James Patrick Robertson
Monsignor Jim Robertson
Monsignor Jim Robertson
Priest Diocese of Corner Brook and Labrador, Newfoundland (originally Diocese of St. George Newfoundland. Ordained 1989. In 2007, after the suppression of the Diocese of Labrador City-Schefferville the Diocese of St. George’s together with the former Diocese of Labrador City-Schefferville, became the Diocese of Corner Brook and Labrador) . Ordained 1989
Involved in coordinating the Diocese of St. George’s Newfoundland settlement agreement with victims of clerical sexual abuse (scroll down to articles)
April 2019 charges in relation to allegations of assault of a student before Christmas 2018 at a school event in the Bay of Islands.
Bishops of St. George’s Diocese from time of Monsignor Jim Robertson’s ordination: Raymond John Lahey (05 July 1986 -05 Apr 2003 Appointed, Bishop of Antigonish, Nova Scotia); David Douglas Crosby, O.M.I. (06 August 2003 – 24 September 2010 Appointed, Bishop of Hamilton, Ontario); Peter Joseph Hundt (01 Mar 2011 Appointed – 12 December 2018 Appointed, Archbishop of Saint John’s, Newfoundland)
Next court date: 06 December 2019: continuation of trial, 09:30 am, Corner Brook Courthouse (82 Mt. Bernard Avenue); TRIAL booked for 17 October 2019, 09:30 am, Corner Brook Courthouse (82 Mt. Bernard Avenue)
16 July 2019: 09:30 am, “for plea” Corner Brook Courthouse (82 Mt. Bernard Avenue); 18 June 2019: 09:30, Corner Brook Courthouse 82 Mt. Bernard Avenue, Corner Brook) “for plea” ; 28 May 2019: Corner Brook courthouse (82 Mt. Bernard Avenue, Corner Brook)
Unless otherwise indicated thew following information is drawn from annual copies of the Canadian Catholic Church Directories which I have on hand (CCCD) and media (M)
30 April 2019: RCMP laid charges in relation to allegations of assault of a student at a school event in the Bay of Islands before Christmas. Age 54
2019: parish priest at both Sacred Heart Parish in the Curling area of Corner Brook and at Our Lady Star of the Sea Parish in Benoit’s Cove
01 August 2017: Pastor, Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church, Curling and Administrator of Our Lady Star of the Sea Roman Catholic Church, Benoit’s Cove, Newfoundland:
2013-2017: Pastor, St. Stephen’s Roman Catholic Church, Stephenville, Newfoundland (Msgr. Robertson St. Stephen’s Parish)
2016: Pastor, St. Stephen’s Roman Catholic Church, Stephenville, Newfoundland (Assistant Pastor, Father Paulose Kannampilly mf) (CCCD)
26 June 2013: appointed Pastor of St. Stephen’s Roman Catholic Church, Stephenville and Administrator of Maria Regina Roman Catholic Church in Port au Port, Newfoundland :
2013: Pastor, Immaculate Conception, Deer Lake , Newfoundland (CCCD)
2006–2012: Chancellor of Temporal Affairs
June 2012: ends appointment as Chancellor of Temporal Affairs. Monsignor Robertson spent six years on “the settlement process” and implementation of changes to the corporate structure of the diocese:
02 August 2011: Mass at Catechetical camp in Lomond, Newfoundland”
2002: Pastor, Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church, Conche, Newfoundland (CCCD – Diocese St. George’s – Raymond Lahey, now defrocked and disgraced, was bishop)
2000, 1997: Pastor, Our Lady of Lourdes, Lourdes. Newfoundland (CCCD)
August 1996: Appointed member of Interim School Board. Address listed as Lourdes. (Rev. James Robertson Interim School Board 1996 – School District #4, District Stephenville/Port aux Basques)
1996, 1995, 1993: Pastor, St. Francis Xavier Roman Catholic Church, St. Anthony, Newfoundland (CCCD)
1991: Most Holy Redeemer, Cathedral, Corner Brook, Newfoundland ( with Father Maurice O’Quinn and Monsignor Michael Murphy), (CCCD)
A Corner Brook priest has been charged with assaulting a student at a school event in the Bay of Islands just before Christmas.
According to a release issued by the RCMP early Tuesday afternoon, 57-year-old James Patrick Robertson is facing one charge after Robertson had attended the unnamed school for a holiday event Dec. 21.
The RCMP has confirmed this is Msgr. Jim Robertson who, according to the Diocese of Corner Brook and Labrador website, is the parish priest at both Sacred Heart Parish in the Curling area of Corner Brook and at Our Lady Star of the Sea Parish in Benoit’s Cove.
The police said it only completed its investigation into the matter last week.
Robertson was released from police custody with conditions, including having no contact with the victim and to remain away from the victim’s place of residence and school.
Robertson’s matter is scheduled to be called at provincial court in Corner Brook on May 28.
***This article was updated April 30, 2019 to confirm the accused’s identity.
Corner Brook Man, 57, Accused of Assaulting Student
April 30, 2019 | 2:16 pm Last Updated:April 30, 2019 | 2:32 pm
A 57-year-old Corner Brook man has been ordered to stay away from a school in Bay of Islands, and not to contact an alleged victim, in relation to a reported assault in December.
Corner Brook RCMP received a report of an assault at a school in the area of Bay of Islands on December 21. A student was allegedly assaulted by a man who was at the school for a holiday event.
Following an investigation, police arrested 57-year-old James Patrick Robertson, last Thursday. He was charged with assault and released from custody on conditions to stay away from the victim’s home and school, and to have no contact with the victim.
He’s scheduled to appear in provincial court late next month.
Diocese of Corner Brook and Labrador website
07 September 2012
End of Appointment
On Wednesday, September 12, 2012 Mr. Richard Kelly leaves his position as Diocesan Financial Officer/Business Manager to accept an offer of employment with a business in the Corner Brook area.
Richard has served the diocese in this capacity for six years. During this time he worked with the then Chancellor of Temporal Affairs, Msgr. Robertson, on the settlement process and in the implementation of changes to the corporate structure of the diocese. Richard was also involved in the creation of the Responsible Ministry Policy of the diocese.
We thank Richard for his service to the diocese and pray for God’s blessings upon him and his family.
Questions on diocesan business matters may be directed to the Bishop’s office.
Posted on Sep 7, 2012
Church out of cash to pay abuse victims: lawyer
More properties need to be sold to make next payment, diocese says
Last Updated: Thursday, January 10, 2008 | 7:24 AM NT
More than three dozen Newfoundland and Labrador men who had been sexually abused by a priest will likely not be fully compensated, their lawyer says.
They were finally putting behind them this torturous past, embarrassing past,’ lawyer Greg Stack says of the victims who await compensation.
The Roman Catholic Diocese of St. George’s had sold off many of its properties, including churches that were bought back by congregation members, to help settle a $14 million settlement over abuse committed by priest Kevin Bennett.
But Greg Stack, the St. John’s lawyer representing most of the 40 claimants, said the diocese says it cannot pay any more, with only half of the settlement payments complete.
“They’re acting very worldly for a spiritual organization,” Stack told CBC News.
“They’ve transferred the title out to new corporations with the money they’ve raised. So instead of raising money to give to victims, they raised money to protect their own property.”
Bennett was convicted in Newfoundland Supreme Court in 1990 and served four years in prison.
The compensation package took years to negotiate, and last year the diocese filed an appeal of the package.
Father Kevin Bennett was convicted in 1990 of sexually abusing boys in southern Newfoundland parishes.
Stack said that an instalment in the compensation package that was due last summer has not yet been received, despite assurances.
“There is no firm indication that they’ll ever be paid. It’s looking more and more dubious as time goes on,” he said.
Stack said if any compensation is ever paid again, he believes it will be small.
Stack said the men involved in the settlement, most of whom were abused by Bennett while he was posted to churches in southern Newfoundland, are disappointed by the latest turn of events.
“They had plans made,” he said.
“They were finally putting behind them this torturous past, embarrassing past.”
But Father Jim Robertson, who helped co-ordinate the settlement agreement, acknowledges that while there is currently no money to make payments, the church will do its best to pay out the rest of the compensation by the end of 2008.
“We’re always optimistic that we’ll be able to complete that and we work towards that. That’s our whole reason for being, is to honour our agreements as best we can,” Robertson told CBC News.
Robertson said several more church properties are expected to be sold soon, which could result in another $750,000 payment being made to victims by March.
Stack said he is not holding his breath over that payment being received by then.
The compensation agreement requires the diocese to make good on its commitments by Dec. 31.
Bennett was one of a series of Roman Catholic priests — and then lay Christian Brothers at the Mount Cashel Orphanage in St. John’s — who were convicted in the 1980s and 1990s of sexual assaults.
The charges and trials — as well as a church-led inquiry and a royal commission into an aborted 1970s Mount Cashel police investigation — rocked the Roman Catholic church as well as the criminal justice and social services systems.
J.J. Byrne, who advocated for Mount Cashel survivors and is aware of the struggles to obtain compensation, said parishioners who have helped buy back properties should demand more from church leaders.
“I think it is incumbent on the parishioners to absolutely demand the diocese fulfil its obligation and pay the victims,” Byrne said.
N.L. Diocese Files Suit against Insurance Companies for Sex-Abuse Settlement
By Tara Brautigam
June 14, 2006
ST. JOHN’S, N.L. (CP) – A Roman Catholic diocese in Newfoundland is suing six insurance companies, alleging they are fully responsible for a $13-million compensation package awarded to victims of a sexually abusive priest.
“The victims deserve compensation,” says Rev. Jim Robertson of the Roman Catholic Episcopal Corp. of St. George’s Diocese. “But we feel that the insurance companies, who are supposed to be carrying insurance for us, should also have to carry some of that financial obligation.”
The corporation, which filed the statement of claim last week, is seeking indemnity from the insurers it had during the time of Kevin Bennett’s horrific crimes.
“We want the court to say the insurers who are insuring us are the ones who (owe) the entirety of the costs of that liability,” Robertson said Tuesday from his Corner Brook home in western Newfoundland.
“It would be the same as you having a house fire. The insurance company might come back to you and say, ‘Well, because of this, that or the other thing, we’re not responsible, we’re not liable.’ ”
For 15 years, legal battles were waged to determine who was liable for the years of abuse inflicted by Bennett, a former priest with the diocese. Unlike many other denominations, which are incorporated nationally, the Catholic Church in Canada is legally incorporated only at the diocese level.
In March 2004, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that Bennett’s victims could sue the Roman Catholic Episcopal Corp. of St. George’s Diocese. The victims accepted a proposed $13-million settlement in May 2005.
The diocese, the first in Canada to seek bankruptcy protection as a result of sex-abuse claims, has tried to negotiate with the insurance companies on compensating victims since the settlement was made, but to no avail, Robertson said.
“We decided rather than us continuing to try to negotiate with the insurance companies, that we will take it to the court and let the court decide where the liability lies,” Robertson said, warning that any payments after a July 22 scheduled instalment could be in jeopardy.
“We’re confident we can make this next payment,” he said. “But after that, we don’t know what ability we’ll have to make payments.”
To date, the diocese has paid about $5 million toward the settlement. Another $3.8-million instalment is due July 22.
The statement of claim also seeks defence costs and indemnity from any poible further damage awards.
Bennett was convicted in May 1990 of hundreds of sexual aaults dating back to 1961. He was sentenced to four years in prison after the court heard how he had plied altar boys with liquor and money for nearly three decades.
The suit comes as the diocese is close to finalizing the purchase of more than 100 of its churches, chapels and parish halls that it was ordered to put up for sale as part of the settlement with the victims. The properties, which were never sold to an outside party, are set to be purchased by a trust set up by the diocese.
The diocese has raised nearly $6.5 million from parishioners, priests and churches acro Canada over the past year, so that the trust could purchase its aets. That planned purchase is part of the settlement and is not affected by the lawsuit, Robertson said.
Newfoundland has been rocked by a series of sex-abuse scandals involving Catholic clergy, the most infamous of which spanned several decades at the former Mount Cashel Orphanage run by the Christian Brothers in St. John’s.
Port au Port campaigns to keep historic church
Residents in a small town with a large church have launched a fund-raising campaign to prevent the church from falling into the wrong hands.
Our Lady of Mercy Roman Catholic Church in Port au Port West is one of the oldest wooden structures in the province, and is one of the properties put on the real estate market by the cash-strapped Diocese of St. George’s.
The diocese needs to raise about $13 million, and has put properties on the market to help pay its obligations under a claim involving sexual abuse victims, almost all of them at the hands of priest Kevin Bennett.
“I can’t imagine Port au Port West without it,” said Danny McCann, a long-time resident of the community who was married in the church.
“We have to keep it. It can’t go.”
Our Lady of Mercy was built in 1914, and was designed to accommodate what planners thought would become one of the largest communities in the island.
The town’s population, centred in part around a quarry in the region, never did mushroom as planned, but the church has served generations, and is a beacon for the local tourism industry.
Now residents are reaching out to parishioners and their relatives for support.
They are aiming to raise $150,000 to buy the church and a nearby museum, as well as a gym, a rink and a park.
The church’s finely crafted wooden features are too precious to lose, said McCann, who is spearheading a campaign.
“[Most] if not all of everything in here [of] the woodwork was done by local people at the time and some of these people that were involved with this church construction still have families here,” McCann said.
Father Jim Robertson says many communities have expressed an interest to buy back their churches.
He hopes they can raise the money fairly quickly.
“While we want to say, ‘Take all your time and fund-raise to keep your buildings,’ we have obligations to the victims and we have to meet those obligations,” Robertson said.