Priest faces sex abuse charges

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 The Ottawa Citizen 

28 June 1989

TORONTO (CP) _ Police have charged a Roman Catholic priest with sexually molesting two boys over a 10-month period.

Rev. Angus McRae, 62, of St. Thomas More Church in suburban Scarborough, faces charges of sexual interference and sexual exploitation.

Charges were laid after church officials contacted the Children’s Aid Society. The society summoned police to investigate complaints over incidents alleged to have occurred between July 1988 and May 1989.

Rev. Michael Waites, a fellow priest at the church, said Tuesday that McRae has been absent for three weeks.

”Where he is, I don’t know. He was going on holidays and then retreat.”

It was unclear whether McRae was charged in person or in his absence.

McRae, who lived at the church, had been a priest there for about five years, Waites said. The parish serves about 2,500 families.

Several dioceses across Canada have been shaken recently by allegations of sexual misconduct involving priests.

In Newfoundland during the past 18 months, 16 priests or prominent members of the Roman Catholic community have been charged with sexual offences.

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Canadian Press

June 28, 1989   

EDMONTON (CP)

The Roman Catholic Church in Canada will review its hiring and training policies for priests amid a rash of sex-related charges, says a high-ranking clergyman.

“We’ll look at the screening process” for men applying to be priests, Edmonton Archbishop Joseph MacNeil said Wednesday.

“We want to make sure we have a healthy young man who is able to take the rigors attached to being a priest . . . that there aren’t any tendencies or attitudes a priest ought not to have,” including a tendency toward pedophilia.

MacNeil made the announcement as another Catholic priest was charged Wednesday with sex-related offences.

Patrick Slaney, 42, of St. Lawrence, Nfld., was charged in Toronto with three counts of gross indecency. The charges stem from alleged activities involving boys while he was a parish priest on the Burin Peninsula, Nfld., between 1984 and 1988.

Seventeen Newfoundland priests and church officials are convicted of or facing sex-related charges. Two Alberta priests are also charged and a third pleaded guilty to sex-related offences Friday.

MacNeil — in charge of all Edmonton-area priests — said many people who called him on a local radio phone-in show Wednesday said they want an inquiry into the problem of priests sexually assaulting children.

Former Edmonton priest Rev. Angus McRae has been charged with molesting two boys in Toronto. He appears in court July 10.

GETTING HELP

McRae, 62, was given a four-year sentence in Edmonton in 1980 after being convicted of three sex charges involving a boy. He was moved to Toronto about six years ago and was receiving ongoing out-patient treatment at a clergy rehabilitation centre that deals with sexual problems, addictions and other difficulties.

Currently, all new recruits to the priesthood undergo psychological testing and background checks when they apply.

“About 50 per cent of them don’t get past this level,” said MacNeil. Each of Canada’s 74 Catholic dioceses has an average of six recruits a year but only about three stay.

High school graduates live in seminaries while they get a university degree. They then spend four or five years studying at a theological college and apprenticing at local churches, said MacNeil.

Older applicants skip the university years but still receive theological education.

Part of their training includes full discussion on sexuality as well as continued assessment by their teachers and the parish priest they’re working with, said MacNeil.

He said the training and screening procedures are very different from the work done with recruits 20 or 30 years ago, the years when many of the priests currently facing charges or convicted of child abuse went through the seminary.

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