Priest pleads guilty to 35 of 62 sex-related charges

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The Guardian (Charlottetown, PEI)

10 September 2012

 Photo special to The Guardian by the CBC
Father George Smith

Rev. George Smith pleaded guilty Monday in court in Cornerbrook, NL to 35 of 62 sex-related charges against boys.

The retired Roman Catholic priest was accused of sexually abusing young males allegedly victimized nine boys during a 20-year period of serving western Newfoundland parishes.

Smith, who last resided in Truro, N.S., turned himself into the RCMP in Corner Brook late last year.

Smith was serving at St. Malachy’s Parish in Kinkora when the investigation was launched. He stepped down and went to live with a family member in Truro.

He had served in several P.E.I. parishes after transferring from Newfoundland in 1990. All of the charges against Smith involve Newfoundland parishes.

He appeared in Corner Brook Supreme Court on Monday morning. Another eight charges will be dealt with Oct. 1.

The bishop of Corner Brook and Labrador, Reverend Peter J. Hundt, responded to the guilty plea entered in provincial court by Smith, of the former Diocese of St. George’s, on charges of sexual misconduct.

“We abhor these crimes,” said Hundt. “Such an abuse of power over the young and innocent is wrong and is contrary to the Gospel. We regret the pain, hurt and humiliation suffered by these men; we are praying for God’s healing grace for them and for their families.”

In May 2010 the diocese received information of the alleged sexual misconduct and contacted the RCMP. Following their investigation the RCMP charged Smith with multiple counts of sexual misconduct between 1969 and 1989.

“Along with these men and their families, the whole Catholic community is wounded by such sins committed against the young and the vulnerable. It is a crime that leaves us all in need of healing,” said Hundt.

“But if we are a wounded Church and people, we are also a Church and people who believe in, and are committed to working for healing and forgiveness. My door is open and I will gladly offer whatever pastoral support I can to the victims and their families to help them come to terms with their pain and grief.”

1 Response to Priest pleads guilty to 35 of 62 sex-related charges

  1. Sylvia says:

    Did Father Smith suddenly stop molesting when he landed in PEI in the early 90s?  That is possible, yes, but highly doubtful.  If there are indeed PEI victims of this wolf-in-sheep’s-clothing my thoughts and prayers are with you.  Never ever forget that you have nothing to be ashamed of.  The shame is not yours to bear – it belongs squarely on the shoulders of your molester and those who covered up on his behalf.

    A reminder here that the first victim to come forward in  this case has allegedly said that sometime in the 90s he told a priest that he was abused by Smith and that the then bishop of the the then Diocese of St. George’s Newfoundland (now Corner Brook, Labrador) was advised. The Bishop of St. George’s was Raymond Lahey – now disgraced and defrocked after his 2011 guilty plea to child porn charges.

    Exactly when Smith was recycled off to the unwitting Catholics in PEI is unknown, but also perhaps of interest is the fact that the Bishop of Charlottetown from August ’82 to February ’91 was James Hector MacDonald.  Bishop MacDonald became Archbishop of St. John’s Newfoundland December 1991.

    Who knew what about Smith when he landed in PEI?  What if any role did Raymond Lahey play in pawning Smith off on the Catholics of PEI?  I hope that once the trial is wrapped up we will find out.

    Often forgotten in these horror stories are the Catholics who trusted, welcomed and perhaps even revered these wolf in sheep’s clothing.  I am sure there is many a Catholic on the Island right now who is positive reeling after reading that Father George Smith has admitted he sexually abused all those young boys in Newfoundland.  I am sure there are many who are wondering if he ever laid a hand on their boys.  Keep these people in your prayers too. Pray for all the victims, and pray for all those who have been deceived by this sexual predator and his enablers.

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