Photo by Dan Janisse/The Windsor Star
Robert G. Couture
Robert Gerard Couture
Priest, Diocese of London, Ontario. Ordained 1988. Long-time trustee of the French-Catholic School Board (Conseil Scolaire De District Des Ecoles Catholiques Du Sud Ouest0 and several times elected chairman of that board. Served as Chaplain for the Fr. Nicholas Point Co. 4375 Knights of Columbus. Took Leave of Absence in 2010 – pursued his BEd at Ottawa U (French program). Did his practicum in the area of Essex County and has been doing substitute teaching in French Catholic schools – was teaching a grade 4/5 class at ecole St. Paul in Stony Point, Ontario since November 2012.
April 2013: charged with theft over $5,000.
TRIAL by jury commenced 23 November 2013 (scheduled to last three weeks)
10 December 2015: GUILTY verdict
03 October 2016: Sentenced to 10 months in jail, and must pay back $75,000 to St. Anne’s parish in Tecumseh, Ontario
BLOGS & Media coverage of trial
(scroll down for other media coverage)
03 October 2016: “Former Ste. Anne priest sentenced to 10 months in jail” & related article
03 October 2016: Tecumseh priest sentenced to 10 months for stealing from his own church
28 July 2016: “Crown requests 15 months jail time for priest guilty of theft” & related articles
28 July 2016: Defense Seeking Conditional Discharge For Priest
11 December 2015: Ontario priest guilty of stealing up to $234,000 from his own church
11 December 2015: “Windsor priest guilty of stealing more than $170,000 from church” & related articles
10 December 2015: “Former Tecumseh pastor found guilty of stealing from his church” & related articles
04 December 2015: Jury hears from final witness is theft trial of former St. Anne pastor
03 December 2015: “Expert testifies former pastor didn’t steal anything because the money belonged to him” & related article
02 December 2015: Priest tells jury he didn’t steal money from Tecumseh church
02 December 2015: Priest accused of theft has $350,000 put away for retirement
01 December 2015: BLOG Good news!
01 December 2015: Former Tecumseh pastor takes the stand in his theft trial
30 November 2015: Priest accused of stealing told bishop he was playing ‘hardball’ with unauthorized fees
27 November 2015: Forensic auditor testifies former priest stole as much as $234,000 from his own church
25 November 2015: Witnesses recall pillowcase full of cash in trial of former priest Couture
24 November 2015: “Trials begins for former Catholic priest accused of stealing $180,000 from his church” & related article
23 November 2015: Trial begins Tuesday for former priest accused of stealing $180,000 from church
10 April 2013: Robert Gerard Couture, teacher in good standing with the Ontario College of Teachers
Next court appearance:
03 October 2016: sentencing,Windsor Superior Court of Justice (245 Windsor Avenue), Windsor, Ontario ; 28 July 2016: 10 am, sentencing hearing, Windsor Superior Court of Justice (245 Windsor Avenue), Windsor, Ontario; 05 February 2016: to set date for sentencing, Windsor Superior Court of Justice (245 Windsor Avenue), Windsor, Ontario ; 10 December 2015: GUILT verdict; 09 December 2015: TRIAL by jury continues; 23 November 2015: 10 am, TRIAL by jury, set for three weeks, Windsor Superior Court of Justice (245 Windsor Avenue), Windsor, Ontario ; 05 December 2014: 10 am, assignment court to set date for trial; 02 December 2014 : pre-trial hearing – NOT open to the public: 05 September 2014: 09:30 am, courtroom #3, “to be spoken to,” Windsor Superior Court of Justice (245 Windsor Avenue); 1 5 August 2014: Pre-trial hearing (NOT open to the public); 13 June 2014: 09:30 am, courtroom #3, “to set a date,” Windsor Superior Court of Justice (245 Windsor Avenue), Windsor, Ontario; Committed to stand trial – trial date not set; 05 May 2014 – 16 May: Preliminary hearing, 10:00 am, courtroom #1, Ontario court of Justice (200 Chatham St.) ; 26 February 2014: 09:30 am, courtroom #10, “for hearing,” Windsor, Ontario courthouse ; 29 August 2013: 09:30 am, courtroom #6, “to set a date,” Windsor, Ontario courthouse ; 27 August 2013: 09:30 am, courtroom #6, “to set a date,” Windsor, Ontario courthouse ; 21 August 2013: 09:30 am, courtroom #6, “to be spoken to,” Windsor, Ontario courthouse; 06 August 2013: 09:30 am, courtroom #10, pre-trial hearing, Windsor, Ontario courthouse; %3 just like any other board,” Serre said.
“The Francophones in this area of the province will be making their own decisions with their own money.
“This is something the French language population of this area has been wanting for many years. Finally this government has recognized French language education and we are very proud of that.”
Serre inherits the position of director after serving in the same role with the Timmins Roman Catholic Separate School Board.
A name has yet to be chosen for the new area French board which will serve 7,000 students in 20 elementary schools and six high schools across the region.
There will be 11 trustees who will sit on the board. Rev. Robert Couture, who represents London-Middlesex, has been named the first chairman of the board. Joseph Bisnarre, who represents Tecumseh and Riverside, will be vice-chairman.
A transition period from January until the end of August has been established for the new board.
Administration will operate out of the Essex Civic Centre until a decision is made on a permanent location for a central office.
It is expected that several satellite offices will also soon be in place to ensure as much local presence as possible across the vast region.
During the transition period, the board will hold one meeting per month in Chatham where all trustees will be expected to attend. But the board is already examining the costs associated with audio and video teleconferencing.
“It will be difficult, but nowadays we don’t always have to meet face-to-face,” Serre said.
“We have to set up the technology and we have to remember these new boards were created to save money. We can’t go around spending money just because we are far apart from one another.”
Trustee Lucie Guillemette resides in Woodstock and represents Oxford, Perth and Grey counties, among the farthest-reaching areas of the new board.
She said travel is a concern for herself and her family, but welcomes the challenge of using technology such as the Internet and other forms to remain in touch.
“I feel very comfortable about it because I believe we will have open and very honest communication,” Guill-emette said.
“We believe in taking care of each other so I feel at home.”