Disgraced Ottawa priest accused of sexually assaulting yet another minor

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The Ottawa Citizen

Published on: November 25, 2016 | Last Updated: November 25, 2016 6:17 PM EST

A retired Ottawa priest, who has admitted he suffered from a powerful attraction to adolescents as a young cleric, appeared in court Friday on historical sexual assault charges.

Rev. Barry McGrory, 82, faces two counts of gross indecency and two counts of indecent assault in connection with offences alleged to have occurred in the late 1960s. The charges are based on the Criminal Code as it existed at that time.

McGrory, who now lives in Toronto, was released on a $10,000 bond and ordered not to communicate with the victim, or take work that would put him in a position of trust with anyone under the age of 16.

His case was remanded to December.

Outside court, McGrory, dressed in a blue blazer and grey pants, refused to tell reporters how he intended to plead in the case, saying: “It’s none of your business.”

William Barry McGRORY leave the court house in Ottawa Friday Nov 25, 2016. McGRORY, 82 years old, of Toronto is charged with two counts of Indecent Assault on a male and two counts of Gross Indecency, as per Criminal Code charges existing at the time of the offences. Tony Caldwell
Rev. Barry McGrory leaves the Ottawa courthouse in Ottawa Friday Nov 25, 2016.  Tony Caldwell / Postmedia Network

Ottawa police said Friday investigators are concerned there could be more potential victims out there.

The man newly alleging he was victimized by McGrory was 15 years old at the time of the alleged crimes. He lodged a complaint with Ottawa police in September — three months after the Citizen revealed the story of McGrory’s disturbing sexual misdeeds while pastor of the Holy Cross Parish in the 1970s and 80s.

The new charges against McGrory stem from incidents alleged to have happened before the four sex-abuse cases described by this newspaper.

Colleen Passard, who was a young teen when she was manipulated and abused by McGrory in the mid-70s, said Friday the historic nature of the charges suggest that church officials might have prevented “lifelong trauma” had they only acted in his case.

“As I’ve said all along, the Catholic diocese has been aware since (McGrory) was a seminarian that he had psycho-sexual issues,” she said. “If they had acted it the first place, it would have saved so much pain and suffering.”

Passard said she was relieved that McGrory will finally have to face a judge. None of the allegations McGrory was charged with Friday has been proven in court.

In the late 1960s, McGrory was working at the Major Seminary of Ottawa and at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish on Alta Vista Drive.

In 1974, he was named pastor of the Holy Cross Parish, where he became a high-profile peace and social justice activist. He remained at the church until 1986.

Earlier this year, he admitted in an interview that he was then a sex addict and abused three young parishioners at the Holy Cross. He said then-archbishop Joseph-Aurèle Plourde knew he had sexual problems but did not send him for treatment despite his pleas.

McGrory was moved out of town, appointed president of an organization that aided remote Catholic missions in Canada.

Four years later, in 1991, McGrory was charged with sexually assaulting a 17-year-old indigenous boy. He was convicted of that crime and handed a suspended sentence and three years’ probation.

The Archdiocese of Ottawa subsequently settled out of court with two of McGrory’s victims at Holy Cross. One of them was paid $300,000 in one of the largest clergy sex-abuse settlements negotiated by the diocese. Another Ottawa victim is now suing for $1.5 million.

McGrory previously told the Citizen that, as a young priest, he suffered from a sexual disorder from which he has since been cured. “There was this terrible dark side that I had to confront — and I just didn’t handle it well,” he said at the time.

McGrory said he was healed of his sex addiction and his attraction to adolescents after “surrendering” himself to God following the humiliation of his 1991 arrest. In Toronto, he belongs to a group called Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous, which employs a 12-step program similar to that pioneered by Alcoholics Anonymous. It has helped him, he said, remain celibate for more than two decades.

Other possible victims of the priest have already contacted police. In late July, four people wrote to Ottawa police Chief Charles Bordeleau through their lawyer, Rob Talach, alleging they had been victimized by McGrory. They all volunteered evidence against him.

“I can put an officer in contact with all four of these alleged victims, or alternatively, I can direct them to contact a specific assigned officer,” Talach wrote in the letter, obtained by the Citizen. “All we require is some guidance on how to get their evidence into the hands of police.”

However, for reasons that are not yet clear, neither Talach nor any of the four were contacted by investigators.

One of those people, an Ottawa woman who has asked to remain anonymous, said she has “waited a long time” to face McGrory in court. “I’m ready to go forward,” she said Friday.

The Archdiocese of Ottawa said in a news release it was “deeply saddened” by McGrory’s arrest and would co-operate fully with any ongoing investigation. A diocesan spokesman, Deacon Gilles Ouellette, noted that McGrory’s right to present himself as a Catholic priest was removed more than 20 years ago.

McGrory remains an official member of the priesthood, however, and has never been defrocked by the Vatican.

Ottawa born and raised, McGrory holds a PhD in theology from Thomas Aquinas University in Rome.


— With files from Joe Lofaro

8 Responses to Disgraced Ottawa priest accused of sexually assaulting yet another minor

  1. Sylvia says:

    For some reason the audio didn’t transfer with the last video clip. I will get back to work on this later and hopefully be able to fix it up 🙂

    • Sylvia says:

      Strange – I discovered that the audio for the second clip plays if I switch from Firefox as a browser to Chrome. It doesn’t work at all on Internet Explorer. I read online that it might be my Adobe Flash, but checked and it’s up-to-date.

      So, perhaps a glitch in my computer when running Firefox? For now, I think if you can’t both see and hear the the clip of Father McGrory leaving the courthouse you switch for a few moments to Chrome.

  2. Mike Fitzgerald says:

    Who gives a crap whether this vermin has a PhD? He is a pathetic excuse for a Catholic priest, and should have been defrocked MANY years ago.
    His immediate superior (the bishop) should hang his head in shame for allowing this obviously sick creature to continue his path of torment and destruction.
    Yes, have pity on him and get him the help he so desperately needs, but for heaven’s sake, get him to hell out of the Catholic priesthood. He very seriously weakens the church as an institution, and I do NOT believe that he represents God. Mike.

  3. Mike Fitzgerald says:

    I have railed on “ad nauseam” for the last 7-8 years about what ails the church, but I confess to all of you that I have failed miserably in acknowledging what good still remains.
    The Diocese of Pembroke is filled with the majority of good, holy, and dedicated priests who are now in deep hiding, and unable and possibly afraid to continue the “good fight” because of a distinct lack of leadership and support from their Diocese.
    I cannot imagine how difficult these last few years have been for you! I am blessed to know you, and it is my hope that you continue to persevere in the face of this plague as WE NEED YOU more than ever.
    Easy for me to say, because I have never walked a mile in your shoes. For the “good guys”, I think and pray for you every day. Mike.

    • Sylvia says:

      True Mike. There are indeed good priests out there who suffer greatly. They get painted with the same brush. That, unfortunately, will probably not abate until their bishops clean house. And, as far as I’m concerned, cleaning house includes not only getting these wolves in sheep’s clothing out of the priesthood (defrocked/laicized/reduced to the lay state) but also publishing the names of every known clerical predator, dead or alive, who ever served in any fashion in the diocese or archdiocese over the years. The victims, the laity, the institution of the priesthood and the pursuit of truth and justice deserve nothing less

    • Lina says:

      It was a Saturday morning this past October at the Pembroke Mall, I sat down with a priest. We had coffee. We spoke about 10 minutes.

      Before I left this priest, I told him it was good to speak to a member of the Catholic clergy without any anger or animosity on my part.

      We didn’t talk about the clergy abuse scandals in the Pembroke Diocese. Obviously he is very aware of them. Furthermore, this priest who happens to be a Monsignor has accompanied some of these sexual predator priests to court.

      For me, it’s just I didn’t want to face my eventual death with grudges in my heart.

      I may not be a practicing Catholic but that doesn’t mean I don’t care about my Catholic brothers and sisters…especially those who are hurting and suffering so terrible in silence.


  4. Mike Fitzgerald says:

    Lina – way to go!!! Never stop caring – even though we may have differences of opinion in how to go about it, in the end all that really matters is how we treated each other. Mike.

  5. Mike Fitzgerald says:

    Thanks Sylvia. I certainly would like to see this too, but until the boss of the diocese (I guess that would be the bishop) realizes that spiritual well-being and individual faith is ultimately more important to us than worrying about the legal liability of naming names, and showing all his “skeletons in the closet”, it ain’t gonna happen.
    Thanks to you, and some others I am beginning to realize that there is no amount of money in the world that will make me sincerely happy and at peace. Even a financial settlement will not accomplish this completely.
    I really hope “the boss” could come to this realization. Mike.

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