The Sault Star
11 August 2010
Posted By FRANK DOBROVNIK, THE SAULT STAR
One of four criminal charges against a Basilian priest and former principal of St. Mary’s College stems from an alleged incident in Sault Ste. Marie three decades ago.
Windsor, Ont., police have laid four charges against Rev. William Hodgson Marshall, popularly known here as Father Hod Marshall when he served at St. Mary’s from 1978 to the beginning of 1984.
Marshall, now 88, moved to head up a new school in Windsor after his stint at St. Mary’s.
Windsor police laid an initial charge of indecent assault in late May of this year stemming from incidents between 1985 and 1986, said Det. Gaston Levesque. “The victim lives in Windsor and an incident happened in Windsor, but there was one incident that happened in the Sault with the same victim,” said Levesque on Tuesday.
He said the incident occurred during “a trip” from Windsor to the Sault.
After an initial court appearance, three more Windsor men approached police about alleged abuse at Marshall’s hands. He now faces two more counts of indecent assault and one of sexual abuse, in allegations spanning more than 30 years.
“I’ve got charges spanning from 1955 to 1986,” Levesque said.
Marshall, who now lives in a Basilian retirement facility in Toronto, is next to appear in court in Windsor on Sept. 8.
Levesque has taken more calls from Sudbury, where Marshall taught at St. Charles College from 1967 to 1969 and served as principal in 1973-4, but not from complainants in Sault Ste. Marie.
“They said they were victims, so I just told them they have to call Sudbury police, and if (Sudbury police) need my help, I can help them. But I haven’t heard from the Sudbury police.”
Ted Holland is a Sudbury man who has been trying to get police to lay criminal charges against Marshall for fondling incidents he says took place between October and December 1969 when he was in Grade 9.
Earlier this week, The Toronto Star had a feature story about Holland and $21,000 the Congregation of St. Basil gave him when he first came forward with the allegations 12 years ago.
The group denies it was “hush money,” but to cover Holland’s therapy costs.
In an interview with The Sault Star, Holland said he knows of six to eight other people who say they were abused by Marshall, though none are from the Sault.
The furthest was from Texas, where Marshall also taught. He was also stationed in Saskatoon, Sask., for a time, and after leaving Windsor in 1989, spent his retirement years in the Caribbean country of St. Lucia, doing charity work.
The Congregation of St. Basil, which operated the private Catholic schools until they were turned over to the separate school boards in the late 1980s, and acknowledged in 2002 Marshall was forced to retire because of the allegations swirling around him.
Holland, 54, said none of the men with whom he has been in contact have approached police so far. “I told them to go to police but they haven’t done so yet, out of embarrassment or whatever. I guess they have families, wives, children,” said Holland, who is single.
As for himself, “when I came forward 12 years ago, I decided I didn’t have any of that, so the hell with it.”
Insp. Romano Carlucci, of the Sault Ste. Marie Police Service, has checked computer records for any mention of Marshall, and found none.
The computer records go back to 1986 and Carlucci expects to go through the paper records predating that soon, but so far “I am unable to find any complaints, direct or indirect” against Marshall, he said.
He said anyone with any information should expect a thorough investigation, perhaps more so than would have been done decades ago when authorities, such as the clergy and teachers, were often considered above reproach.
“Somebody coming forward now, as compared to the past, maybe with the history of what’s occurred, with the situations with the (Roman Catholic) church, it makes us sort of more diligent,” he said.
“All investigations are handled in a much more professional, in-depth manner, and our training and ability to deal with those situations are improving all the time.”
— With files from QMI Agency