Bennett: Father Anthony Bennett

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Anthony Patrick Bennett (Father Anthony Bennett)

Irish-born priest,  Archdiocese of St. John’s Newfoundland.  Ordained for Archdiocese of St. John’s 1979.  1989, GUILTY plea to one charge related to sex abuse of a minor male. (The victim also had charges laid against Father Francis Slattery and Edward Leo Sutton.  The abuse transpired at the home of Father John Corrigan.)  Judge found no custodial sentence was warranted – sentenced to probation for two years.  Bennett left the priesthood. In August 2000 was found murdered in his Homewood Ave. apartment in Toronto.

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Archbishops of St. John’s during Bennett’s tenure:  Patrick James Skinner (January 1951-April 1979) ; Alphonsus Penney (April 1979-February 1991); possibly James MacDonald (February 1991-December 2000)

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29 February 2012:  BLOG Same complaint

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The following information is drawn from Canadian Catholic Directories (CCCD) of the corresponding date, media (M) and  the Winter Commission Report (WCR)

August 2000:  was found murdered in his Homewoood Ave, apartment in Toronto (M)

1991:  not listed

September 1989:  Suspended sentence and two years probation (M)

September 1989:  GUILTY plea to one count of gross indecency.    The abuse transpired at the home of Father John Corrigan in Pouch Cove.  Upon sentencing Judge David Riche stated:

On one of those visits the complainant was playing darts with Bennett and Bennett started grabbing him in the crotch area inside and outside the clothes.  The complainant did the same to Bennett.  This later led to them both going to the bathroom and Bennett initiating oral sex upon the young complainant who, in turn, performed oral sex on Bennett.  The complainant consented to the sexual acts performed by Bennett and himself.  Bennett was dressed casually at the time and was not wearing his clerical attire …Mr. Bennett is not a pedophile, he is a homosexual.  It is not unlawful to be a homosexual.  Furthermore, seven years passed before any charges were laid against Anthony Bennett.  There was no evidence before the court that he committed any subsequent offence. (WCR)

(Father Corrigan pled guilty in 1988 to a seven charges related to the sex abuse of 7 boys ages 10 to 13 in Pouch Cove, Newfoundland. According to Judge Seabright, Corrigan’s lawyer said that Father Corrigan is a homosexual.  Seabright later said that  Corrigan  did not prey on children but entered into sexual relations with boys in an “opportunistic fashion.”) (M & WCR)

1987: “resigned from active ministry” (WCR)  Bennett allegedly told the archbishop he was having difficulties with his sexuality and could not continue being a priest (M)

1986-87: Pastor, St. Patrick’s, Witless Bay and Sacred Heart in Tors Cove (WCR)

1984-86: Pastor, Sacred Heart RC Church, Cape Shore (WCR)

1985-86:  Sacred Heart RC Church, Placentia  (Pastor: Father William Pomroy) (CCCD)

1982-1984:assisting at Marystown (WCR)

1982:  attended Southdown “following an incident at the Village Mall in which he was involved in sexual activity with an adult male.” (WCR)

1979:  ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of St. John’s, Newfoundland

1978: ordained to the diaconate by Archbishop Skinner (WCR)

1977:  “Based upon the recommendation of the  Rector at All Hallows Seminary[Ireland] he was accepted as a student for the Archdiocese of St. John’s on June 7, 1977” (WCR)

sent to Placentia as a student during summer months (WCR)

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Man charged in downtown apartment slaying ; Police seek 15-year-old girl known to accused

Toronto Star

08 September 2000

Toronto police have arrested a suspect in the murder of Anthony Patrick Bennett, found dead three weeks ago in his Homewood Ave. apartment.

The man was arrested shortly before 3 a.m. yesterday in the Yonge St. and Wellesley St. area when the victim of a street robbery pointed out his attacker to police, said homicide detective Kim Carr.

He said the man, who was known by several names, had no fixed address and had been spending time on the streets in the area between Yonge St. and Regent Park.

Carr wouldn’t reveal how Bennett, 45, died, saying he didn’t want to release details before having the opportunity to discuss the investigation with Bennett’s family.

Carr said there was no sign of forced entry to the victim’s apartment and said investigations are continuing to determine if the victim was acquainted with the suspect.

Stephen Allan Earley, 23, who has numerous tattoos on his arms, shoulders and legs, was remanded in custody when he appeared at College Park Court on a charge of first-degree murder.

Homicide detectives are also trying to find a 15-year-old girl who had been seen with the suspect.

Carr said there is no reason to believe she is involved in the slaying, but because she’s a runaway, police want to make sure she has returned to her family in the Kingston area.

The missing girl, Lindsay Faulkner, who also goes by the name Kerry York, is white, 5 feet, 3 inches tall, 110 pounds with a slim build, blue eyes and long blond hair.

Carr said police are concerned she has not been located since the suspect’s arrest, but they have no evidence she has been harmed.

However, he said Faulkner’s parents are concerned for her safety.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Toronto police at 808- 2222, Kingston police at (613) 549-4660 or Crime Stoppers at 222- 8477.

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Sex with boy gets ex-priest probation

The Toronto Star

19 October 1989

ST. JOHN’S, Nfld. (CP) – A former Roman Catholic priest who pleaded guilty to a charge of gross indecency involving a teenage boy has been given a suspended sentence.

Anthony Patrick Bennett, 32, of St. John’s, was placed on probation for two years when he appeared in Newfoundland Supreme Court yesterday.

Mr. Justice David Rice said he gave Bennett a suspended sentence for several reasons: The teenager had not been pressured into having oral sex with him; Bennett has since left the priesthood; and Bennett has been undergoing treatment for his sexual problems.

At Bennett’s trial, the court was told the victim and Bennett engaged in oral sex in the early 1980s at the home of another priest. That priest, John Corrigan, is now serving a five-year term for sex offences against boys.

The teenager, then 15 or 16, had been involved in a continuing sexual relationship with Corrigan for a number of years, the court was told.

Although the youth consented to having sex with Bennett, he was under age at the time, making the act illegal.

Several years before the offence took place, Bennett approached Archbishop Alphonsus Penney of St. John’s and told him he had a problem with homosexuality, Bennett’s lawyer told the court earlier this year.

The lawyer said Bennett later sought treatment at a counselling centre for clergy in Ontario.

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Archbishop knew in 1981 priest had problem with homosexuality

The Edmonton Journal

11 October 1989

The Canadian Press

St. John’s, Nfld.

Archbishop Alphonsus Penney knew in 1981 a priest had a problem with homosexuality, court heard Tuesday after the priest pleaded guilty to having sex with a boy.

Anthony Patrick Bennett, 32, of St. John’s, pleaded guilty to one count of gross indecency with a teenage boy in the early 1980s. He will be sentenced in Newfoundland Supreme Court Oct. 18.

Court was told the victim and Bennett engaged in oral sex in the home of another priest, John Corrigan, who is currently serving a five- year jail term for sex offences against boys.

Evidence that might identify the victim cannot be reported.

In his summation, defence lawyer Donald MacBeath said that after the incident took place, Bennett approached the archbishop to acknowledge the problem.

Bennett subsequently sought treatment at a counselling centre for clergy in Ontario, the lawyer said.

MacBeath produced copies of progress reports on Bennett — sent from the centre to the St. John’s archbishop — but Justice David Riche would not admit the letters as evidence because Penney had not agreed to the release of the confidential documents.

MacBeath told the court Bennett was frank about his homosexuality while at the centre and expressed a desire to achieve celibacy.

After leaving the centre, Bennett returned to Newfoundland, where he continued to serve as a priest until 1987. At that time, MacBeath said he was experiencing difficulties with his sexuality and decided he could not continue as a priest.

Crown prosecutor Cathy Knox read a statement from the complainant describing the incident in which the offence occurred.

The statement said the incident took place at Corrigan’s home in Pouch Cove, not far from St. John’s.

Bennett was a houseguest of Corrigan’s and the complainant was visiting at the time, it said.

Knox said the complainant could not remember the exact date of the incident, but said it was in 1981 or 1982, when the boy would have been 15 or 16 years old.

“He (Bennett) was carrying on and grabbing me in the crotch area,” the complainant said in his statement.

The complainant went to the bathroom and was followed by Bennett, the statement continued, where the pair engaged in oral sex and both consented to the act.

However, because the complainant was a minor at the time, he was under the legal age of consent, making the act illegal.

At the time, the complainant had been involved in an ongoing sexual relationship with Corrigan for a number of years, the statement said.

A charge of sexual assault against Bennett had earlier been dropped.

A total of 18 priests, former priests and other members of the Roman Catholic community in Newfoundland have been charged or convicted of sex-related offences involving boys.

3 Responses to Bennett: Father Anthony Bennett

  1. deeplybetrayed says:

    In 1989 The Edmonton Journal gives a total of 18 priests in Newfoundland who had been charged. What would be the total in 2012, does anyone know? The latest is Fr. Smith.

    • Sylvia says:

      deeplybetrayed, I don’t know the exact numbers. If you open the Accused page and do a search on the page for “Newfoundland” you should get an idea. There is still information to be entered on several of those names, but this kind of search it should give an idea. I just did a quick count – it looks as though there have been at least 28 or 29 priest AND brothers charged or accused

  2. Sylvia says:

    I have confirmation that the Anthony Patrick Bennett who was found murdered in his Toronto apartment in 2000 was the former Father Anthony Patrick Bennett. I have added the article re the murder to the page.

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