“’Playboy’ priest moved to New York parishes, Canadian Forces job” & related articles

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“In my 30 years, the number of priests who were sexual offenders were very few,” Archbishop Adam Exner tells court in woman’s lawsuit over allegations of sexual abuse by former Kamloops priest Erlindo Molon

The Tri-City News

October 18, 2019 02:44 PM

A Kamloops priest suspended for alleged sexual offences was later suspended in New York State before becoming a Canadian Armed Forces chaplain, B.C. Supreme Court heard Oct. 18.

The court has heard that Kamloops Roman Catholic Archdiocese officials knew of the sexual activities of Father Erlindo Molon before a schoolteacher reported several months of abuse at the man’s hands in 1977.

Rosemary Anderson alleged in a Dec. 22, 2016, notice of civil claim the sexual abuse at the hands of Molon, now 88, started when she was 26 when she sought solace after her father’s death. She names Molon and the Roman Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of Kamloops, A Corporation Sole in the claim.

Molon was two decades her senior.

Anderson testified last week she had sought help from Molon dealing with grief from her father’s death in 1976, and that Molon began groping her in his office.

She said as she was leaving Molon’s office, “he embraced me, then began fondling me. He shoved his ugly tongue in my mouth. I hated it. I prayed to God to stop it.”

Then, she said, Molon took her hand and led her into the adjoining bedroom, where they had intercourse.

Anderson testified earlier the sexual abuse happened “on an average, I’d say, two or three times a week.”

The decision on what to do with Molon sat with then-bishop Adam Exner, later archbishop of Winnipeg and Vancouver. After hearing Anderson’s tale, he suspended Molon from priestly duties.

Exner told Justice David Crossin he did consider laicizingor removing Molon’s priestly powers.

That he said, would involve an application to the Vatican.

About six months after the suspension, Exner got a letter from Vancouver Archbishop James Carney asking about a suspended priest who had celebrated a mass at St. Joseph’s parish in Vancouver.

Anderson’s lawyer, Sandra Kovacs, asked Exner if he had warned other church officials about Molon.

“What am I supposed to do? “ Exner asked. “Warn every church in Canada and beyond?”

Asked if he could have extended the suspension beyond Kamloops, Exner said he was not a canon lawyer – an expert in church law.

Kovacs suggested he could have asked an archdiocese for help.

“I didn’t think I needed to go that far,” Exner said.

Then, in 1981, Bishop of Nelson Emmett Doyle received a letter from the diocese in Rockville Centre, New York, asking about Molon.

Exner wrote back saying Molon was suspended because of “totally unacceptable” activities.

Asked why he had asked the New York diocese to keep the matter confidential, Exner said, “to avoid scandal.”

(Rockville Centre is one of several dioceses currently facing potential bankruptcy under the weight of child sex abuse scandal legal actions.)

Then, a letter arrived from Pastor William Singleton in East Rockaway, New York, saying Molon has also been suspended there.

Kovacs suggested to Exner that he took phone calls from two priests saying Molon had been involved in sexual assaults in the state.

“I cannot remember a phone call giving me any details,” Exner said. “I wasn’t surprised. That was his [Molon’s] pattern.”

Exner did, though, remember a letter saying Molon would return to Canada and take a position with the armed forces.

“Did you write to the Department of National Defence and tell them he’s a serial offender?” Kovacs asked.

“I should have,” Exner said.

Anderson has testified Exner told her to leave Kamloops, evidence he flatly denied.

“I did not ask her to leave,” Exner said from the witness stand. I do not remember asking her to leave.”

Kovacs suggested Exner’s interest was preventing a scandal.

“She was a constant reminder of the scandal if she stayed?” Kovacs asked.

“That’s correct,” Exner said.

And, Exner said, Molon was not the only problem priest he had to deal with. Most issues were alcohol related, he said.

“In my 30 years, the number of priests who were sexual offenders were very few,” Exner said.

He said he never reported any of them to police.

Asked what he saw in those who had been violated by such priests, Exner said, “Pain. Pain and confusion. Deep pain. Woundedness.”

Priest confronted

After Anderson reported the abuse to Exner, he confronted Molon and offered him treatment for his sexual issues as a priest. He suspended Molon in October 1977.

Exner said he had also written to Molon’s bishop in his native Philippines asking for him to be recalled. He said Molon ignored that.

“I believe it would have been good for him to leave Canada,” said Exner who has called Molon “promiscuous” and “a playboy.”

Molon had suggested marriage, and Anderson went to see Exner about it, a course of action Exner discouraged.

With Molon unrepentant about his behaviour and refusing offers of treatment for sexual issues, Exner revoked his permission to serve as a priest.

“Molon was guilty of sexual offenses?” Anderson’s lawyer Sandra Kovacs asked Exner.

“Yes,” the archbishop said.

“He admitted to sexual offenses?” Kovacs asked.

“Yes,’ Exner replied.

“He was a serial offender?”

“Yes.”

Kovacs asked if there were other Kamloops women involved and how many.

“I suspect there were,” he said. “I never knew how many.”

With Anderson, though, the Molon situation was no longer just rumours. There were now accusations.

Exner testified he faced several choices. He said he wanted to help Molon but also suspended him.

But, he said, it was not a step he wanted to take. He said he needed Molon because “there was an acute shortage of priests.”

“People loved him. He preached well. He was very kind to people. Externally, he was a model priest in many ways,” Exner said. “There was two sides to him.”

“He had gone off the rails,” he said.

Exner conceded to Crossin he could have done more for Anderson.

“I should have offered her help,” he said. “I agree that I failed there.”

But, when Kovacs asked Exner if he believed the treatment of Anderson had been sinful, church lawyer John Hogg objected.

Instead, Crossin suggested Anderson and Exner meet to discuss that between themselves, an invitation both accepted.

Kovacs told the court earlier Molon misused his position of power and trust in the alleged assaults in 1976 and 1977.

“Bishop Exner was Father Molon’s direct superior,” Kovacs said, adding church law required him to investigate the allegations.

Exner reiterated that he had no desire to be a bishop but had to obey the church. He said he had no administrative experience and studied very little canon law at Rome’s Gregorian University.

“I had no experience of what it means to be a bishop,” he said. “I walked in no man’s land and that was kind of scary.”

Glacier Media requested Molon’s military records from the Department of National Defence under federal access to information laws in February but has yet to receive any records.

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@jhainswo

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Former Kamloops bishop Adam Exner testifies at sex assault trial

Rosemary Anderson alleges that Exner was negligent during his time as bishop in Kamloops when dealing with a priest accused of misconduct.

The Vancouver Sun

Updated: October 17 2019

Jennifer Saltman

The former Archbishop of Vancouver and Bishop of Kamloops Adam Exner at B.C. Supreme Court on Thursday. Jason Payne / PNG

The former bishop of Kamloops says a shortage of clergy and a lack of evidence to substantiate “vague” rumours about sexual misconduct prevented him from removing a priest from his diocese in the 1970s.

Adam Exner, who also served as archbishop of Vancouver from 1991 until 2004, testified in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver that it wasn’t until Rosemary Anderson approached him with sexual assault allegations against Father Erlindo Molon in early 1977 that he could take action.

“Then I had hard facts that I could put much more pressure on him to accept help,” said Exner, who was dressed in a black clerical outfit with a white collar, and wore a pectoral cross on a gold chain around his neck. The 90-year-old walked into the courtroom on Thursday using a cane.

Anderson, 70, has filed a lawsuit against the Roman Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of Kamloops, alleging that Molon raped her 70 to 100 times in 1976 and 1977, when she was teaching at Our Lady of Perpetual Help school in that city.

The diocese has admitted vicarious liability for Molon’s conduct, but the scope of the liability is at issue. Anderson has alleged that Exner, who was bishop at the time, was aware of a pattern of sexual misconduct involving Molon, but negligent in how he handled it.

Exner is not a named defendant in the case. Molon, 88, who suffers from dementia and lives in Ontario, has filed court documents denying the allegations.

Rosemary Anderson outside B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver. Arlen Redekop / PNG

Exner was the one who invited Molon to join the Kamloops diocese sometime in 1974.

“I was very short of clergy, and I engaged him and he did quite well. People loved him. He was very personable — he would attract people and people were attracted to him,” Exner said.

The rumours of misconduct began shortly after Molon arrived and became active in the parish. Exner described the rumours as vague insinuations that circulated among parishioners and the clergy. When asked if he could have known about them as early as 1975, Exner said he did not remember.

“He was misbehaving, he was a playboy,” Exner said, conceding under cross examination that Molon was also likely a predator.

Exner said he investigated the allegations as best he could and discussed his concerns with other clergy, but admitted under cross examination that he did not keep any notes or involve a lawyer. He claimed he didn’t interview any complainants because he never knew who they were.

When Exner brought the rumours to Molon, he said he didn’t deny them.

“He would just shrug them off and laugh,” Exner said.

Exner said he urged Molon to seek professional help multiple times, but nothing beyond that.

“I needed him too badly. And secondly, if I removed him, I would have had all the parish on my back. They loved him,” Exner said.

Anderson met with Exner in early 1977.

“She was upset because her relationship with Father Molon was going in directions that she didn’t want, and there was a sexual component there, sexual activity, and that was about the size of it,” Exner said.

Anderson testified last week that the alleged assaults began in late 1976, and took place at the rectory and her apartment. She said Molon took advantage of her and breached the boundaries of the priest-parishioner relationship.

“Obviously, I confronted him and I got the same answer as he always gave: ‘I’m human.’ That was what he’d always say when confronted with rumours,” Exner said. “I told him that if he wanted to continue to work in the diocese he would have to get some professional help.”

Exner said Molon refused to get help, however he was allowed to continue preaching until he was suspended around February 1977. On March 16 that year, Exner gave a homily during mass to let the parish know what had happened.

“People were very much upset with the way I was dealing with Father Molon,” said Exner. “They thought I was being unfair with him, so I had to explain what the truth was.”

After his suspension, Exner said he had no idea where Molon ended up. He believed that he was still living in Kamloops and that a family there was “harbouring” him.

“Who they were, I never found out,” Exner said.

Later in the year, he had a letter delivered to Molon via someone who knew where he was staying, reinforcing that his ability to do priestly duties had been removed.

“Most priests would know that, but he obviously didn’t, or he chose to ignore what he knew,” Exner said. “Whatever went on between us earlier, it obviously didn’t sink in, so I had to make it clear to him.”

Exner said that at the time, he did the best he could to deal with Molon.

“I had to balance my judgment: What is more harmful, what is less dangerous? I did what I thought was less dangerous,” he said.

Exner conceded, under questioning from Anderson’s lawyer Sandra Kovacs, that if he had removed Molon from his post earlier, Anderson would not have been put in the situation that she was.

“It wouldn’t have happened. But hindsight is always so much easier than foresight, believe me,” he said.

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twitter.com/jensaltman

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Updated: Archbishop knew of priest sexual abuse before complaints: testimony

Richmond News

October 17, 2019 02:25 PMJeremy Hainsworth / Glacier MediaKamloops Roman Catholic Archdiocese officials knew of the sexual activities of a priest before a schoolteacher reported her abuse at the man’s hands in 1977, the former bishop told B.C. Supreme Court Oct. 17.“He was misbehaving,” testified Adam Exner, later archbishop of Winnipeg and Vancouver. “He was a playboy.”
Rosemary Anderson alleged in a Dec. 22, 2016, notice of civil claim the sexual abuse at the hands of Father Erlindo “Lindo” Molon, now 86, started when she was 26 when she sought solace after her father’s death. She names Molon and the Roman Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of Kamloops, A Corporation Sole in the claim.

Exner, 90, told Justice David Crossin he had been hearing rumours about Molon – all from parishioners, none from clergy.

And, he confirmed, diocesan minutes show there were personnel issues with Molon. “The same difficulties he always had,” Exner said.

Anderson testified last week she had sought help from Molon in dealing with grief from her father’s death in 1976 but instead found herself being groped by him in his office.

He comforted her but, she said, as she made to leave his office, “he embraced me, then began fondling me,” she said. “He shoved his ugly tongue in my mouth. I hated it. I prayed to God to stop it.”

“I felt fear. I felt disgust,” she said. “I felt completely helpless.”

Then, she said, Molon took her hand and led her into the adjoining bedroom where they had intercourse.

Eventually, she said, Molon suggested marriage. At that point in early 1977, she went to see Exner.

“She was upset because her relationship with Father Molon was going in a direction she did not want,” Exner said. “There was a sexual component to it.”
And, he agreed Anderson was vulnerable.

“I think I let her know she’s not the only one. He’s promiscuous,” he said.

“He would have taken advantage of her even more if she were his wife.”

With Anderson, though, the Molon situation was no longer just rumours. There were now accusations.

“That meeting with Rosemary Anderson was when I hit pay dirt,” Exner said.

Exner said he confronted Molon about the relationship with Anderson. “I got the same answer he always gave. ‘I’m human.’ That was the answer he always gave when confronted with rumours.”

The court has heard Anderson went to Exner with her concerns about Molon.

While Anderson has testified Exner told her Molon could not get married and then asked her if she had been having an affair with her confessor, Exner said he advised her against marriage.

But, he added, Anderson’s information was what he needed to act on disciplining Molon.

Soon after, he suspended Molon, removing his abilities to act as a priest.

“He was misbehaving and he was refusing to take any measures to improve himself,” Exner testified.

Exner said he encouraged Molon to go to a treatment centre that assisted clergy with alcohol or sexual issues.

“I tried to get him some professional help, to get him to straighten out,” Exner said. “I tried very hard.”

Exner also testified he knew some of the women Molon was involved with were married.

But, he expressed a lack of knowledge of Roman Catholic church law – or canon law – about sexual involvements of priests. He said he did not have a canon lawyer available to him.

Anderson’s lawyer Sandra Kovacs asked Exner if Molon was a predator rather than a playboy.

“I don’t see how I can draw a line between the two,” Exner responded. “A bit of both.

“What he was doing was morally wrong, and that’s the first concern.”

Kovacs asked him if he knew as early as 1975 that Molon was sexually involved with parishioners.

“I can’t remember the details,” Exner said.

Exner said the reaction to relieving Molon of his duties in 1977 from parishioners who loved Molon was hard. He said there was “a lot of blast from the people who were not happy about that.”

He said people thought he was being unfair for punishing Molon for one transgression.

“They thought I was doing it for one isolated mistake,” Exner said. “It was a multitude of things.

“He was molesting people,” Exner added later.

But, he said, he could not warn people.

“How could I do that? Stand up and say, ‘Watch this guy. I don’t trust him.’”

Exner said he did not remove the priest in person. Rather, he said, he did it by letter. But, not knowing where Molon was in Kamloops, he gave the letter to a parishioner who delivered it to Molon personally.

Exner also wrote a statement that he delivered in church about removing Molon.

“It took a lot of courage to get up and give a talk like that in church but I had to do it.”

Anderson testified earlier the sexual abuse happened “on an average, I’d say, two or three times a week.”

Molon “raped” Anderson 75 to 100 times, Kovacs said Oct. 7.

“I didn’t know that,” Exner said.

Most times, the assault occurred in Molon’s quarters but also in a room between common areas and at her apartment.

Anderson said she eventually began discussing it at confession, fearing if she did not, she would go to hell.  She did this repeatedly – 40 to 50 times. She said her confessor eventually told her she need not keep confessing to it, that she could still take communion.

Anderson’s lawyer Sandra Kovacs told the court Molon misused his position of power and trust in the alleged assaults in 1976 and 1977.

“Bishop Exner was Father Molon’s direct superior,” Kovacs said, adding church law required him to investigate the allegations.

Kovacs said Exner’s interest was preventing a scandal.

The lawyer said an option presented to Molon was moving to another parish.

“But I knew if I sent him to another parish I could expect in due time to have a similar problem there,” Exner said.

“He was probably going to do the same thing elsewhere because he was not learning anything.”

Exner became frustrated at times, repeatedly being unable to recall events from the Seventies.

“I’m 90 years old,” he said in reaction to one of Kovac’s questions. “I had a stroke in 2015 that shattered my memory. Give me a break.”

And, in one startling response, he said he had not wanted to be a bishop.

“I didn’t ask to be a bishop,” he said. “I didn’t want to be a bishop. I went there (Kamloops) with fear and trembling. I did the best I could.”

[email protected]

@jhainswo

2 Responses to “’Playboy’ priest moved to New York parishes, Canadian Forces job” & related articles

  1. Sylvia says:

    Obviously the last thing on Bishop Exner’s mind when he was dealing with this predator priest was the salvation of souls: the salvation of Rosemary’s soul. the salvation of Father Molon’s soul, the salvation of the souls of every parishioner on whom Molon planted his preying hands . For that matter, in what seem to be his ‘sins of omission,’ Exner did not seem to put any stock or concern regarding the salvation of his own soul.

  2. Phil Johnson says:

    Another disgusting example of how bishops covered up for their pervert collars. Unbelievable that this cretin considers himself blameless in light of being “forced” to become a bishop. What an arse.

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