the good news, but can not quite get my head around the fact that after a lifetime as a clerical molester and somewhere in his late 80s Hod suddenly decided he wanted out of the priesthood. I hope that’s a sign of remorse and shame but must admit I saw not a inkling of either at the Windsor courthouse back in June 2011.