Winnipeg priest put on leave, investigated for impropriety

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CBC News

Posted: Nov 30, 2016 12:45 PM CT   Last Updated: Nov 30, 2016 12:45 PM CT

The archbishop of St. Boniface released the statement to parishioners at St. Bernadette Parish, saying it was his "painful duty" to inform them about accusations against their former priest.

The archbishop of St. Boniface released the statement to parishioners at St. Bernadette Parish, saying it was his “painful duty” to inform them about accusations against their former priest. (Google Street View)

A Winnipeg priest has been put on administrative leave over allegations of impropriety and the archbishop has turned to the Pope for advice in handling the matter.

There is no word on what exactly the allegations against Rev. Fred Olds involve or when the incidents took place. However, a statement from the archbishop of St. Boniface notes the allegations do not involve minors.

Olds was the pastor at St. Bernadette Parish for 20 years and left in 2015 to become pastor at St. Timothy Parish. Both parishes are part of the Archdiocese of St. Boniface.

In his statement, Archbishop Albert LeGatt said he also removed Olds from membership on the diocese’s Advisory Committee for The Protection of Minors and Vulnerable Adults.

“Please pray for the entire parish of St. Bernadette, for all its members and for all its families.” – Archbishop Albert LeGatt

LeGatt released the statement to parishioners at St. Bernadette earlier this month, saying it was his “painful duty” to inform them about the accusations against their former priest.

“These allegations concern his responsibilities and duties as a shepherd, as a pastor of souls, as a Roman Catholic priest,” the statement says.

LeGatt said when he heard about the allegations, he hired a certified clinical psychologist to speak with people “so as to arrive at the truth as best it can be known.”

A total of 28 people were interviewed and a report was submitted to LeGatt, who then took the actions against Olds. The priest was also advised to seek legal advice.

LeGatt’s statement stresses that the accusations are still being investigated and Olds “is presumed innocent until proven otherwise.”

“We continue the search for the whole truth in the matter of these allegations,” he said.

LeGatt also noted he has turned to the Vatican in Rome to seek advice and direction. But he is also asking parishioners to help by providing two things: information and prayers.

“I ask that if anybody has any information at all that may be relevant or helpful to please contact my office immediately,” he said.

“And finally, I bring forward to all of you my deepest request at this time. Please pray. Please pray for the good of all, for the good of each individual. Please pray for the entire parish of St. Bernadette, for all its members and for all its families.”

St. Bernadette is not new to being in the news. It’s the same parish where an employee embezzled more than $400,000.

Leo McCaughan, who managed finances for the church between 2009 and 2015, admitted last month to the charges.

9 Responses to Winnipeg priest put on leave, investigated for impropriety

  1. Mrs. Carr says:

    I resent that you are crucifying Father Fred in public before any investigation is complete. Maybe you have a resentment of the Roman Catholic Church for one or another reasons. You are entitled! However, you are NOT entitled to belittle this man when you know nothing about it except the gossip you have heard. Father Fred and his family have been lifetime friends of my family, every since before his parents were married. He is a good man or he would not have remained in the Priesthood this many years.

    • HH73 says:

      I don’t see anybody crucifying anyone here ……. the article above is simply stating the news that he is under internal investigation. There is nothing here that is not already on a media site. Actually this whole story on this page is lifted directly from CBC.ca your anger is misdirected. I am also a member of St. Bernadettes

  2. Mike Fitzgerald says:

    Mrs. Carr – You are “over-the-top” here. Who are you accusing of crucifying Fr. Fred? No one that I am aware of is belittling Fr. Fred, unless you are privy to some inside information that no one else is aware of.
    You go on to refer to the posted information as “gossip”. Unfortunately for you, this information is not gossip! As HH73 has indicated, all that you see here is a news report indicating that something is wrong, and officials are investigating the matter.
    I have found in my life that sometimes the truth hurts, and I feel bad for you in this case, but our feelings will not change the TRUTH. Mike.

  3. just another victim says:

    Mrs. Carr, if you are feeling someone is crucifying or belittling Fr. Olds, then perhaps you should meet with your Archbishop and ask him what is going on. He is the one that sent/read the letter to the former parishes of Fr. Olds. As others have said this site is simply reporting what is in the media.

    Also there are many men that remained in the priesthood even though they have admitted to terrible acts, you don’t have to look far to find evidence of that either on this site or in the media.

  4. Josephine says:

    The information you posted on line was a letter to the parishioners read by the Archbishop out of respect for the church congregation. This wasn’t for public knowledge. Look up the definition of impropriety. To sum it up, it means not dealing in a professional manner, not proper. If Father Fred was in any other profession this would not have been public knowledge. I have employees all the time that are off work for various reasons and it is always confidential. A persons leave is never shared with their peers nor the public for that matter. Shame on the gossip!

  5. HH73 says:

    This is a direct copy and paste of what was posted by CBC, if you want to get mad ….. get mad at The CBC ……. get mad at the archdiocese of st boniface that made this available to the media……. don’t get mad here. enough already!!!

    • HH73 says:

      Also when churches are exempt from taxes and rely on public handouts to survive ……. is there any type of impropriety that should not be made public? I don’t think so.

  6. Mike Fitzgerald says:

    Good point, HH73!! Also Josephine, it isn’t like Fr. Fred is just “off work” as you so kindly put it, he is being investigated for improprieties. That is NOT the same as being off work for personal reasons!
    I really do not understand the people that are accusing others of “gossip”, “slander”, etc. etc.etc.
    I have looked through the entire thread on Fr. Fred and I fail completely in finding any gossip or slander. Are you people THAT insecure that you must resort to using these terms (crucifying, gossip, slander, shame, etc.) to define Sylvia’s Site? Her site has been a god-send to hundreds of victims of sexual abuse at the hands of “the good father”.
    I would remind Mrs. Carr and Josephine that in years gone by, many priest-abusers were hidden and moved around by the church, mostly because they could get away with it, with little or NO regard for the victims or their families.
    That no longer happens, thanks mostly to sites like Sylvia’s, which chronicle and display for the public the sick, sorry deeds of the past. The church can no longer hide these deviant creatures like it used to!!!
    I for one will be forever grateful to Sylvia and her site, and I deeply resent your rants which do not seem very well though out! Mike.

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