Two sex abuse charges dropped against priest after complainant dies

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William Barry McGrory leaves the court house in Ottawa Friday Nov 25, 2016. Tony Caldwell / Postmedia Network

Two historic sex abuse charges have been dropped against an Ottawa priest after one of the complainants died last month from cancer.

Court heard Monday that charges of gross indecency and indecent assault were withdrawn against Rev. Barry McGrory. The complainant, who was in his 60s, was ill during the preliminary hearing and unable to testify; he died in mid-July.

McGrory, 83, still faces a handful of charges in connection with two other historic sex abuse complaints.

The Catholic priest will stand trial on April 10, 2019.

Two years ago, this newspaper reported that the Archdiocese of Ottawa had settled out of court with two women who said they were abused as adolescents by McGrory in the 1970s when he was pastor at Holy Cross Parish.

Rev. Barry McGrorycirca 1975 File photo / –

One of the victims was paid $300,000 in one of the largest settlements of its kind in the history of the Ottawa diocese.

In an interview published at the same time, McGrory said he was a sex addict, and suffered from a powerful attraction to adolescents, both male and female, as a young cleric.

He told then-archbishop Joseph-Aurèle Plourde about his sexual problems in the mid-1980s, McGrory said, and asked for treatment.

Instead of receiving help, McGrory said, he was transferred to a Toronto  organization dedicated to assisting remote Catholic missions.

Many of the missions were in Indigenous communities in Canada’s North.

Four years after leaving Ottawa, in 1991, McGrory was charged with sexually assaulting a 17-year-old Indigenous youth and later convicted of the crime. He was given a suspended sentence and three years’ probation.

After “surrendering” himself to God following the humiliation of his arrest in that case, McGrory said, he was healed of his sex addiction and his attraction to adolescents.

He now lives in Toronto, where 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, McGrory said, to remain celibate for more than two decades.

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

Diocesan officials in Ottawa have launched the administrative process required to officially remove him from the priesthood, but he has yet to be defrocked by the Vatican.

McGrory‘s right to conduct the essential duties of a priest was removed more than 20 years ago.

One Response to Two sex abuse charges dropped against priest after complainant dies

  1. Margaret Rapkoski says:

    Good Morning,

    How in the world would a complainant who dies prior to conviction not be eligible for compensation for this abuse of power? You must realize that this gentleman had cancer and was very sick. The probability of his illness in all forms can highly be contributed to the abuse he experienced by this priest, Barry McGrory. Please connect with me to see how one can advocate on behalf of this person, his family, and friends to ensure that the judicial system is fair, respectful, sensitive and compensates this person/situation and others affected post mortem.

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