“Priest Denies Abuse Allegations” & related article

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Cornwall News AM 1220

August 29, 2007 — A Cornwall priest, accused of historic sex abuse, has retired from active ministry while denying the allegations. The Alexandria – Cornwall Diocese, in a statement released to the media, says the accusations were leveled against Father Gaetan Deschamps by a complainent in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. A bishop there recently informed local Bishop, Paul Andre Durocher of the allegations of abuse which would have alledgely occured many decades ago. According to the release, the complainent was a minor at the time of the alleged incident and wanted to have the issue dealt with in confidence and simply ensure Deschamp was no longer involved in ministry. Deschamp has been living in Cornwall the past 10 years and denies any criminal acts related to the complainant but has accepted to retire from all active ministry. He has never been charged in relation to the complaint. The Cornwall police and C.A.S. both were made aware of the situation. The complainant has since expressed his satisfaction with the outcome.



Priest becomes target of sex abuse allegation

Cornwall Standard Freeholder

Wednesday, August 29, 2007 – 08:00
Elisabeth Johns

Local News – A Cornwall priest has retired amidst allegations he sexually abused a man who was a minor in Prince Albert, Sask., several decades ago.

Rev. Gaetan Deschamps, who is believed to be in his 70s, has been with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Alexandria-Cornwall for the past 10 years, working part-time as a marriage counsellor.

The ministry Deschamps specialized in didn’t deal specifically with young children, said Diocese Bishop Paul-Andre Durocher.

However, on the website for the Diocese of Alexandria-Cornwall, it states that Deschamps oversaw a support group called “Spectrum,” which is described as a curriculum for “adolescents who live in single-parent families or stepfamilies.”

Deschamps has never been charged in relation to this incident. When confronted by a diocesan delegate from Alexandria-Cornwall, Deschamps denied any allegations against him.

no complaints

There have also never been any complaints received about him by the Diocese of Alexandria-Cornwall, the bishop said.

The Cornwall Police Service and the local Children’s Aid Society were notified, however, the complainant’s wish was to ensure Deschamps was no longer involved in the ministry.

Deschamps complied, the bishop told the Standard-Freeholder in an interview, and is now retired.

When contacted Tuesday evening the Prince Albert, Sask. police could not provide any information regarding the allegations concerning Deschamps.

Deschamps could not be reached for comment Tuesday evening.

Deschamps was ordained under the Prince Albert Diocese and the majority of his ministerial work was done there, Durocher said.

When he arrived in Cornwall, he was semi-retired, Durocher added.

“He never asked to become a member (of the Alexandria-Cornwall Diocese).

“There’s nothing out of the ordinary there.”

Deschamps, who once wrote a column in the Standard-Freeholder and was involved in fundraising for the Children’s Christmas Fund, had retired from parish ministry last year because of his age.

Prior to that, he was appointed as a priest at Blessed Sacrament in the city’s north end in 2000.

Durocher said he was contacted by Bishop Blaise Morand from the diocese in Prince Albert a few weeks ago, advising him of the complaint of historical sexual abuse.

The diocese issued the press release with an eye to keeping the ministry open and transparent, Durocher said.

In June 1992, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a document, entitled “From Pain to Hope,” in which they discussed how churches should deal with allegations of sexual abuse from members of the clergy.

The document advised ministries to be open in the wake of sexual abuse allegations.

“One of the objectives of ‘From Pain to Hope’ was to overcome the shroud of secrecy around these issues,” Durocher explained. “This is what we’re trying to do.”